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John Burke Associates

Is the Future Hybrid?


‘Hybrid-working’ – A mix of office-based work and working from home/a different location to the office.

At the beginning of the pandemic many companies were unprepared and needed to react quickly to enable staff to work from home. It is expected that as restrictions are lifted, employees who work from home on a regular basis will increase to 37%, compared to 18% pre-Covid-19. A CIPD survey also revealed that 33% of employers plan to introduce a form of hybrid-working in the future.

So How Can You Make Hybrid-working Work?

If you choose a hybrid-style working model for your company, it is important to remain focused on structure. Working from home gives employees more independence and freedom to choose their own working hours. It is therefore crucial that employers focus on work output and delivery rather than simply hours spent in the office. Structure needs to be the priority whilst managing a hybrid workforce. We recommend having set days in the office dedicated to meetings and company collaboration.

Why Return at All?

Working from home has its silver linings; Time and money saved on the commute and spending more time with family and the kids. However, we do think it is important to return to the office in some fashion.

  • It allows staff to interact and socialise with their team in a way that WFH may prevent.
  • Some employees find it difficult to create a home-life/work-life balance whilst WFH.
  • Getting back into the office (even part-time) will create a ‘sense of normality’, which we believe will benefit the wellbeing of staff.


The Take-Home Message

We cannot predict what is going to happen in the future and it’s clear to see that the events of the past 12 months have shaken many industries. Moving forward, we need to focus on how these changes will shape how we all work in the future. Hybrid working has an advantageous environmental impact that many were keen to see for years prior to 2020.

Ultimately, we are optimistic about the future of the office and we are excited to see how companies adapt to this new way of work in years to come.

Why Choose RICS Chartered Surveyor?

John Burke Associates  takes pride in providing a personal, but professional service.  The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) regulates all work we carry out for our clients. RICS is a professional and global body, which ensures and maintains the highest standard of work. In this month’s blog we look at the importance of choosing a RICS Chartered Surveyor.

A Global Set of Standards

RICS maintains global working standards through extensive training and continued professional development. Therefore, this guarantees you will receive clear, independent and knowledgeable advice. There are over 130,000 surveyors worldwide with a RICS accreditation, working towards a better future. Furthermore, RICS requires all members to have insurance which will protect you and your project.

Regulated by RICS

As we are a RICS-regulated firm, our clients have full confidence that we abide by the highest professional ethical standards and regulations. In addition to the extensive experience and expertise of our surveyors, you also have the knowledge that any work carried out is in line with the following standards.

  • We behave ethically, with the highest level of industry integrity.
  • Being a RICS accredited surveyor ensures that every member of our firm has the competency and skills required to carry out the services we offer.
  • We carry all work out with transparency, and any conflict of interest is made known to the client.

For more information on the standards set by RICS, please visit

Protection for Your Money

Amongst other standards of work, RICS regulates how we keep our client’s money safe. As we are a RICS-regulated firm, we must adhere to client money rules. Therefore, you have complete peace of mind that your money is protected every step of the way.

In Conclusion

It is imperative when choosing a surveyor or a building consultant, to take into consideration what it means to hire a RICS Chartered Surveyor. Here at John Burke Associates, we take pride in knowing that we work to the highest possible industry standards, ensuring that all our clients receive the best possible service.


More About John Burke Associates

Boosting staff morale whilst working from home.

Boosting staff morale

The past 12 months has seen a rapid rise in people working from home. According to the Office of National Statistics, as many as 46.6% of those in employment worked at least partly from home in April 2020. With the on-going pandemic it is likely that nearly a year on, such figures will have increased. Therefore, boosting staff morale is paramount to your company’s success during this time. Especially with many employees reportedly feeling disconnected from their workplace, it is now as important as ever to find ways to boost company morale – albeit remotely.


Strong lines of communication create an atmosphere of confidence in the workplace. As such, short, daily meetings and using remote-working technologies will encourage employee trust in the company. As a manager, keep lines of communication open – let your team know they can reach out throughout the workday.

Reward Hard Work

A simple yet overlooked way to boost morale – let your team know if they are doing a good job. Shout-outs in meetings, or personal emails are a great and easy way to reward hard work. Spirits are kept high when hard work is recognised.

Encourage Balance

When working from home, the lines between work-life and home-life can become blurred. Check in with your team; consider discussing a more flexible workday to suit each employee. As a structured workday may not always be ‘one size fits all’.

Virtual Team Building

The idea of team building has been around since the ‘20s – encouraging honest communication, and often forging friendship in the office. There is no need for this to stop whilst working from home. Set time aside in the week to encourage virtual team building activities – a workplace where honest and fun communication is encouraged, results in a happy, productive team.

In Conclusion 

As management, keeping an eye on boosting staff morale is critical – even more so when not, everyone is working at the same location. Keep this advice in mind and watch as you and your team enjoy a happier, more productive working week.

Reach Out This Festive Season

Mental Health Awareness

Whilst this time of year is joyous for many, for some it is the worst season for mental wellbeing. A recent survey carried out by Toolstation shows the devastating effects the pandemic has had on tradespeople. If you combine this with the usual pressures of the festive season, it is no surprise people are suffering. Thus, John Burke Associates supports the “Head First” Campaign

Mental Wellbeing

What the campaign is about

Working in association with the mental health anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change, Head First encourages tradespeople to open up about their mental wellbeing. As mentioned above, Toolstation carried out a survey with 5000 of their customers. Nearly half (45%) said their main concern is the mental wellbeing of family members and friends. In addition, 25% of those surveyed stated they are concerned about their own mental health most of all. Therefore, this campaign is to get people in the industry to discuss their anxieties and always ask twice.

Ask Twice?

Yes, ask twice! We all know how the conversation goes; Are you ok? Yes, good thanks, you? It is almost an autonomous answer. Consequently, the sentiment loses its true meaning; to check in on the respondent. Take a moment to stop and see if that person really is ok, delve deeper into the question. Ask twice, it has not been an easy year for anyone, are you sure you are ok?

What Can I Do as an Employer?

If you suspect a colleague or employee is not ok, a great way to encourage them to open-up, is to lead by example. When someone asks you if you are ok? it could be because they are not. So, be honest with your response, if you are feeling pressure, talk about it. In doing so, you are creating an environment where it is acceptable to discuss our feelings.  Consequently, encouraging others to admit they are feeling the pressure and demonstrating that nobody must feel alone.

More info on How to Offer Support

 A Message from John Burke Associates

We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you are struggling during the festive season, you are not alone! This year has been unprecedented for so many of us and lives have been affected in untold ways.  Do not suffer in silence! Below is a list of confidential services which are here to help you;

  • Samaritans

    Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)

  • Mind Infoline

    Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday) or text 86463


  • The Mix ( 13-25 year olds)

    Telephone: 0808 808 4994 (11am-11pm, free to call)
    Email: Helpline email form
    Crisis Support: Text ‘THEMIX’ to 85258.

  • Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line

    Telephone: 0300 5000 927 (9.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday)

  • Saneline

    Telephone: 0300 304 7000 (4:30pm-10:30pm)
    Website: is a national mental health helpline providing information and support to people with mental health problems and those who support them.

  • Side by Side

    Website: by Side is an online community where you can listen, share and be heard. Side by Side is run by Mind.


    Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
    Text: 85258

  • NHS England IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies)

    If you’re based in England, you can use webpage to find and refer yourself to mental health services in your area.

5 Positive Implications of Strong Leadership

Employer’s Agent Services

Here at John Burke Associates we believe any company is driven by a strong leadership. A motivating leader inspires higher levels of employee engagement, in addition to promoting productivity. Therefore, our Project Management and Employer’s Agents division work proactively to implement and deliver synergy across all sites. Consequently, we know that a great leader is strong, but also has soft skills. In this month’s blog, we look at five benefits you can gain through developing your interpersonal skills. Especially during challenging times such as these.


Employees are more likely to put their trust in a leader who exhibits charisma and a positive attitude. As a result, this trust leads to greater autonomy and collaboration.


An employee who experiences warm and affective behaviour from their leaders will gain an increased sense of self-worth. Furthermore, this creates a sense of safety and belonging within an organisation, resulting in employee allegiance.


When someone feels like they are being listened to and that their opinions and ideas matter, their creative performance increases. It is vital to nourish your employee’s creativity and embellish their abilities through positive encouragement.


If you want your employees to outperform the competition, you must achieve a common goal. To do this, you must communicate your cause clearly. You need to be concise when explaining your expectations and each employee’s role in delivering these. Developing your interpersonal skills will enable you to understand their requirements and communicate yours, therefore, aligning in a common cause.


If you want your employees to outperform the competition, you must achieve a common goal. To do this, you must communicate your cause clearly. You need to be concise when explaining your expectations and each employee’s role in delivering these. Developing your interpersonal skills will enable you to understand their requirements and communicate yours, therefore, aligning in a common cause.


A leader who inspires their employees often achieves enhanced results. An employee who feels motivated is more open to new ideas and change in the pursuit of excellence. Furthermore, those who feel appreciated will always outperform those who do not.

Lockdown Leadership Advice

Leadership is more important now than ever! Lockdown has left many employees feeling disconnected and it is harder to recognise when people are struggling. Ann Francke OBE recently wrote an article for the CMI titled “Bridging the great disconnect.” Our Project Management and Employer’s Agent division recommend this short read to anyone looking for guidance.

Ethical Principles for a Sustainable Future

RICS professionals

This year has presented surveyors with some of the biggest challenges in land, property, infrastructure, and construction. As RICS professionals, we look to our regulator to provide support during such extraordinary times. Therefore, we welcome the announcement of a nine-week consultation on new ethical standards for the profession.

The Consultation

The consultation was launched last week, Wednesday 7th October and will seek views from RICS professionals, consumers, and stakeholders on the new rules. The aims of the consultation are as follows;

  • Ensure professionals are supported in maintaining their skills and expertise – which includes providing advice on wider sustainability to help clients make the right decisions;
  • Embed and promote decency, inclusion and respect at the heart of the workplaces our members work in;
  • Remove unnecessary complexity and allowing everyone to clearly understand the high standards expected from RICS members.

Overcoming the Unprecedented.

In January 2020, we faced a climate crisis which demanded change from the construction industry to provide a sustainable future. In addition to the unsystematic political omnishambles of Brexit, it seemed a bleak outlook for the industry. But the Covid-19 outbreak has presented challenges which nobody could have foreseen.

The new standards will enable professionals such as John Burke Associates to evince a response to the changing priorities. Furthermore, as demand grows for businesses that strive to be good for the planet, this enables us to offer clients advice in making sustainable decisions.

RICS professionals


Respect is a core principle expected of every RICS professional. This extends to reflect the expectations which modern society places on us to ensure a fair, diverse and inclusive profession. The Rules of Conduct Consultation ensures that we, as professionals remain trusted and future fit by evolving the rules that underpin how we operate. Thus, leading our ongoing commitment to providing our clients with forward thinking, environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions.

Coronavirus Act 2020 – Update for Commercial Landlords

Coronavirus Act 2020

Earlier this year, Parliament introduced a list of extensive protections for commercial tenants to mitigate the economic fallout of Covid-19. The deadline for such protections was initially set for 30th September 2020. However, this deadline has now been extended until the end of the year. Below we explain the most recent developments, in particular Forfeiture and the CRAR Regulations.


On 25th March 2020, parliament passed The Coronavirus Act 2020 which came into force with immediate effect. This act prevents landlords from recovering outstanding rents for properties subject to commercial lease agreements.

Section 82 of the act essentially negates the landlords right to enforce forfeiture under a relevant business tenancy, for non-payment of rent. Initially the postponement of such rights was to run until 30th June 2020. However, the end date has now been deferred to 31st December 2020.

View the Act

CRAR Regulations

The Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 came into force 25th April 2020. Before this date, the minimum notice required for CRAR was 7 clear days excluding Sundays and Bank holidays. This has been temporarily increased substantially to 90 days. Thus, preventing landlords from taking more pugnacious approaches to outstanding arrears and protecting businesses during uncertain times.


The Government has been presented with a monumental challenge to protect business’s, jobs and our economy. As we enter a second wave of the pandemic it is yet to be seen if they can achieve this objective. The extension is welcomed by struggling tenants who will undoubtedly benefit from such measures. However, this offers little reassurance to commercial landlords whose tenants have defaulted. As many of the remedies for commercial landlords have once again been postponed.

John Burke Associates

We offer a full portfolio of professional services to the commercial and housing sectors for both public and private sector clients. Including but not limited too.

  • Multinational Developers
  • Private Developers
  • Housing Associations
  • Housing Trusts
  • Offices
  • Retail Units
  • Leisure & Sports Facilities
  • Private Investment Schemes

Green Light Given for Schools and Hospitals

automatic planning permission for schools

Automatic Planning Permission for Schools, Homes, Shops & Hospitals

Further to our last month’s blog “Boris says BUILD, BUILD, BUILD!” this month’s announcement brings more hope for Britain’s regeneration. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced further new laws which cut red tape immensely.  The new planning system supports the construction of new schools, shops, hospitals, and housing projects by granting automatic planning permission for schools, hospitals, shops, and homes in growth areas.

automatic planning permission for schools

The Areas Explained

The new regulations mean that land will be divided to fit three main categories as follows:


Automatic planning permission will be granted on all land designated as a growth area to develop new schools, shops, hospitals, offices, and housing. Therefore, empowering developers to proceed to construction without delay.


Land designated as renewal areas will get “permission in principle” for such projects mentioned above. Consequently, projects are fast tracked to balance speed whilst ensuring the appropriate measure are taken.


Mr Jenrick is yet to specify what limits will be given to developments in protected areas. He has listed the protected areas as “our green belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and rich heritage”. He says the plan is “protecting the places, views and landscapes we cherish most”.


While this is welcome news for developers, critics such as RIBA and the charity Shelter have raised concerns about quality. Will this new legislation reduce the quality of new buildings? Could this lead to poor quality housing in areas without sufficient public services? – As RICS chartered surveyors and building consultants we promote a forward-thinking approach to all projects.  Our Clerks of Works are the custodians of quality on site. We work in synergy with our clients to mitigate the risk of a defective product by undertaking the systematic inspections of in progress.

Planning for the Future

John Burke Associates offers a full range of professional and project surveying services to the education, healthcare, and commercial sectors. Our commitment is to provide our clients with a forward thinking, sustainable and environmentally friendly service. As RICS Chartered Surveyors and project managers we are confident in generating such value for money that our services are effectively cost neutral.


2020 planning regulations

This was the message from our Prime Minister. At the end of last month, Boris Johnson announced the most progressive reforms to the planning process since WW2. This is a welcome announcement to property developers across the UK as the bureaucracy and red tape is lifted. The new 2020 planning regulations allow the development of new homes from the regeneration of vacant, redundant buildings. Therefore, creating jobs and providing housing where people want to live, in aid of Britain’s Covid-19 recovery.

2020 planning regulations

So, what’s changed?

The relaxation in planning regulations means that property developers are not required to seek permission to change the use of the building. Consequently, commercial buildings that have become redundant during COVID-19 can now be transformed into residential dwellings without planning permission. Previously, when a building was to be repurposed, permission was required under The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. Furthermore, you will no longer need a planning application to demolish and rebuild redundant buildings.

When do the changes come into effect?

The new legislation will come into effect as of September 2020. It is expected to support the revival of the high street and provide housing throughout the UK. In addition, these changes will provide a much-needed boost to the construction industry. Providing opportunities for developers, fast-tracking projects, and ultimately providing more jobs.

Planning a New Development?

If you are a property developer looking to take advantage of the new 2020 planning regulations contact John Burke Associates. We operate through the UK in the private, commercial, and public sectors. Our varied portfolio of services is back with an extensive knowledge spanning across all sectors of the construction industry. Whilst the red tape has now been removed you must still adhere to high standards and strict regulations throughout your project. We provide full independent construction and property advice on technical and management matters from inception through to completion and operation

Chartered Surveyors

Welcome new Fire Safety Measures for high-rise blocks

Fire Safety

Welcome new Fire Safety Measures for high-rise blocks

John Burke Associates join our regulating bodies in welcoming the Government Response: Sprinklers and Other Fire Safety Measures in New High-Rise Blocks of Flats. Which confirms a reduction in the height threshold at which Approved Document B recommends the installation of a residential sprinkler system in blocks of flats. Currently 30 metres, new guidance reduces this by nearly two thirds, to 11 metres.

Approved Document B

Collaborative Movement

In March 2019, three industry bodies collaborated to issue a joint statement calling on the government to change its policy on high-rise buildings. CIOB, RICS, and RIBA collectively called for the installation of sprinklers in new and converted buildings of 11m in height or above. Such buildings include residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, student accommodation, schools, and care home buildings.

A Necessary Change

Following a twelve-week Government consultation during which, the CIOB, RICS, and RIBA collectively advocated for change. Supplying evidence to the Government’s consultation on amendments to the statutory guidance on building safety regulations. The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP published the Government’s response on 26th May 2020. The response conclusion was lowering the height threshold for sprinklers in new blocks of flats and introducing new guidance on wayfinding signage and evacuation alert systems.

Approved Document B (fire safety) volumes 1 and 2019 edition

The changes are that Approved Document B (fire safety) volumes 1 and 2019 edition are amended to include guidance that states:

  • Sprinkler systems in accordance with BS 9251 should be fitted throughout blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level;
  • Wayfinding signage for the fire and rescue service should be provided in blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level

Transition Period

As the respondents offered no clear view on an appropriate transition period, the view was taken the sooner the better. Therefore, the transition period is set at 6 months with the new guidance will be implemented in England 26th November 2020. It will apply to any building undertaking works unless such works have begun on-site or an initial notice/full plans are submitted by 26 November 2020 and work starts before 29th January 2021.