TOCS 2017

A guide to UK office costs

What is TOCS?

Now in its 19th edition, the Total Office Cost Survey (TOCS) is the most definitive independent survey of its type, providing detailed information on office costs for over 50 UK locations.

Are you paying too much for your business premises?

Through the comparison of rents, business rates, service charges and other property costs in locations across the UK, TOCS can help organisations to benchmark their own costs against prevailing, real time levels. 

The survey is formed of independent data provided by leading service providers and is based on detailed output specifications which reflect the IPD Total Occupancy Cost Code.

TOCS leaves no stone unturned, providing figures across 22 separate cost metrics ranging from business rates to landscaping to waste management.

Costs are provided for 54 locations and generated for both new and 20-year-old office buildings on a per sq ft and per employee basis.

TOCS allows office occupiers to:

  • Easily view and compare costs between locations
  • Check office costs are in line with market rates
  • Benchmark their own costs in specific UK locations
  • Inform location strategies

TOCS 2017

Explore costs in your area

View full office occupancy costs across the UK and assess how these differ by location and sector across new and 20-year-old buildings on a per sq ft and employee basis.

UK Office Market Pulse

Office pulse web app

Make informed, intelligent and accurate property decisions with office market statistics at your fingertips.

Property Search

Looking for office space?

Browse our property database for office space across the UK and Ireland.

Commercial property insight


Industrial & logistics

Occupier overview, regional insight and investment market review of the industrial and logistics market.

Insights

For articles about UK office occupation, click on the links below.

  • Methodology
    • TOCS methodology and assumptions

      The cost data has been supplied by Lambert Smith Hampton and a number of leading industry suppliers. The data in this edition represents the position as of 30 April 2017.

      To get consistent and comparable costs between locations, the type of building and associated day-to-day services have been specified in detail. For full information on the building's specification, see Definition of Cost Heads below.

      Key building parameters:

      • Provides 50,000 sq ft (NIA), built on four floors in a prime location. The construction includes a steel frame, curtain walling and raised floors.
      • There are 500 individually allocated personal workspaces.
      • Net effective rents are utilised rather than headline rents as these provide a more accurate reflection of actual costs inclusive of rent free incentives.
      • The building is let on a 10-year FRI lease with a rent review after five years.
      • The occupancy assessment also assumes good configuration efficiency with primary circulation totalling 20 per cent balance of NIA.
      • Ancillary and amenity spaces such as reception, post handling, breakout space, meeting rooms and catering space make up approximately 15 per cent of the total space.
    • Procurement

      We have adopted the hypothetical purchasing power of a medium sized organisation which employs 500 staff, this is considered the minimum size required for procuring the TOCS bundle of services.

      The survey has also assumed all expenditure items are procured separately, which in the real world is unlikely.

    • Components

      To identify costing, we have analysed all relevant annual and one off capital costs for the occupation of office space. This analysis has taken into account expenditure items contained within the IPD Total Occupancy Cost Code.

      Actium Consult, the previous owner of TOCS, helped IPD to define this cost code, which is now established as an industry benchmark. These costs include net effective rents, rates, annualised costs such as maintenance, security and cleaning and relevant business support costs such as reception, telephones, catering and printing and reprographics.

    • Net effective rent

      Calculating the net effective rent from the headline rent is a necessary step in calculating the total cost of occupation in different locations around the UK.

      For the purpose of this survey, the level of headline (or lease) rent of a hypothetical 50,000 sq ft NIA office building in a prime office location let to a single occupier was determined. It was assumed that this property, excluding car parking, would let within a reasonable time, approximately six months, and on a 10-year FRI lease with a review after five years.

      The typical rent free period for each of the 54 centres covered was also taken into account.

      Net effective rent is calculated using the current quoted prime rent for a good quality modern office building. The net effective rent reflects any rent free inducement on a straight line basis up to the end of a 10-year lease. The rent free period also includes the traditional three month allowance for fit out.

    • How is space used?

      Since the intensity of use in office buildings varies it has become standard practice in the industry when looking at occupancy costs to measure not only price per sq ft but also costs per workstation. For organisations who use a 1:1 ratio for workstations (no desk sharing/hot desking) and staff, this measure also relates to cost per staff member.

      Therefore a good best practice benchmark for the total workstation area is 100 sq ft (NIA). This is a reasonable assumption for an occupier moving into and refitting new space, although in practice some occupier sectors use considerably more space.

      The net area of a workstation* is the area taken up by a desk, chair, pedestal and proximity storage, which comes to approximately 52 sq ft. However, any analysis of gross workstation area also needs to accommodate other spaces in the building including:

      • Cellular offices (2 sq ft)
      • High density storage (2 sq ft)
      • Breakout space (1 sq ft)
      • Meeting rooms (5 sq ft)
      • Cafe (5 sq ft)
      • Local storage (11 sq ft
      • Reception (5 sq ft)
      • Circulation (17 sq ft)

      Our space calculation assumes approximately 12% cellular space and 88% open plan.

      You can download the Space model for the Total Office Cost Survey

      * Floor measurements referred to are based on the RICS Code of Measuring Practice, 6th edition.

Get in touch

If you would like to speak to one of our team about TOCS, please fill
out the form below or contact Oliver du Sautoy, Lambert Smith Hampton's Head of Research.