Property and Construction
March 31, 2017
While talent continues to reign supreme on the list of top concerns for US companies a growing number of respondents to CBRE’s annual Americas Occupier Survey cited economic uncertainty as a top challenge, up from 36 percent in 2016 to 52 percent. As a result, 87 percent of corporate occupiers report that they are managing to this uncertainty by disposing of surplus space and/or implementing more efficient workplace designs to prepare their portfolios for the future. Only 26 percent of respondents expect to expand their portfolios over the next two years, down from 38 percent in the 2016 survey. Approximately one-half of the 2017 survey’s respondents indicated that the size of their portfolios would remain stable with 2016 levels. However, while uncertainty is driving many real estate decisions, creating a workplace experience focused on talent remains top of mind for the majority of occupiers surveyed.
March 28, 2017
The number of new leases taken up by the largest law firms in London fell by more than 50 percent last year, claims a new report from CBRE. The study of the 100 largest firms in the capital found that the firms are rethinking their real estate strategy in the light of new developments in flexible working, technology and the result of the Brexit referendum. According to the report, the total space taken through new leases in 2016 was just under 500,000 sq ft – 55 percent down on 2015 and 36 percent below the 10-year average. The report found that no law firms had signed deals for more than 90,000 sq ft last year. The largest deal of 2016 was CMS’ leasing of 84,199 sq ft at Cannon Place ahead of its merger with Nabarro and Olswang, with lawyers from the three firms set to consolidate into one building.
March 28, 2017
Cannes-based international real estate fair MIPIM has always been a magnet for cities, determined to extoll their virtues to investors, developers and occupiers, but this year the UK was in charm overdrive. Buoyed no doubt in part by the presence of the UK government’s Department of International Trade (DIT), waving its ‘open for business’ flag for UK PLC, many of the towns and cities that would normally have ploughed their own furrow, instead came together to leverage critical mass. So Bradford and Leeds combined, conurbations across the central belt conjoined on a Midlands pavilion, and so on. Whether it was panic or confidence, the net result was an unusually prominent UK presence, up a quarter on last year. Of course the UK is just one nationality among the 24,200 real estate and city professionals from 100 countries who come together in Cannes every March.
March 27, 2017
RICS in collaboration with IFMA has now published the full version of Part III in its ‘Raising the Bar’ research series. The report, written by Occupiers Journal, makes a case for how facilities management makes contributes to business success and organisational effectiveness and reviews the current state of the FM sector. An Executive Summary of Raising the Bar: From Operational Excellence to Strategic Impact in FM is also available. Both versions of the review identify the key issues facing the facilities management sector and suggest ways forward for how FM can build recognition and understanding within the boardroom, among other business leaders, and with related infrastructure groups.
March 27, 2017
The Institution of Civil Engineers has published its State of the Nation 2017 report, looking at how advances in digital technology and data are transforming how infrastructure is designed, delivered and operated. The report claims that digital transformation is bringing benefits to clients and end users as well as unlocking economic growth and productivity across the UK. The report, based on interviews with 350 organisations and industry figures discusses the practical steps firms and government need to take to maintain momentum and truly harness the benefits.
March 24, 2017
A new guide for facilities management professionals working with clients on BIM construction projects has been issued by the BIFM (British Institute of Facilities Management). Employer’s Information Requirements is a practical 47-page document to support clients using BIM (Building Information Modelling) to advise clients on how to specify their exact requirements for the design and construction phase of a built asset through to its full life-time operation. The purpose of the EIR is to support both FM professionals and clients by providing a template which can be edited and amended by the client or facilities manager to meet individual requirements for the project. Its guidance follows the publication of BIFM’s Operational Readiness Guide For Facilities Managers published in April 2016. Since April 2016, construction projects commissioned by Central Government have been required to use BIM for their procurement and delivery.
March 16, 2017
BSRIA has published a new white paper to explore how issues related to Brexit will impact the UK’s built environment sector. The report highlights the ways in which the industry that supports the built environment has a major impact on the overall UK economy and plays a positive role in supporting the government’s climate change and emissions reduction objectives. According to the white paper, the sector is particularly sensitive to the uncertainties surrounding Brexit because it is technology intensive, requires a highly-skilled workforce, and is very dependent on international trade.
March 15, 2017
At the end of the 18th Century it was becoming apparent that overpopulation was something the human race would need to address for perhaps the first time. Advances in technology and the urbanisation that followed the Industrial Revolution had created a new set of challenges. These were most famously laid out in a 1798 book called An Essay on the Principle of Population, written by an English cleric called Thomas Malthus. The book helped to influence the nascent discipline of economics and informed the thinking of Charles Darwin when he wrote On The Origin of Species some sixty years later. The term Malthusian remains in use to this day when describing the central paradox laid out in the book. This paradox suggests that because population increases geometrically (doubling every 25 years by multiplication), while food production only grows arithmetically (by addition), the end result can only be depressed wages and ultimately starvation.
March 15, 2017
Cluttons has proposed that a mobile coverage rating should be added to lettable workspace criteria, because despite mobile and internet connections being the fifth essential utility for the modern environment they are often overlooked when leasing space. With the rise of dependence on SIM-based equipment, the property firm argues that workplaces should be let with a coverage rating, measuring connectivity within a property. It argues that given the fast-paced evolving nature of the sector, landlords who invest in excellent telephony infrastructure are likely to secure tenants for longer periods and potentially achieve higher rental values. The approach is being borne out by the government recognising the importance of better mobile and internet infrastructure, by making it a focal point to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by the end of 2017. This comes as no surprise given that several emerging markets are leap-frogging the adoption of technology and are quickly outpacing the UK in the sophistication of infrastructure on offer to occupiers. London is ranked near to the bottom of the internet connectivity league table when looking at Europe.
March 14, 2017
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) has published the final report from its Inclusive Growth Commission. The report sets out a series of recommendations which it claims will address the lack of an inclusive approach to the economy. In the context of Brexit, this is one of the underlying drivers of dissatisfaction with the way the UK is run by central and local government, the report claims, and hence a factor in the Brexit vote. Its forward looking proposals include a greater commitment to lifelong learning, a greater focus on place to ensure the UK’s cities and regions get a greater stake in the national economy. As well as the main report, its conclusions and proposals are discussed in a podcast.
March 14, 2017
City infrastructure plays a key role when multinationals decide where to establish locations abroad and send expatriate workers, claims a new report. Mercer’s 19th annual Quality of Living survey now includes a supplementary question on city infrastructure, as easy access to transportation, reliable electricity, and drinkable water are all important considerations when determining hardship allowances based on differences between a given assignee’s home and host locations. Western European cities hold most of the top ten places in the city infrastructure ranking, with Frankfurt and Munich jointly ranking 2nd worldwide, followed by Copenhagen (4) and Dusseldorf (5). London is in 6th place, and Hamburg and Zurich both rank 9th. However, in terms of quality of living which is ranked separately, Vienna (pictured) occupies first place for overall quality of living for the 8th year running, and despite increased political and financial volatility in Europe, many of its cities offer the world’s highest quality of living and remain attractive destinations for expanding business operations and sending expatriates on assignment. In the UK, London is favoured for its overall quality of living and for its city infrastructure.
March 13, 2017
Corporate real estate occupiers must do more to embrace flexible working and identify the sources of competitive advantage offered by their workplaces, according to the newly published Corporate Real Estate (CRE) 2017 trends report from JLL. The study highlights the key issues affecting corporate property needs and requirements this year, and offers occupiers some advice on how to deal with them, including how real estate strategy affects organisational perfomance. As well as flexible working and real estate strategy, the report also considers the consequences of automation, which it suggests will have a significant impact on the way workplaces are designed, occupied and managed within just a few years,