NHS Property Services was established in April 2013 to manage around 4,000 NHS properties ranging from health centres and GP practices to community hospitals and offices. The portfolio, valued at approximately £3 billion, is one of the biggest property portfolios in Europe. Overall, it manages around 10 per cent of the NHS estate in England with an annual running cost of around £700 million. Its responsibilities are strategic asset management; estates planning; construction project management; and facilities management services. As one of the founding non executive directors, Chris has provided strategic insight and support through supporting the executive team in a mentoring role, chairing the facilities management committee and participating in the assets and investments committee. It has made significant progress since its launch, exceeding many of the targets set by its shareholder, the Department of Health, and delivering real benefits including:

  • reduced running costs by £80 million in its first two years
  • managed over 100 new developments
  • disposed of 145 sites, realising £97 million
  • released land for more than 2,050 new homes across England

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The BBC’s large property estate was costly to run and in need of significant refurbishment to meet rapid advances in production methods and digital technology. Chris developed and led the team that delivered a new, more intelligent, real estate strategy that transformed the BBC’s estate:

  • more than 60 per cent of the BBC’s buildings are now less than 15 years old, compared to five per cent in 1999
  • the number of buildings has reduced from over 200 to 154
  • overall floor space has reduced by 40 per cent
  • run down and technically obsolete buildings in London, Glasgow and Manchester have been replaced with modern, technologically advanced buildings.
  • over half of BBC staff now work outside London as part of the BBC’s drive to make it a more representative national broadcaster
  • the BBC spends four per cent less in real terms on property maintenance and management
  • between 2010 and 2017 the BBC will have reduced the amount of property it owns by 40 per cent and cut running costs by £67 million a year
  • disposed of 145 sites, realising £97 million
  • these achievements led the National Audit Office to conclude that overall “the BBC has made good progress in rationalising and upgrading its buildings”. (Managing the BBC Estate, January 2015)


In 2002 the broadcast technology in three of the BBC’s largest London bases—Broadcasting House, Television Centre and Bush House—was coming to the end of its life. The BBC took a bold decision to rationalise its London sites and redevelop Broadcasting House to bring thousands of staff and live programming under one roof, broadcasting to over 10 million people at any one time in the UK and to over 150 million worldwide every week. Key points are:

  • the engineering challenges of redeveloping a Grade II* listed building were immense, surrounded by listed and residential properties and metres above two underground lines
  • despite this, broadcasting continued live and uninterrupted throughout the construction stages
  • at 93,000m² it is the BBC’s largest creative hub in the UK
  • it provides state-of-the-art digital broadcast facilities for nearly 6,000 staff
  • at the heart of the building is the largest live, multiplatform newsroom in Europe
  • the project was unique in the BBC’s history for its scale, complexity and challenges
  • as the largest capital project ever undertaken by the BBC it took a decade to complete, cost £1,014bn and involved the biggest single migration of staff in the BBC’s 90-year history
  • the redevelopment was part of a wider cost-saving strategy which will ultimately produce savings of more than £700m over the last 20 years of the Broadcasting House lease.


The business case for Pacific Quay, BBC Scotland’s headquarters in Glasgow, grew out of a need to expand production capacity in Scotland, increase efficiency, adopt new digital ways of working, and commit to Scotland post-devolution. It was the first BBC property to be delivered under the governance of best-practice programme which I supported. It opened in 2007. Key points are:

  • it was delivered for £188 million to time and to budget
  • it was the first end-to-end digital broadcasting centre in the UK
  • it houses 1,200 employees
  • the 34,000m² digital centre is a benchmark for state-of-the-art technology; production methods across TV, radio and online; and public access
  • it attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year
  • it has played a central role in the regeneration of the wider urban area.


In 2004 the BBC decided to move a large part of its operation to the north of England to serve its audiences in the region. It chose to develop a brownfield site on the banks of Salford Quays in Greater Manchester. Following the successful adoption of best-practice project governance in Pacific Quay, a true multi-disciplinary project team was established from the outset bringing significant benefits. Key points are:

  • this place-making and regeneration scheme was delivered on time and under budget
  • it is home to 2,700 staff
  • as part of the BBC-driven masterplan, it is co-sited with regional ITV news provider Granada and is the new home of ITV Studio’s soap Coronation Street. Salford University has located part of its campus here, too. The creation of Media City was Chris Kane’s idea, developed in partnership with some locals. Chris also helped the developer frame the original proposition
  • the entire centre is one of the largest HDTV programme-making facilities in Europe
  • by adopting a straightforward rental approach (with 20 year leases on the buildings) it transferred development costs to the landholder, Peel Holdings
  • operational costs were reduced by outsourcing technical provision
  • this new real estate and technology strategy not only delivered better value for money but has become the blueprint for future BBC projects.