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The Commercial Offices Handbook

Editor: Tim Battle. RIBA Enterprises, 2003. 500pp. £40 Tim Battle is well known to many in the property industry as an apostle of 'green'sustainable buildings. His introduction hints that interest is now moving to the productivity of offices rather than their sustainability, writes Mike Warner.

Frank Duffy follows this with a comparison of US and European practices - an ambitious task, that leaves the reader wishing for more. The next chapter, on 'The Developer', is refreshing in its approach, consigning design and leasing fees to the 'least important category', when considering developers'variables.

'Sustainability', by Rab Bennetts, deals clearly with the issues and techniques available, and should assist all those who do not have practical experience of sustainability in building design.

Meanwhile, the subject of architectural acoustics, by Arup, is assisted by a useful glossary of terms.

The chapter on interior design by Simon Jackson of Gensler includes a beautiful illustration of the iterative design process, labelled Route 127.

Future-proofing and productivity issues are also mentioned and there are a number of case studies.

I would encourage the doughty reader to tackle Richard Terry's contribution on structure.

As with Dillon and Gloyn's chapter on 'Risk management', we read of the reality and perception of hazards.Terry's chapter covers a lot of ground, providing a lot of detail on some areas and a useful overview on others.

As might be anticipated, Paul Morrell offers a thought-provoking contribution on the cost management process. The section is full of insights, but requires perseverance by the reader as the theme is developed. Clearly wisdom has been garnered by long experience in the business and the chapter should be considered essential reading for the uninitiated.

The penultimate chapter deals with occupier issues including the necessary, 'good, but fairly basic stuff '. A wake-up call arrives with the 'Corporate killing'section, which also covers the responsibilities of directors and is by far the most interesting section.

Overall, the handbook covers a lot of useful ground and most readers should find something of interest and learn from at least some of the sections.

Mike Warner is executive chairman of Insignia Building Consultancy lReaders of the AJ can obtain The Commercial Offices Handbook at the special offer price of £36 (rrp £40) for orders placed before 31 January.This offer is available only through the RIBA Bookshops website at www. ribabookshops. com

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