The General Medical Council (GMC) is seeking an architect to rethink its offices in the age of Covid-19
The team selected for the estimated £200,000 contract will explore a range of options to ‘maintain social distancing and a safe working environment’ across GMC’s offices in Manchester, London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.
The study will compare occupancy and desk usage against UK legal limitations, BCO standards, and the capacity of existing services, such as air conditioning, toilets, fire escapes and lifts, and set out three conceptual reconfiguration options covering low, medium and high levels of cost and staffing disruption.
The tender is one of the first major UK public commission exploring office layout improvements to also factor in responses to the coronavirus outbreak, which has seen many people forced to work from home and employers required to satisfy new measures of social distancing and hygiene to limit future infections.
According to the brief: ‘The GMC requires architect services to respond quickly to changes to the size of the organisation and the type of work carried out. This typically involves but is not limited to, interior design of additional office space or reconfiguring existing GMC offices.
‘Currently, an important requirement from architect services will be advice on how to configure GMC offices to maintain social distancing and a safe working environment adhering to Government guidance as it changes given the current situation with Covid-19. While the GMC can’t confirm any projects at present, there will be a requirement for support from architect services for projects as they emerge over a three-year period.
Founded in 1858, the GMC is public body responsible for maintaining the official register of doctors in the UK. The organisation employs around 1,200 people in a variety of offices including 3 Hardman Street (pictured), 79 Oxford Street, and 3 Hardman Square in Manchester, and the Sheppard Robson-designed 350 Euston Road in London.
The search for a design team to rethink GMC’s offices comes amid a wider re-opening of UK business and employment spaces in a gradual easing of the lockdown restrictions introduced in March to deal with the pandemic.
Employers must now ensure their workspaces maintain social distancing and new levels of hygiene, while many workers are still being encouraged to continue to work from home to reduce strain on transport systems.
The latest commission will explore a range of different options for GMC’s offices and will result in the creation of a single preferred option for upgrading the estate. The final concept will cover recommendations for best working practices and new technology, furniture options, and 3D images exploring specific areas of interest.
A GMC spokesperson said: ’This is a tender for architects’ services over a 3 year period (with an option for a 4th year), which we can use on an as needed basis, for projects that may come up on the GMC estate. There are currently no specific projects planned, and the contract doesn’t guarantee that work will result from it.
‘Typically, projects might include an element of interior design or the redesign of an existing space. We would expect the successful architects to be able to advise us on safe working environments, including Government guidance with regard to Covid-19.’
Bids for the contract will be evaluated 70 per cent on quality and 30 per cent on cost. The deadline for applications is midday, 22 July.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Tel: +44 1619236340