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

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.

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.

Tips for Those Working from Home

Working from Home

During these ambiguous times, businesses across the UK and Europe are facing extraordinary challenges. The COVID-19 crisis has been a formidable force on our usual way of life, both personally and professionally. Many companies like ourselves (chartered surveyors and building consultants) are fortunate enough to continue to do some work safely from home. However, doing so requires us all to adapt our usual daily routines significantly. Therefore, in this blog, we look to explore tips that may help those also working from home during the crisis.

Balance Work and Personal Time

When your home becomes your work environment its hard not to allow the two to entwine. Working from the comfort of your home often leads to working at times you usually would not. For example, your working day finishes, you are browsing online shopping, and a work-related email comes through. It becomes so easy to just pop on and quickly respond but before you know it you have spent an extra hour or two working.

Therefore, it is important you set times for your working day and your own personal time and do not let the two entwine.

Working from Home
chartered surveyors

Create a Work Environment in Your Home

Having a set area in your home when working, makes it easier to separate your home and work life. It may be tempting to work from the sofa or other places of comfort while at home. However, if you work in the same place you relax, it can become difficult to disassociate from work in your downtime. In addition, having a set working area means other members of your household know you are working. Whilst it is not always possible to not be disturbed, it can reduce the amount of disruption in your day.

Dress for the Day

It is important to have your work mindset in place when working from home. Therefore, keeping your usual morning routine is the best way to focus your mind. Set your alarm for the usual time and make sure you get up, showered, and dressed as if you are going to work. It can also be beneficial to go for a walk in the morning at the time you would usually commute. Almost like you are walking to work, even if it is just around the block.

Building Consultants Essex

Most Importantly, Stay Safe!

Here at John Burke Associates Chartered Surveyors and Building Consultants, we hope everyone stays safe during these times. While the focus is very much on our physical health, it is vital we all take our mental well being into account. If you are struggling during this time, please use the links below for help and advice for managing your mental health.

Brexit – How to plan for the unexpected

Project Managers

February marks the first month of Britain’s post-Brexit transition period, thus the beginning of much uncertainty across the country. Whether you perceive the British resignation from the EU to be positive or negative, we can all agree it will bring change. Consequently, with change comes challenges. Therefore, this month’s blog will offer guidance to project managers facing the challenges Brexit may bring.

Knowledge is Power

Whilst we undergo the transition period it would be prudent to research the potential consequences to your industry. Brexit will undoubtedly affect us all, both personally and professionally. The Government has provided an online tool to assist individuals and companies ascertain what preparation will be required. Simply click the link below and follow the online instructions. Furthermore, you can also subscribe to email updates to notify you about any changes that affect you.


What Action Should Project Managers Take?

Project Managers need to offer strong leadership throughout the time of uncertainty. Your team will look to you for reassurance and guidance. It is likely that you will not have answers to all the questions posed to you. However, maintaining a flow of practical information through consistent communication within your company will pay dividends in team reassurance. Keeping abreast of the latest developments in trade discussions will provide you with a valuable foresight in your preparations for 2021.

Valuable Resources

The UK government, RICS and the CMI offer an abundance of articles offering proactive solutions and advice throughout the post Brexit era. Each providing companies and individuals across the UK with online information hubs dedicated to offering support and guidance. The CMI offers articles advising on scenarios such as handling change in the workplace to planning for the unpredictable. Whereas offers the latest news and information such as “The Future Relationship between the UK and the EU”. A statement published 3rd February 2020 setting out the UK proposed approach to the all-important negotiations. Here at John Burke Associates, we would recommend the following resource links;

The Management of Site Inspection

Chartered Surveyors

The construction industry continues to be perceived by both its clients and the general public as fragmented, disorganised and unprofessional. Litigation, arbitration, and continuing building failure reinforce this view. In this blog, our Technical Director of Site Inspection, Ian Carey CMgr MSc DMS FRICS FCIOB FICWCI FCABE, offers his insight into the management of site inspection.

The Quality-Cost-Time Conundrum

Site Inspection

The industry has become progressively management orientated. However, the dynamic management process tends to deal with holistic strategies. Contractors increasingly faced the dilemma posed by the quality-cost-time conundrum, a problem that is exacerbated by falling skill and resource levels.

Clients, for their part, demand value for money and cost optimisation on complex projects which they also expect to be “right first time”. Consequently, due to this dichotomy, the quality of work on site has continued to deteriorate resulting in numerous defects (many of a serious or repetitive nature) delays and additional costs.

Contributing Factors to Declining Standards

Industry trends and government legislation, such as fee bid tendering, lack of training, lowest tender philosophies, Best Value and the reduction of public and Governmental control, have all perpetuated the decline of quality standards in the completed building.  Therefore, the burden of remedial costs and user dissatisfaction has conversely increased.

The Role of a Clerks of Works

Traditionally the individual responsible for setting, maintain and policing the quality standards onsite is the Clerks of Works. Much of the foregoing can be mitigated by appointing a qualified   and experienced Clerks of Works to undertake systematic, regular and independent third-party inspection as work proceeds.

Ian currently heads up John Burke Associates Clerks of Works and Site Inspection services. He is a Fellow and twice Past President of the Institute of Clerks of Works & Construction Inspectorate of Great Britain.

Ian Carey

Our Aim

John Burke Associates’ aim is to create synergy between the Client, Contractor, and Team to realise a ‘Zero Defects’ project. Our comprehensive portfolio of services is delivered through two complementary divisions; Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Building Consultants. Each division is committed to delivering a combined tailored service, dedicated to our client’s requirement.

Constructing a Greener Environment

RICS Chartered Surveyors

There are serious concerns about the construction industry’s contribution to the world’s pollution. With estimates of its responsibility being around 4% more air, water, and noise pollution than any other industry. In addition, the UN states that just over a third of all Co2 emissions are produced from the built environment. Which is also responsible for a third of all energy consumption. As the world faces a climate crisis, we as RICS Chartered Surveyors have a responsibility. We must steer our client’s projects towards building more resilient and sustainable communities.

Why is it important?

The current rate of pollution from the industry and the built environment is not sustainable. To elaborate, we look at the three critical contributors mentioned above and what the consequences are;

Air Pollution

There are various activities within the construction industry which are major contributors to the climate crisis. Such as diesel emissions and construction dust or PM10 – particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter. These all have health consequences such as respiratory illness, asthma, bronchitis, even carcinogenic consequences. Not just a detriment to human health, such emissions are critical to the health of animals and plants.

Therefore, we must work together to find more sustainable fuel options and implement more eco-friendly site procedures.

Water Pollution

Diesel, Oil, harmful chemicals, cement, dirt, and debris are all sources of onsite water pollution. Surface water run-off carries such substances into waterways. Which is toxic to the water life and any wildlife that drinks from them.

In addition, land clearance leads to erosion in the soil which causes silt baring runoff and sediment pollution. The consequence of which is waterways becoming turbid and therefore restricting sunlight filtration, therefore obliterating aquatic life. But it’s not just the animals and wildlife who are affected. If these pollutants soak into groundwater, our drinking water becomes contaminated and furthermore, harder to treat.

Building Consultancy services

Noise Pollution

Construction sites are notorious for high-level noise; HGVs, power tools, machinery, high volume radios, and shouting. If you have ever lived near a building site, you will understand the annoyance this can cause. But the long-term effects of noise pollution can be much more severe than a noisy distraction.

Such excessive noise is linked to issues such as blood pressure, stress, hearing loss and sleep disturbance. Not just for humans but also for the surrounding wildlife. While we appreciate that a quiet construction site isn’t currently possible, we should still explore available avenues of reduction.

What can be done?

As RICS Chartered Surveyors and Building Consultants, we advocate the global adoption of RICS Standards. We aim to ensure we work in synergy with our clients to deploy more capital towards sustainable projects. Therefore, supporting our profession in pioneering healthier more resilient environments. Which in turn provides our clients with the confidence of sustainable project investments. Our portfolio of services offers a full compilation of Chartered Surveying & Chartered Building Consultancy services;