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Downloadable Research Tools

The RICS Foundation can offer researchers the free download of the following tools.

The Future of the Office

Office Densities: Over-crowded, under-utilised or just right?

City of London office supply and demand forecasting model


The Future of the Office

What will be the impact of changes in employment in the future in the demand for space? What will be the impact in changes in levels of home working?

Still Life in the Office helps answer these questions. Providing scenarios for 2006 and 2011 for changes in employment in all key industries and occupational types in the UK, this interactive model provides a quick and easy way to assess your own scenarios.

> click here to download the model (4.4MB). This is an Excel 97/98 spreadsheet.

To use the resource, simply insert your desired percentage change figures in the appropriate boxes and select the industries or occupation categories that you want to vary. Once you have crated your scenario, just return to the front page, click RUN and see the results of your scenario. This resource has been developed by Business Strategies Ltd, based on the results of a research project carried out by Business Strategies Ltd and funded by a consortium including: RICS Foundation, British Telecom, CB Hillier Parker, Cluttons, Corporation of London, Schroders and First Great Eastern Railways.

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Office densities: Over-crowded, under-utilised or just right?

The RICS Foundation and Gerald Eve chartered surveyors have been working for 4 years on a regular survey of office densities and office usage in the United Kingdom. Previous studies were published in 1997 and 1999 and the latest study is published in June 2001. The results of these surveys establish office occupation benchmarks and provide an analysis of the drivers of change at the occupier level. The broad themes that are included in the analysis are:

  • the breakdown of office occupation densities
  • an analysis of support space allocation and usage
  • the impact of new working practices on office occupation
  • the effect of open plan layouts on office densities
  • the impact of different forms of tenure of office densities

The information on which the 2001 study is based was collected using a postal questionnaire survey between November 2000 and February 2001. A total of 531 valid responses, representing over 1.2 million m2 of net floor space and over 74,000 employees were collected to form the basis for the analysis - the most collected to date for any of the studies carried out.

For further information on this study contact: Stephen Brown, RICS Foundation T: +44 (0) 20 7334 3725 E: stephen@rics-foundation.org or Mark Wist, Gerald Eve T: +44(0) 20 7333 6245 E: MWist@geraldeve.com

> visit the benchmarking model to establish your own customised comparison

> view the summary of findings

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City of London office supply and demand forecasting model

  • what would be the effect on office supply and demand if there were an increase in interest rates?
  • what would be the impact on the office market if there were a change in planning policy?

These are the types of questions we can now help you answer. Welcome to the online office supply and demand forecasting model, produced by the RICS Foundation, based on research commissioned in association with the Corporation of London.

This model, the result of a major collaborative research programme, is one of the first fully integrated econometric models to have been developed to forecast the supply and demand for office space. Using the City of London as a case-study, this model is capable of providing real insights into the way in which the commercial property market reacts to trends and changes. The model provides the ability for you to simulate various changes, such as changes in interest rates, and to see what their impact is on office supply and demand. We are committed to the public use and uptake of the latest research and are making the model available free of charge on the web, but there is no technical support provided, save that provided in this note. Neither the RICS Foundation nor the Corporation of London accept any liability for the results of the use of this model.

The RICS Foundation has also published the full report of the research which describes the background of the research and provides the full specification of the model and its application to the City of London. This is available free by emailing publishing@rics-foundation.org. The ISBN of this publications is 1-84219-101-5.

This is a spreadsheet-based model and there are two versions available, as follows:

The scenario tester: this allows you to quickly try out scenarios

The complete model: this allows you to download the full report and the use the full capabilities of the model.

THE SCENARIO TESTER On downloading the spreadsheet, you should choose the "Enable Macros" option. The first screen provides you with a drop-down menu with a number of options. Most of these are simply for information, as follows:

  • Model overview
  • Baseline forecasts
  • Coefficients
  • Residual feedback
  • Source data

Another relates to the scenarios that you create. This is:

  • Rent forecast at a glance

The option to select in order to run your own simulation is the option "Simulation". On choosing this, you will access the main spreadsheet containing the historical data and baseline forecast data. The best way to enter your own simulations is to use to button in the top-left hand corner marked "Run Simulation". You will then be shown a dialogue box in which you can choose the variable that you wish to use. Having chosen the variable, you can then input your own figures for each six-month period up until the end of 2008.

Having input your figures, press OK and the new simulation is automatically calculated. To view this, you have a number of options:

  • To view the impact on rents, simply click on the tag at the bottom of the spreadsheet marked "At a Glance". To return to the simulation, click on the tag at the bottom of the spreadsheet marked "Simulation"

  • To compare the simulation with the scenario developed by the baseline forecast, click on "Comparison".

  • To view the impact on a range of variables, you should go to cells B34 to B42 in the Simulation sheet (which is the one that you should be in). Here you can select from the four variables - office-based employment, office starts, available stock of office space and real effective rent. To see the effect of your simulation on any of these, simply click on the appropriate button marked "Graph". To return from these graphs to the simulation sheet, you should click on the tag marked "Simulation" at the bottom of the spreadsheet. To view the data for your simulation, you should then click on the tag at the bottom of the spreadsheet called "Custom data". You should note that only produces the custom data for the individual variable that you have selected to produce a graph for. To return to the simulation, click on the tag at the bottom of the spreadsheet marked "Simulation"

To run another simulation, simply click on "Run Simulation" and enter your new set of data. If at any time, you want to return the data to its original setting, click on the "Return to Base" button.

> download the scenario tester (764K)


Here we give you information that you need to use the full model and to enter your own data. The model is configured as an Excel spreadsheet file and runs on all versions of Excel from Windows 95 Excel version 7.0 onwards. It requires a minimum of 8 MB of RAM. The model is contained in just one Excel workbook, called "city supply and demand .xls" This workbook comprises separate linked worksheets. Upon opening the workbook, a start up worksheet appears which enables the user to navigate between the different worksheets using user-friendly buttons. In order to find out details of the equations, identities and variables used by the model, you should go to the Model Overview page.

In order to use the model, the user is required to replace the existing data with their own required data. These are contained in the Base sheet. Specifically, new data is required for the following:

  • New Planning Permissions, NPM
  • Office based employment, OFFICECT
  • Starts, START
  • Deprecations and withdrawals, DEP
  • The total available stock, STOCK
  • Effective rent, ERENT

This data is inserted in the base sheet for historical values of exogenous and endogenous variables, and for the exogenous variables. Once these have been derived the user needs to modify two worksheets:

1. Coefficients
2. Residual Feedback Coefficients

Here the user generates a new set of coefficients using the model equations (these are described in column E). If the equations specifications used are exactly the same as in the City model then it is a simple matter to overwrite the City coefficients with the new estimated coefficients for the user's area (cells C2 - C40, highlighted in red in the spreadsheet). If the new specifications are similar to the City equation specification this can also be handled by putting in a zero coefficient for the omitted variables. If, however, the equation specifications are longer than those used in the City model then a more complex re-write of the formulas in the Base, Simulation and Residual Feedback sheets will be necessary.

It is important to note that the Excel model does not estimate the coefficients. These need to be estimated using an appropriate software package such as Aremos or Microfit. Residual Feedback The user needs to replace the historical data in the Residual Feedback sheet with data for their area (cells F5 - F22 onwards).

The coefficients and the historical data for the exogenous variables, entered earlier, will then produce a set of predicted values for each of the endogenous variables (F26 - F35). The residual values (F39 - F48) show the difference between the actual and predicted values. Base The residuals are automatically written into the Base sheet. However, this sheet needs to be updated with historical data for both exogenous and endogenous variables and forecasts for the exogenous variables. It also needs future values for the residuals. Under certain conditions these should be zero. Sometimes, however, forecasters use extrapolations of recent historical residuals. By using residuals, you can influence the forecast. Simulations Data can be entered for simulations, in the simulation 1 and 2 sheets in a similar manner to the base data sheets. Having input the required data into the simulation sheets, the data can be viewed using the graph buttons in the base sheet, and by looking at the comparison sheet.

You are now ready to use the model. Once you have entered the necessary data, you will be able to run your own simulations for your city. The flexibility is almost infinite and the insights that you can gain into the possible office supply and demand responses are rich and varied. We cannot predict the responses, and sometimes the answers that the model provides may not be what we would assume. We are not saying that the model is omnipotent, but we do believe that it can act as a real and important test for the assumptions that we may often make in our lives.

> download the complete model (968K)

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