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Knockout punch

Project Sunrise represented a cultural and spiritual move from Spirit Group to Punch Taverns, and aided the transition to sustainable working in a hi-tech campus.

Winner: SGP Property and facilities management


By David Arminas


28 October 2010


Sunrise House was to be not only a flagship for Punch Taverns, but a landmark building for Burton-on -Trent. It was an opportunity to create more workspace, but with fewer workstations as calculations pointed to a 50 per cent use of desks in the business.
Sunrise House, created in conjunction with SGP Property and Facilities Management, is the cornerstone for changes about how the Punch Taverns’ team works.
Also, a Breeam rating was a key objective, which encouraged designers, manufacturers, consultants, the client and FM teams to review every decision in light of environmental, impact.

What Punch Taverns senior management needed was a “one-team” culture in a flexible working environment. Leadership and a recognition of rising stars needed to be brought out into the open and there should be an obvious promotion of a positive work/life balance.
In 2006 Punch Taverns acquired the Spirit Group, also based in the city, at Jubilee House, a 44,000 sq ft 10-year-old purpose built office block and an 1845 brewery building located next to the station. Neither was suitable, or large enough, to house the new organisation. The forthcoming lease expiry on the brewery building meant the time was right to move out and occupy a campus-style site incorporating the existing Jubilee House location.

Studies showed there was a mix of working styles. There was a need for fixed, permanently office-based locations for people rarely out of the office. Also, Punch needed some flexible space for employees who were in the office two to four a week, and also who used predominantly used laptops as their main work tool. Other employees spent the vast amount of their time in the field.

A team of 13 ‘champions’ were selected who would communicate between the business and employees. Champions meetings were led by the FM and HR teams. This initiative was started in August 2008 and continued until after completion in September 2009. Champions were issued with a departmental space-planning template that collated head count, space requirements and adjacencies, all of which formed the basis of the space-planning brief.

Place in the sun

The result is Sunrise House, a 42,000 sq ft structure across two wings sharing a light-filled atrium. On the south side there is minimal glass and fins to shade the building and minimise solar gain while solar panels provide heat and hot water. Rainwater harvesting is used for the WCs. Daylight and movement sensors control lighting.
The ground floor has meeting rooms, hot desks and the café and break out areas. The bookable meeting spaces are supplemented by the cellular office space in Jubilee House.
A “food development centre” known as the “Chefs’ Table” showcases new menus being introduced to Punch pubs. This brings the pub message into the business and gives employees visibility of a professional pub kitchen within the facility. Plasma screens around the building show the latest developments and promotions in the pub estate. 

The first and second floors have non-bookable small quiet rooms for quick meetings or confidential phone calls. There is also open-plan desking layout. This includes fixed-desking – with under-desk storage. Flexi-desks are allocated on a ratio of 0.7 desks per flexi user or for those using laptops with lockable shelf space storage for every flexi user. There also are field desks or hot desks, a ratio of 0.1 desks per field-based employee.

Importantly for the work culture, the desk types are inter-mingled in an effort to break down barriers and encourage people to communicate with people in different business areas.
The team tried to remove everything that ties people to using one desk. Printing, for example, works using the ID card to print where the person is located.



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