Post-Covid design

Virgin Money’s ‘touch-free’ office of the future

177 Bothwell Street

No touching: technology will create a safe environment

Virgin Money’s new head office under construction in Glasgow has been re-engineered as touch-free environment in response to needs of the post-Covid workplace.

The developer behind 177 Bothwell Street – set to become the city’s largest single office building – is implementing a series of health and wellbeing measures will eliminate the need to press buttons, switches or even use soap and flush the toilets.

With human touch identified as a major factor in transmission of the deadly disease, all the building’s ‘touch-points’ have been reviewed. Occupiers will arrive and make their way to their chosen floor – via reception, security turnstiles, and lifts – without any contact with the building’s exterior or interior, whether they enter the premises by foot, bicycle, or car.

Mobile devices will be pre-accredited, to allow operation of security gates and lifts with an app, while touchless, app-activated lighting will remove the need to physically operate switches. 

Water, soap, hand-drying facilities, and toilet flushing will also be fitted with sensor technology to remove the need for touch and automatically inform the facilities management team when supplies run low. A dedicated loading bay and centrally located delivery lockers will mean that mail and packages can be delivered directly between supplier and customer.

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Additional health measures include a review of the ventilation system to incorporate new filtering methods and enhance heat recovery safety.

Underfloor heating will replace air-based systems, particularly in small, high-density areas – such as toilets and reception – meaning there is 100% fresh air ventilation supplied without recirculating air.

Set for completion in summer next year, a large section of the building has been pre-let to Virgin Money for its new headquarters, while developer HFD Group will occupy 65,000 sq. ft. 

Stephen Lewis, managing director of HFD Property Group, said: “As lockdown measures ease and office-based businesses return to work, there is a lot to consider for landlords and occupiers before any kind of normality can resume.

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