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The AA

Creating substantial value and savings for the AA with an award-winning team

Key Information


The AA




In 2013, CBRE rejuvenated an ailing client relationship to achieve substantial value and savings for the AA, and a BIFM Team of the Year Award to boot. 

About the Client

The AA is the UK’s largest motoring organisation with over 15 million members. Headquartered in Basingstoke, it employs 8,000 staff in more than 200 properties across the UK. This account was originally won by Reliance Facilities Management. In 2012 Reliance merged with Norland Managed Services which was then acquired by CBRE in 2013.


In 2013 the account was in difficulty. Changes of ownership on both sides had led to instability and, the AA was considering re-tendering the account. It wanted a fresh approach and had some specific goals: to reduce costs, to make significant portfolio changes (including the establishment of a new HQ in London); greater energy efficiency and an active ongoing H&S programme; CSR activities around sustainability, community engagement, staff wellbeing and recycling were also a priority. In essence the AA wanted to see improvements in all service levels.

 The Solution

The account had to grow and improve profitability – in 2014 its core value was £3.4 million. Crucially, with a review coming up, the account had to be retained. Change came with the arrival of new account director who set about turning things around.

The team: The team was re-structured to support the client’s needs and moved into individual AA offices to improve responsiveness. Weekly webinars were introduced to discuss issues and share best practice in addition to four team member promotions.

Training and development: Once the team had been restructured, it was important that each member had a personal development plan. In 2015, training was increased by 300 per cent and a training matrix was introduced to track staff development.

Communications: The right communications were considered essential for delivering improvements. New channels were introduced, including weekly updates for all staff, improved team communications, Webinars across the UK and Webquote – a CBRE portal for approving work proposals. 

Resilience and succession: To support succession planning, staff were evaluated for their promotion potential, and emergency cover for key roles was planned. Careful consideration was given to which candidates would be able to take on key roles in the coming three years and they were trained accordingly.

Corporate social responsibility: The wellbeing of staff and effective community relations are key aims for both the AA and CBRE. CSR activities for CBRE specifically included hosting several wellbeing days for all staff.

 The Result

CBRE retained the contract, and the account has been transformed on both the client and provider sides. The estate has been consolidated significantly, costs reduced, revenues increased, and delivery and responsiveness improved. Account revenue has increased by 40 per cent, with organic growth up 10 per cent and profit up 100 per cent and customer service feedback from AA staff has improved by 35 per cent.

Specific areas of delivery and success include:

Building portfolio: Since 2014 CBRE has supported key changes to the AA's portfolio and footprint which involved work space usage analysis, consolidation and openings, refurbishment and fit outs and the replacement of key plant. This resulted in £2m in savings.

Client services: The team achieved significant improvement in service, introducing technology to rationalise security, and a new approach to cleaning and recycling. As a result £1.2m was saved in core services. A waste reduction initiative resulted in zero waste to landfill across the whole estate within a year.

Energy efficiency: All of CBRE’s engineers have had training to identify ways to reduce energy usage, whether operational or showing where investments can be made to improve efficiency. Steps taken or identified have resulted in energy savings of around £250,000 per annum, reducing gas consumption by 20.1 per cent and electricity consumption by 4.6 per cent.

Health and safety: CBRE prioritises health and safety, receiving ROSPA Gold Medal in 2015. At the AA,  key initiatives were introduced across the estate resulting in an increase in hazard reports (up 334 per cent on 2014), and OP63 supplier checks to ensure compliance to company processes (up 226 per cent on 2014). 

British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) Awards: In 2016, CBRE and the AA won BIFM’s coveted Team of the Year Award. In 2016, nearly 1,200 guests attended the awards ceremony, which celebrates industry professionals across key themes of people, innovation and impact.


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