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BCO Briefing Note 2023
Michael Faraday Office
The Guide to Specification is one of the BCOs most anticipated and recognised publications. The guide recognises shifts in industry behaviours and adjustments in legislation to keep office building design up to date with the latest technology and research available.

The BCO Guide to Specification was last fully published in 2019 however significant shifts in industry behaviours following the effect of Covid-19, hybrid working and commitments to net zero carbon targets sees a significant update to their design criteria which will affect all major new developments and refurbishments.

The BCO provided a Position Paper in June 2022 which was issued to the industry for consultation and the results of which have been published as part of the February 2023 Briefing Note.

The Briefing Note aims to tackle issues and an emerging concern that some designers are over specifying equipment using BCO 2019 figures meaning that plant selections generally are over provided.

The Note also addresses the latest occupancy patterns and occupancy densities which have had to adapt and be updated since the Covid-19 pandemic. The June 2022 Position Paper boldly proposed a utilisation factor of 60% however this has been relaxed in the Briefing Note.

The key design criteria changes are summarised as follows:

  • Occupancy

    General occupancy density adjusted to 1 person per 10m²
    Effective occupancy density for core design elements (including vertical transportation) adjusted to 1 person per 12.5m²

  • Small power

    Reduction in on floor small power electrical load allowance to 60 W per work setting
    Reduction in the on floor peak small power electrical loads to 6 W/m²
    Recommended 12 kW spot load electrical power allowance per tenancy
    Recommended 10 kW SER load electrical power allowance per tenancy
    Lighting load electrical power allowance reduced to 4.5 W/m² for Cat A lighting plus a further 1 W/m² allowance for Cat B lighting

  • Cooling loads

    Reduction in the perimeter solar load allowance to 40-50 W/m²
    Reduction in on floor equipment cooling load allowance to 50 W per workspace
    Reduction in on floor equipment peak cooling load to 5 W/m²
    Reduction in terminal unit equipment cooling load to 10 W/m²
    Introduction of a spot load cooling allowance of 6 kW per tenancy
    Recommended 7 kW SER cooling load per tenancy
    Lighting cooling load allowance reduced to 4.5 W/m² for Cat A lighting plus a further 1 W/m² allowance for Cat B lighting

  • Ventilation Rates

    Increase in ventilation rate to 14 litre/s per person
    Reduction in CO2 allowance to 800 ppmv

The above summary looks predominantly at the impact on building services however the Briefing Note also covers some structural and architectural implications which should be considered for current and  future projects.

The above summary is intended for information however if you have any further queries or would like to know how this could affect developments moving forward then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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