A radical rethink of real estate

BT creates a workplace for connection and collaboration



BT Group, the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider, has embarked on a nationwide ‘Better Workplace’ programme to consolidate its offices from 300 to 30. The centrepiece of this consolidation programme – the biggest of its type in UK history – is One Braham in London. This future-focused workplace, now home to 3,500 employees, encourages collaboration, connection, creativity and innovation.

Many of BT’s 300 regional offices had been built over telephone exchanges, while its former headquarters at St Paul’s had reached the end of its life. It was time to reimagine the future of the workplace as one with technology, health and wellbeing, and sustainability at its heart.

At a glance

  • Client
    BT London
  • Services
    Cost Management & Quantity Surveying
  • sector
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom

Flexible and client-focused

Delivering BT’s new future-proofed headquarters was achieved despite unprecedented cost and time pressures. A target budget had been set against a backdrop of Brexit and a global pandemic. Material and labour supply chain issues needed to be carefully navigated, and each stage of the project was delivered during lockdowns that made procurement and construction ongoing challenges.

Our team of experts work collaboratively to deliver success, project by project. Our understanding and experience of the London market combined with our independent thinking, means we could adapt our approach to meet BT’s needs. It was this flexible, client-focused attitude that proved an essential ingredient on One Braham, and the wider Better Workplace programme.

RLB formed and maintained good relationships with the BT project team and the contractor to successfully deliver One Braham. Their approach is professional and unbiased, and backed up by data and benchmarking to inform BTs decision making. In a complex project environment, encountering plenty of change from design stages and into construction RLB were flexible, providing cost plans in parallel with design to support speed to market. RLB continue to be a pivotal partner to BT in the development and delivery of our TBWP buildings.

Kirsty MacDiarmid, Construction Project Manager, Property and Facilities Services, BT Group

We are proud to have played a role bringing BT’s imagination to life. One Braham is testament to a collaborative team approach that delivered an exceptional workplace that will help BT attract and retain top talent and meet the needs of customers as technology and thinking evolve.
Joe Benson, Partner, RLB

RLB provided cost management services throughout the project from inception to occupation. Our early work to develop detailed cost plans and dashboard reports in tandem with design allowed BT to gain a quick and clear view of the project. We utilised our in-house cost benchmarking dataverse to add real value to BT in their decision making process. Our multi-disciplined team advised BT on the costing implications of advancing technology alongside the building design to support their vision for a seamless workplace experience.

Smart and sustainable design at scale

Every element of the fit-out was carefully designed to spark collaboration and connection. Take the 13-flight staircase through the heart of the building allowing people to move easily between floors, and encouraging teams to come together for sharing ideas.

One Braham reflects BT’s sustainability ambitions. A BREEAM Excellent rating was achieved and 99% of waste generated during the project was recycled rather than sent to landfill. UK-based furniture suppliers, 220,000 sq.ft of sustainably sourced carpet tiles, 400 cycle bays and accessible, inclusive design are hallmarks of the building.

  • 33,000
    (356,000 sq ft) fitout
  • 800,000
    sub-contractor labour hours
  • 14
    construction period during the global pandemic

Why community and customers are at the core

BT hopes its visionary workplace transformation program will save £1.3 billion and allow the streamlined company to respond rapidly to customer trends. One Braham’s design reinforces this vision in bricks and mortar. The building’s ‘community floors’ each feature a café and restaurant, as well as spaces for socialising and quiet places for contemplation or private worship. Hot desk facilities enable colleagues to work in ‘neighbourhoods’ according to their business function. A new Showcase concept store allows BT’s team to trial, test and tweak pilot products, while a ground-floor public café and community space supports projects that regenerate and renew the local Tower Hamlets area.

Health and wellness woven into 18 floors

On the doorstep of Aldgate East station, One Braham undoubtedly “earns the commute”. The office fit-out combines the comforts of home with state-of-the-art technology, spectacular aesthetics and unrivalled space to share ideas and inspiration. The agile environment allows people to adapt their workspace to the task, and their work to future opportunities as technology and thinking evolve.