One of the first organisations to commit its North East future to Bank House was DAC Beachcroft (DACB), an international law firm with sustainability at the heart of its strategy.
DACB has settled in well to the first and second floors of Bank House, from where team members enjoy easy access to all the amenities Newcastle has to offer, including nearby transport hubs which connect national and international visitors to the city, and colleagues from throughout the region.
But one of the deciding factors in DACB’s relocation from across the city at Gallowgate, was Bank House’s environmental credentials, which support the firm’s approach to Environmental Social Governance (ESG), and its goals around achieving net-zero emissions.
Two of the firm’s team members spoke to us about the elements of Bank House they have been most impressed by so far, in line with these principles.
Sarah George, a Partner at DACB for 14 years, regularly cycles into the office, from where she bases herself two or three days each week, taking advantage of DACB’s Flex Forward policy that empowers team members to choose the times and locations for work that are best suited to them.
She said: “It’s nine miles from where I live, but the fact I can get changed and dressed for work in the office, rather than at home means it takes a lot less time than people might think to be at my desk each day. It’s actually quicker than public transport, although there is plenty of that servicing Bank House as well.
“Unlike some office buildings that have tried to accommodate cycling facilities by retrofitting showers and secure storage areas, Bank House has been designed with the needs of cyclists in mind from the outset.”
The basement of Bank House is dedicated to individuals who choose to use pedal power for their commute, with 10 charging points for electric bicycles and a further 80 push-bike storage spaces, including spots for up to eight folding bikes. There is also a bike maintenance area, showers, lockers and other amenities for changing.
In fact, the whole Bank House development has been built with the aims of reducing the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and using sustainable technologies wherever possible to minimise consumption.
All power to the 14-storey complex, which was made using innovative solutions that decreased waste, comes from renewable sources, and air source heat pumps partner with an electric heating and cooling system throughout to achieve an A-rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), and an official award of excellent from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM), the world’s longest recognised way of certifying the sustainability of buildings.
Pilgrim Place, of which Bank House represents the first phase, also utilises an urban drainage system made up of sustainably-sourced hard landscaping materials to better manage the run off of surface water.
Sarah continued: “I like the fact there is an allocated entry point to the building for cyclists, with a cyclist-only ramp and automatic lights that are great for one’s personal safety. There are also plenty of showers for everyone.”
For Sarah’s colleague Carol Venegas, an Associate of 10 years with DACB, driving into work best suits her own daily routine. Like many staff at DACB, Carol’s working hours are entirely flexible and not restricted to the traditional ‘nine to five’. This is something the team behind the design of Bank House has been conscious of since its inception, and so flexible working and wellbeing have been baked into its design.
For example, in addition to a concierge service from Bank House’s stunning 4,500 sq. ft. reception, there is secure, 24-hour access to the building provided with the assistance of best-in-class connectivity, certified as platinum by WiredScore, the definitive standard bearer for commercial properties.
Carol said: “Our floorplate has been thoughtfully laid out in a way that is great for promoting and supporting collaborative working, together with an eating area at the centre of the office floor, which helps build relationships between new and more established team members so they can learn from one another without any hierarchy.”
What Carol describes is typical of a floor within Bank House, which provides a 10,000 sq. ft. blank canvas upon which each individual organisation can make its mark. With floor-to-ceiling windows and 360-degree views of the city’s skyline unencumbered by interior columns, there is an enviable working environment at Bank House that supports individual wellbeing.
Carol added: “I really like the high levels of natural light that are maintained throughout the building. The views are spectacular too!”
To learn more about the office accommodation currently available at Bank House, including how to contact joint letting agents Avison Young and Knight Frank, visit bankhousenewcastle.com.