Department for Business, Innovation & Skills - Estate Transition Programme

Rationalising the estate to save significant costs

We helped the government make better use of its office space

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Department for Business, Innovation & Skills - Estate Transition Programme Project summary


Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Project value


Services provided

Consult, Project and programme management


Public buildings and estates


UK and Europe

Project timeline

Start date
March 2013
End date
March 2014

Project story

As part of the government's strategy to reduce the overall footprint of its estate, we worked with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to dramatically decrease its UK-wide property portfolio from 130 office sites to 60.

The challenge was to save in excess of £100m across the estate by making best use of space and office consolidation.

Through programme, project and change management we implemented the BIS vision of sharing sites and team working, and re-designed the offices to achieve a flexible use of space.

Successfully delivering such a sensitive project, affecting 4,200 people, required considerate planning and communication. Staff and stakeholder engagement were principal to our planning - encouraging inclusive dialogue to shape the programme.

Using our experience from similar projects we managed the transitions, closures, reconfigurations and refurbishments, achieving business continuity and delivering a smooth transition to the new working model.

Project stats

40% reduction in office space
£100m+ annual savings made through estate rationalisation
4,200 staff involved in move

Points of note

Considerate communication

The employee relocations were planned with a 'local flavour' to ensure that the messages and tone were relevant. Using previously generated relocation toolkits, all employees were kept informed. During the planning stage of each move we facilitated a workshop with senior representatives from key partner organisations.

Specialised refurbishment

A major element of the programme involved the refurbishment of a number of buildings including a neoclassical Grade II listed building in London.

Flexible approach to meet client needs

The ‘BIS family estate’ initially focused on 170 sites across the UK. The estate was, however, very fluid and forever changing depending on what properties were potentially available (the availability of sites was subject to the Government Property Unit's (GPU's) negotiation with current occupiers) and reconciling this against business fit across all partner organisations.

We put in place a management plan that provided the required level of flexibility and agility to react to a changing portfolio of offices. We embedded ourselves within BIS and its partners to understand their business requirements and identify locations for potential co-location. Our reporting mechanism, combined with a geographical representation of the sites and their location, provided the visual stimulus necessary to highlight information gaps and critical decisions required, as well as the ability to be flexible when the GPU changed the availability.

“What impressed me about Mace throughout the contract were their flexibility, honesty and sheer professionalism. Despite the many twists and turns that resulted from the many changes to the original plans, Mace remained positive, helpful and extremely capable throughout. I would work with Mace again without hesitation, knowing the work would be in safe hands.”