The Birmingham Post has marked the return to the city of the British Council for Office's (BCO) Annual Conference with a special 28-page supplement today.

The networking and membership organisation has chosen Birmingham as its host for the second time after coming here in 2000, since when the landscape and make-up of city's commercial property scene has changed immensely

The supplement includes articles and thought leadership pieces by Birmingham-based Carl Potter, national head of offices with property consultancy GVA, who examines how the design of new buildings has evolved.

Other contributors include Ian Standing, a director with Associated Architects who looks at some of the buildings which have previously won BCO awards, while the head of Marketing Birmingham, Neil Rami, outlines why the city is a great place for outsider investment.

Today's Birmingham Post also includes May's edition of the Business Property Review with articles covering the city's maturing office market, rising appetite for house building and the new ban on tenant fees for letting agencies.

The three-day BCO conference started yesterday with tours of Jaguar Land Rover and the city centre as well as a drinks reception while the real debates and activities begin in earnest today.

Among the guest speakers and panellists are BCO chairman Richard Kauntze (above), Boris Johnson's chief economic adviser Dr Gerard Lyons, conference chairman and Land Securities' London managing director Colette O'Shea and Harvard University lecturer Shawn Achor.

The Post has run a series of stories , both in print and online, in the build up to the conference and will continue providing coverage throughout.

In addition, the BCO has used today's sessions at the conference to preview its updated 'Guide to Specification' research - the first time it has been changed in five years.

The research is the BCO's landmark publication which provides guidance on industry standards for workplaces and contains provisions for cyclists for the first time in recognition of the changing culture of commuting in the UK.

The new Guide to Specification recommends one shower per ten cycle spaces and one cycle space per 1,075 sq ft.

Recommended workplace density has also been reviewed to take into account the ever more diverse way businesses are now using their workspaces.

As a result, the 2014 guide recommends effective density, expressed as net internal area per person, provides a better insight into the demands on buildings and offers guidance on how to reduce costs by increasing occupancy efficiency.

The research conducted for the 2014 guide found most office space density fell between 85 to 140 sq ft per person (as stated in the 2009 guide) but the updated publication recognises the shift to the higher density end of this scale.

Mr Kauntze said: "Businesses must realise that one size will never fit all with offices reflecting the increasingly diverse needs of employees.

"The preview of the BCO's Guide to Specification reinforces this view and includes useful advice for occupiers on how to make the most of their office, a significant cost for a business, that if understood properly can work hard for them as an asset."

The full edition of the guide, which will also be available digitally for the first time, is due to be published later in the year.