7th March 2023

5-minutes with: Nicola Fairbairn of DACB



7th March 2023

What has prompted your relocation to Bank House?

Our business in Newcastle has grown substantially over the last 10 years and although we have moved to more hybrid working in recent years, we were looking for high grade office space which allowed for more flexible use and expansion potential. 

Also, at DAC Beachcroft, ESG is key part of our business and operating from premises which had better environmental and sustainability credentials was important to us.  

Please tell us about how the quantity and configuration of your office space will change as a result of the move?

We currently have c15,000 sq ft in our Wellbar Central office.  We will be occupying effectively the same space (15,000 sq ft) at Bank House.  The configuration will change however as we create more flexible space, which can be easily adapted on a daily basis to cater for the multiple required uses of our colleagues (in terms of break out and quiet areas) and our visiting clients and contacts (in terms of greater volume and scale of meeting room). 

We plan to make the most of the views overlooking the iconic Tyne Bridge!

What is it about Bank House that led you to choose it as your new office in Newcastle?

We looked at a few options, but location for us was key. The Pilgrim Street development will be an exciting place to work in the coming years. Being part of the “new commercial core” of the city represented who DACB are both locally and nationally and also ensured close proximity to the other city centre facilities in the immediate area to enhance the experience for our colleagues and visitors.

Getting in so early in the development phase gave us the chance to work closely with the landlord to ensure that the space was delivered to us, on day one, in a way which really worked for us – and hopefully avoids all the teething issues, allowing us to relocate smoothly and with minimal disruption to our business and colleagues.  

How many staff will be moving to Bank House and what are they looking forward to?

Around 170 colleagues will be moving into Bank House and we can’t wait.  Walking in through the impressive ground floor reception on day one will be so exciting, although we may be distracted by the view for a little while!

Using a space which is specifically designed for the way we now work will enhance the quality of the working experience for our people. And we’re excited to see how Pilgrim Place takes shape over the next few years and meeting our new neighbours!

Please tell us about how you will configure your new space.

The number of desks will be dramatically reduced to align with our Flex Forward way of working, however we will substantially increase the collaborative spaces and meeting areas to allow and encourage flexibility and differing ways of working. Despite being lawyers, we embrace a paper-free environment as much as possible and this will be reflected in our use of the space.

The fit out will have taken around 6 months from the date of the first wire going in to the last cushion being placed on a sofa!

What sort of working patterns do you currently have in place at DACB?

We introduced Flex Forward a couple of years ago which enables our colleagues to have more control over where and when they work.  The majority of our colleagues work in a hybrid manner splitting their working week between the office and home.

Hot desking is also the norm in Newcastle as in most of our offices – something we started introducing back in 2019. 

Our communal workspaces and collaboration areas will be key as our people use their time in the office to catch up with colleagues and clients.

Please tell us about how DACB view the importance of the workplace.

Every business has had to up its game since the pandemic to entice and motivate people to come back into the office.  We want to create an atmosphere and space that our colleagues are excited about, where they want to come because it supports their ways of working and enables socialising and collaboration. 

This new workplace will definitely have a positive impact on colleague wellbeing and morale.  Our focus is very much on making the new space work for our people, supporting our culture of working collaboratively and enjoying working together again. 

Our offices are a reflection of who we are as a business and they are also important in helping us attract and retain talent, as well as generally making a good first impression. 

How important is sustainability and wider ESG issues to DACB and how will Bank House support your objectives?

Very important.  As a firm we launched our ESG strategy last year and it’s an area we are increasingly advising our clients on.

Bank House will have excellent ratings when it comes to environmental sustainability and it supports our ESG strategy and our commitments in our Carbon Reduction Plan.    

How do you think DACB’s move to Bank House will impact the business?

DACB Newcastle is a popular office for our national colleagues and clients to visit – the Geordie friendliness – and I’m expecting we’ll get even more arriving over the next few months!   

Also by updating our Newcastle office and bringing it in line with our other offices in terms of the style and use of the space; it’s helping to reinforce our brand and culture in the North East. 

What are the timescales for your move into Bank House?

We are currently working on the fit out and are planning to move in just a few weeks after the landlord’s main works are completed in April.

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