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 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.
June 22, 2016
UK cities have dropped down the ranking in Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey this year as Brexit fears weaken the value of the Pound, whilst the Euro stays strong against the Dollar. Although the UK’s capital remains in the top 20 costliest cities worldwide, London (17) has dropped five places, whereas Aberdeen (85) and Birmingham (96) have fallen seven and 16 places respectively. Further down the list, (119) has dropped 10 places and Belfast (134) three. The survey finds that factors including currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices, have all contributed to the cost of expatriate packages for employees on international assignments. Mercer’s survey covers 209 cities across five continents with Hong Kong ranking highest, pushing Luanda to second place. Ranking 3rd, Zurich is the most expensive European city, followed by Singapore (4) and Tokyo (5).
June 21, 2016
The continuing imbalance between the supply and demand for office space throughout London is resulting in a shift in the balance of negotiating power away from tenants, according to the latest London Office Update from Carter Jonas. Rents across Central London have, on average, risen by over 50 percent over the last five years in the West End, Midtown and South Bank office markets, and by over 30 percent in the City of London. Rent free periods have typically fallen by up to six months over the same period. In the next 18-24 months, the trend will continue to be higher rents and shorter rent free periods as availability remains low. While some occupiers may leave London altogether, others may adopt a ‘spoke and hub’ strategy, whereby back office functions relocate to peripheral, lower cost, areas while ‘client facing’ operations are retained in Central London. This prediction assumes that Britain rejects Brexit however, and there are no major economic shocks.
June 18, 2016
In this week’s Newsletter; Mark Eltringham says we must question the idea that there is one ideal form of office; and argues events such as Clerkenwell Design Week wouldn’t function unless there was some consensus on what constitutes good and bad design. The supply of flexible workspace in London outstrips conventional office space; emerging technologies will create more organic workspace; and employees thrive in a workplace that is sensitive to their needs and well-being. Women who work long hours could be damaging their health; the UK remains in the grip of a digital skills crisis; people welcome the idea of robot help and the IEA says cities can contribute to a cut in carbon emissions. You can download our Insight Briefing, produced in partnership with Connection, on the boundless office; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
June 16, 2016
The UK market for flexible workspace has grown 11 percent in just the last 12 months. The main driver of the upsurge is inevitably London, which saw the biggest increase of flexible space at 16 percent and now represents a third of the whole UK market. According to the new research by The Instant Group, traditional occupier inquiries for London grew at a lower rate (nine percent), meaning the supply of flexible workspace in London has outstripped conventional office space by some margin over the last year; a trend the report suggests that seems set to continue into the future. Double digit growth for flexible workspace was also been seen across the UK’s regions, with suburban locations seeing some of the UK’s most aggressive growth in terms of workstation rates and inquiries, despite a 12.5 percent increase in supply, as occupiers have chosen cheaper locations with good transport links over the highly competitive market in central London.
June 15, 2016
Edinburgh is the most attractive British location for commercial property investment outside of London, according to new research by law firm and real estate consultancy Morton Fraser. Research amongst investors by the law firm’s commercial real estate division ranks a list of ten British cities outside of London according to their attractiveness as investment options. Edinburgh, Bristol and Manchester are the most appealing regional locations for investors, based on an indexed score of how many more investors found them attractive propositions compared to those who did not. However, the remaining seven cities did not appeal to the majority of investors, with more rating them an unattractive investment proposition rather than an appealing one. Aberdeen is rated the least attractive location for investors, coming after its energy-dependent economy was hit by falling oil prices, leading to thousands of job losses and the contraction of the oil and gas industry.
June 15, 2016
London’s City Fringe market, the once ‘cheap’ office location of Central London has matured into a leading global tech address and, with a number of new mixed use developments underway and more planned, its success is set to continue. According to data from Savills, average Grade A rents in the area have increased by 87 percent in the last six years with the best new office space now trading at a discount of only 3.5 percent to the same quality of building in the City Core (a saving of circa. £1 per sq ft). According to Savills research, the first quarter of 2016 saw average Grade A rents in the City Fringe reach £59.42 per sq ft (compared to £61.60 per sq ft for non-tower Grade A office buildings in the City Core). This pattern is accelerated by new office developments including Derwent’s White Collar Factory and Helical Bar / Crosstree’s Bower Development, both EC1, and key deals to Adobe, BGL Group, Stripe Limited and CBS Interactive.