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Past Project: Development of a new office complex for Zurich Insurance Group

Key Decision Making for Project Morrison



The Centre for Sustainable Development is currently contributing to the development of a new office complex for Zurich Insurance Group located in Wiltshire. The building will provide space for over 1,000 employees. Currently the staff are distributed in three buildings located in a Complex at the centre of town, and they have been using these structures for the last 25 years. But the lease ends in 2016 so Zurich Group is considering a new ‘built to suit’ option to relocate their employees since there is no existing alternative which satisfies their requirements.

Ian White

CRE&FM Project Manager of Zurich Insurance Group

“There is a chance to build something new and this building need to support the requirements of the next 20 years”

Nicola Blundell

CRE&FM Head of Dynamic Working and European Head of Projects of Zurich Insurance Group

“Over the past four years we have been introducing dynamic working and at the present half of the workforce are assigned and half is not assigned….The current building is not responding properly to flexible working”


  • Create a world class head office providing a modern, efficient and effective environment adopting the latest in dynamic working for acoustics, privacy, colours and wellbeing.
  • Create a place that support business changes and sustainability commitments throughout the years.
  • Create a workplace to be proud, incorporating the best measures for customers’ experience and employees’ learning.
  • Create a workplace with the best IT technologies to provide Zurich workforce the ability of enhance productivity and flexible working anywhere within the Zurich environment and increase employees’ satisfaction with their surroundings.


  • Define the business strategy, objectives and vision to deliver a building design according to Zurich’s needs.
  • Define the Request for Proposal (RFP) of the project and anticipate the issues of the RFP to developers
  • Create a building to support the requirements of the main entities of the company e.g. CRE&FM, customers, staff, building standards, etc. 

Cambridge Role in Project

The role of the Centre for Sustainable Development is to help Zurich Group in the process of making the key decisions in regard to the space efficiency of space, energy and resources, and also in the building design and occupants’ wellbeing.

On 22nd April 2015 Peter Guthrie in collaboration with staff of the Centre organised a Building Standards Workshop where key academics from the University of Cambridge and the Zurich’s managers involved in the Project were invited to have a debate about the new offices. The objective of the event was to explore the possibilities and priorities of Zurich in the development of a new office either in a new building or for a refurbishment of the existing office. Under a successful loose fit agenda and a debate facilitated by the expert Phillip Guildford, Cambridge’s delegates gave their main insights. Topics such as flexible working, human behaviour, sustainable buildings, embodied energy and open-to-community offices were conferred identifying the key issues of the Project and the specific aspects for future work.


Rainwater Harvesting in Kenya

Credit: SuSanA Secretariat via Flickr