Are inconsistencies in bike storage, lockers and shower facility planning and certification requirements confusing you? You’re not alone!


When looking at the type of planning and certification requirements for bike and change room provisions that a project team would be faced with in London…It’s about as easy to navigate as a wet road with treadless tyres.

 

Let’s use a 300k sqft office building as an example.

CERTIFICATION PLANNING
BREEAM 2018 BCO WELL London Plan (Draft)
Occupant Bikes 184 300 150 667
Visitor Bikes 81 81 101
Lockers 184 300 600 445
Showers 8 30 21 67
Bike Maintenance 1

 

As you can see there’s a lot of inconsistency in the numbers between
planning and certification.…

Here are our top tips on how to navigate the best route to functional, user-focused facilities of the highest standards. You shouldn’t have to compromise on quality or quantity but rather find the perfect balance for your building.

 

Tip 1: Work out the best route

Understand your planning requirement (if any) and what certifications you want to achieve and which you are willing to compromise on.

Planning

There may be different prerequisites in different areas. For example, in London, some Boroughs will institute the Draft LP number (see table above) yet there are others that have even higher requirements.

Certification

If you don’t have a planning requirement and you’re looking to achieve certification, then you’ve got some room to move, literally! But keep in mind that a shiny certification mark will be quickly forgotten if the facilities don’t meet the expectations of tenants once they start using them.

 

Tip 2: Find the optimal gear ratio

At the moment, most ratios of amenities are not reflective of real world requirements, a few examples include:

Showers – Planning and certification requirements in London recommend a 50:50 split of male and female facilities (besides BCO) despite the fact that morning cyclist usage is as high as 80% male. This means there is likely to be a shortfall in male facilities as a result.

Lockers – Similarly, when we consider locker requirements are currently set at equal or lower than that of bike parking, this does not account for people who may not cycle to work but still require a locker for storing gym or running clothes.

Adjusting ratios and building in flexibility to manage this real demand will ensure you have greater effective capacities and future proof your facility.

 

Tip 3: Change lanes

Based on factors such as the location of the building and your target tenant’s requirements it might be right to change things up. For example, a cowork style tenant has a higher propensity to cycle (a fixie or single-speed) bike but is less inclined to need a shower. Similarly, someone who is on a foldable bike or takes a more leisurely approach to commuting may also not require a shower facility.

In locations that are difficult to commute to via bike it may be more about catering for the non-commuter by incorporating wellness facilities such as pilates, yoga and spin classes.

By using this information, you will be able to make a more informed decision about what facilities are required.

What works for one space may not work for another, especially when you consider all of the other tips we have mentioned.

When it comes to achieving a perfect balance of quality and quantity of facilities in the bike parking and change room space it’s about considering each project on its situational requirements.

 

Tip 4: Don’t just park anywhere

Once you’ve got your high-level numbers, determining the rough size of your facility, the right balance of associated amenity and where to locate for easy accessibility is key.

At a recent cycle around London event, top property professionals from the British Council of Offices identified that access was the most important consideration in facilities.

We have seen many great facilities with convoluted paths of travel and although particularly in redevelopments the location may be self-defined, assessing options beforehand is a worthwhile exercise before it is not possible to relocate.

A ramp is generally the best access option yet stairs and lifts are ok too. It’s all about creating the best specification to accommodate cyclists and their bikes.

 

Tip 5: Find the gap and take it

It is up to you to develop a strategy that works for your building. Do you have adjacent properties where you may be able to spread the load? The concept of facility hubs to service multiple buildings is a smart idea from an economies perspective.

Consider phasing your facilities, it might be that you have a tenant store room or car parking that isn’t available right now but could be in a year or so. Planning out the full complement of facilities and implementing an annual review of usage as part of your transport management plan before executing on the additional amenity, is a good way to manage space and ensure planners that you have a solid plan.

 

Tip 6: There’s no shame in drafting

If you are struggling to hit your planning and/or certification numbers or questioning their suitability for your project, you may need to turn to hard data to back up your case. For example: if you want phase your facilities as above, gather facility usage data from buildings in the same precinct.

 

Tip 7: Have an idea about all the gear

Internationally, there’s little consideration of amenity outside of the standard three:

  • Bike storage
  • Lockers
  • Showers

Although convenience amenity such as bike maintenance, towels, airing facilities, make-up/hair prep and so on, all make for an easier transition from active commuter to office ready, many buildings don’t consider these a priority.

It’s important that your facilities reflect your tenant’s culture. As an example, if tenants are needing to be suited and booted, you may need to offer a higher and wider level of facilities.

 

Final Stretch

More is not more. Good design is about balancing quality, quantity and space to maximise user experience whilst managing capital expense and opportunity cost. Never compromise on quality and remember if you change one of these attributes it effects the other two.

For more information about how Five At Heart in London can help you navigate the inconsistencies in facility planning and certification requirements, contact us today.