August 5, 2016
The UK commercial property sector is now larger than at any time since before the last recession, claims a new analysis from the Investment Property Forum. It has risen nearly 50 percent since its lowest point in 2009 and is now valued at £871 billion, an increase of around 11 percent. The amount of stock actually shrank last year, according to the study, with the increase in overall value arising from price rises. The previous highest valuation the IPF puts on the market was £865 billion in 2006. All is not good news however as a second report from the same organisation which explores sentiment in the market following the Brexit vote confirms there is a great deal of uncertainty in the market. This is particularly acute in the London market which makes up over a third of the nation’s total and is increasingly dominated by foreign owners who may have a negative response to the UK’s vote to leave the EU. Intriguingly, the report found that total floorspace marginally declined over 2015 and has only increased by 0.9 percent since the market high of 2006.
August 2, 2016
Investment and hiring intentions remain relatively robust among London’s leading firms, despite the Brexit vote, claims a new analysis by the CBI and CBRE. Over two fifths (41 percent) of the 186 firms surveyed after the Referendum said that they planned to maintain their investment plans, with one in ten (9 percent) planning on actually increasing their plans. The demand for property from occupiers and investors also appears to remain strong. However, 16 percent of firms said they will freeze investment plans, whilst a fifth (21 percent) think they will reduce them. Half of businesses (50 percent) plan to continue to hire after the Referendum, with less than a third (29 percent) not planning to do so and 12 percent planning on reducing staff numbers. Many firms though are still considering their response to the Referendum and will be looking for a clear plan from the Government and City Hall to maintain the openness of London’s economy.
August 1, 2016
The changing energy demands of British cities are revealed in a new report published by Smart Energy GB and the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The report’s central claim is that urbanisation, economic growth and new technology will drive cities to meet their energy demands with the greater use of sustainable and renewable sources. The authors claim that this is the first time that predictions about increases in energy demand in the UK have been analysed and published on a city level. The Powering Future Cities report suggests that this growing demand will primarily be driven by urban population growth, economic growth and a predicted surge in use of new technology, including electric vehicles. The report coincides with an announcement that the World Green Building Council has created a new partnership with the World Resources Institute-led Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) to fast-track improvements to energy efficiency within buildings.
July 25, 2016
In this week’s Newsletter; Mark Eltringham on the narrow focus in descriptions of the ‘office of the future’; Maciej Markowski argues the need to keep an open mind on the open plan office; and Neil Franklin finds the ethics of everyday working life are the subject of two new surveys. News of a new device that can store more data than ever; many employees believe their workplace is not making best use of latest technology; and a new research report focuses on smart cities and the future of the built environment. Public Health England advises employers to set up vaping rooms for e-cigarette users; Brexit won’t lead to crash in commercial property say experts; and young workers are ill prepared for office politics. Download our new Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
July 18, 2016
Global law firm Osborne Clarke has released its fourth research report on smart cities and the future of the built environment. The new edition addresses a number of key issues related to the built environment and poses what it suggests are the two key questions: How can the built environment become smarter? And what are the challenges and obstacles that might prevent this from happening? The report looks at case studies cross Europe and interviews experts in an attempt to discover how smart built environments ‘leverage data, new technology and innovative and collaborative thinking to deliver services that benefit citizens’. The report concludes that a fundamental shift in thinking is already well underway but it is patchy and still faces a large number of major obstacles, not least a silo mentality in decision making which restricts the ability of organisations to innovate and achieve results across a broad base of objectives.
July 15, 2016
In a new report Brexit – The Case for Infrastructure, the Institution of Civil Engineers has set out the business case for the valuable contribution which infrastructure makes to the economy and argues that the UK should not lose sight of this as it begins negotiations for Brexit as it leaves the European Union. The report claims that high quality, high performing infrastructure is vital for economic growth and improved quality of life. It points to transport, communications, energy and housing as being central to spreading opportunity across the whole country. It also makes the case that infrastructure acts as a catalyst for social and economic inclusion, encouraging greater participation in society from people of all walks of life. In particular, during uncertain or volatile economic times, continued investment in UK infrastructure can help provide economic stability, facilitate inward investment and drive economic growth.
July 14, 2016
In France, we might have been the first to behead a King and hold a revolution, or to stand on barricades and die for ideals of justice and equality, but when it comes to change – especially in large organisations– we always seem to lag behind. You could blame it on a number of factors: a cultural bias towards tradition, the legacy of an interventionist and ever-present state, spawning bureaucratic models of large state-owned corporations, the everlasting grasp of the elites stifling innovation and the ability to “think outside the box”… Whatever this may be, the debate around remote working – a type of work organisation which allows employees to work regularly away from the office – in France has always been articulated around the preconception that France was behind. And that while its Anglo-Saxon or Nordic European neighbours displayed a boastful 30 percent of the working population as remote workers, France struggled to reach a meagre 9 to 10 percent in 2010.
July 12, 2016
A coalition of twenty major European telecommunications firms has come together to drive the rapid creation of a continent wide 5G network and warn national Governments and the EU of the dangers of over-regulation. The seven page document entitled the 5G Manifesto for timely deployment of 5G in Europe, is backed by firms such as Vodafone, Telenor, Orange, Nokia, BT, Ericsson, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, and Hutchison. Its core aim is to showcase the technology on a large scale by 2018 and launch a commercial network capability in at least one city in every EU nation by 2020. The document outlines the features and benefits of the technology but also sets out the potential risks posed by over-regulation, including the possible threat to net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites
July 12, 2016
As we reported yesterday there are plans afoot to surround the ‘Walkie Talkie’ winner of last year’s Carbuncle Cup with other tall building. However for organisations interested in occupying a London skyscraper it’s worth noting that according to Colliers, businesses in London’s twenty tallest skyscrapers can expect to pay an extra £50 million under forthcoming major changes to business rates. In a data analysis published recently, Colliers has assessed the likely effects of forthcoming business rates changes – floor-by-floor – on the occupiers of London’s twenty tallest buildings. Overall, firms will need to cough up an extra £50m as business rates bills go from £194m to £243m over the next three years. And the infamous ‘Walkie Talkie’ at 20 Fenchurch Street, and now fully occupied – will see the largest increase with office occupiers and luxury rooftop restaurants faced with a business rates bill of over £19m by 2019, an increase of £5.1m compared with current levels.
July 11, 2016
It was Frank Lloyd Wright who said ‘a doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines’. His words will be ringing in the ears of London planners who have decided they need to do something about the blight of Rafael Viñoly’s reviled Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street, according to an article in the Architect’s Journal. The building was last year’s Carbuncle Cup winner and has been held responsible for creating wind tunnels in the streets at its base and even frying people, shops and cars around it with reflected solar rays. Remarkably, the solution offered by planners appears to be to surround it with other tall buildings to hide it (while also creating new office space). Gwyn Richards, head of design for London, told the AJ: ‘One issue that has been brought to our attention is whether it would be preferable to have the Walkie Talkie effectively moved into the cluster so that it is less assertive. We are hearing from stakeholders saying that it would benefit the cluster to bring it into a tightly knitted group.’
June 29, 2016
Whatever your opinions on Brexit, there’s no doubt that it has created a range of frequently turbulent knock on effects in the workplace, commercial property, design and architecture sectors. We’ve shared some of the latest views on the next page to go with the initial reactions delivered by a still shell-shocked world that we published last Friday. One thing seems pretty clear is that for most firms, including those in the commercial property sector, there is no rush to judgement and most are prepared to continue business as usual while so much remains undecided. For the same reasons, the FT is reporting that some developers are putting projects on ice until they have more certainty and a report from researchers Green Street suggests that the eventual decision to leave the EU will result in a substantial fall in real estate values. Meanwhile, CIBSE is the latest organisation to calm fears about the impact of the UK leaving the EU.
June 23, 2016
As we reported last week, the success of the tech and media sector in London is driving the Capital’s offices market. Now new research has shown that demand for professionals in London’s creative occupations remains high, with over a third of jobs in the sector found within the UK’s main creative hub. The latest Professional Recruitment Trends report from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) based on data provided by Burning Glass, claims that 33.5 percent of all creative occupation postings were found in Greater London. The South East ranks second with 16.1 percent of creative roles followed by the West Midlands in third with an 8.1 percent share of total job postings. The list of ‘in demand’ skills for creative roles is mostly dominated by coding and programming languages. However the report suggests that the skills in the highest demand, excluding those specific to IT based roles, are communication, creativity and writing.