May 3, 2016
A new report from techUK and Citrix claims that the UK’s housing crisis is exacerbated by the majority of workers (59 percent) working on the basis that there is greater potential for securing employment by living and working in large cities. The Housing Crisis: a Digital Solution (download) is based on data from YouGov research into the expectations of 1,243 UK knowledge workers with the potential to enjoy remote working. The report claims that the burden that location-dependent work places on large cities could be significantly reduced by allowing workers to work remotely, as over half of British workers (54 per cent) stated they would be likely to relocate to a rural area if they could still perform their role to the same level. However, while many workers would relocate if they could, connectivity, transport and corporate culture were all cited as challenges to achieving this especially when 48 per cent of rural premises don’t have access to high-speed broadband internet.
April 28, 2016
The high costs associated with accommodating staff in London will lead to a trend over the next decade of office occupiers moving away from the capital to the major cities around the UK. This is according to the 2016 edition of property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton’s annual Office Market Report, which highlights the significant and growing difference in premises, staff and housing costs between Central London and the UK’s other key cities. For cities such as Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham, staff and premises costs (including rent, business rates, day-to-day running costs etc) for a new-build office collectively amount to just over £50,000 per workstation. Measured on the same basis, a workstation in London’s Midtown area carries an annual cost of well over £80,000. In practice, this means that the overall cost of occupying a new-build office in a location such as Bristol for 500 staff stands at £27m per annum; in Midtown, the total cost would be over £13m higher each year.
April 26, 2016
The World Green Building Council (WGBC) – a network of national green building councils aimed at influencing the green building marketplace – has announced that its Europe Regional Network has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help drive sustainable property development with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The EBRD works to support the development of the private sector across Europe, the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia, and the provision of modern real estate infrastructure is essential to support economic expansion and diversification in these regions. The new agreement provides a framework to cooperate on a number of areas of sustainable building practices, including promoting best industry standards and practices for energy and resource efficiency, climate resilience and building sustainability; promoting innovative zero-waste design, green urban planning and low carbon emissions; engaging in policy dialogue; and mobilisation of financial resources.
April 25, 2016
A new report from WSP and Farrells claims to identify exactly how the advent of autonomous vehicles will have a significant impact on the real estate sector worldwide. It suggests that changes in the way cars are owned and used will free up large tracts of potentially valuable property for other uses. Although the report confirms that driverless cars may increase the amount of people able to use cars for transport, including those currently unable or unwilling to drive, the amount of parking necessary to accommodate them may shrink significantly as shared ownership becomes a norm and road design changes to meet the needs of autonomous vehicles. The end result will be significant changes in the way urban space is planned and developed with a potential increase in the amount of land available for development by up to a fifth. IN the UK this will equate to hundreds of millions of pounds of added value for major city centres.
April 15, 2016
London has reached the highest level of commercial construction since 2008, with activity totalling £7.4 billion. According to JLL and Glenigan’s latest UK Commercial Construction Index the level of speculative office development under construction in Central London totalled 8.3 million sq ft at the end of Q1 2016, well ahead of the long term average (5 million sq ft) indicating that developers are continuing to respond to London’s burgeoning requirements for new office floor space. In the West End office market alone, construction started speculatively on nine schemes in the first quarter of this year totalling 596,997 sq ft; the highest level of commencements since the end of 2014. The largest starts were at Brunel, W2 at 241,000 sq ft, which is scheduled to complete in 2019 and The Foundry, W8, a refurbishment planned to complete by the end of this year totalling 110,000 sq ft.
April 14, 2016
Londoners are less likely to work flexibly than the rest of the UK, despite having much longer commuting times. This is according to the results of new research by the CIPD which found that many Londoners are travelling for the equivalent of at least one full working day in a ‘typical’ week. They spend an average of 47 minutes travelling to work each way compared to the national average of 31 minutes, and their average travel to work time increases to 56 minutes each way, if you consider a combination of both employees who live in London and those that commute into the capital from outside the M25. The data also reveals that flexible workers in London are more satisfied with their jobs, feel under less pressure and have better work-life balance than those who don’t work flexibly. In its policy programme, Opportunity through work: A manifesto for London, the CIPD is calling for a campaign to increase the uptake of flexible working in the Capital.
April 12, 2016
Londoners may reportedly be growing concerned over the proliferation of tall buildings, but what if they were constructed in wood, rather than steel and concrete? This is the possibility raised by researchers from Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture, who are working with PLP Architecture and engineers Smith and Wallwork, on the development of tall timber buildings in central London. The use of timber is an area of emerging interest for its potential benefits; the most obvious being that it is a renewable resource. Researchers are also investigating other potential benefits, such as reduced costs and improved construction timescales, increased fire resistance, and significant reduction in the overall weight of buildings. Mayor of London Boris Johnson has now been presented with conceptual plans for an 80-storey, 300m high mixed use wooden building integrated within the Barbican.
April 8, 2016
You may recall a couple of news stories from January that sparked a fleeting debate about the way technology allows firms to pry into where we are and what we are doing. The first concerned the installation of under-desk sensors at the offices of The Daily Telegraph, the second a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights concerning the rights of employers to monitor the social media activities of staff. Our take on these stories was that neither was quite as it was reported, but maybe there’s more to concern us in a claim from an advocacy group called Krowdthink that Wi-Fi and mobile networks in the UK routinely track our location and sell data to marketing firms and other third parties. The organisation has initiated a new campaign called Opt me out of Location to highlight what it considers the privacy implications of a situation in which 93 percent of mobile phone users in the UK have their location monitored, usually without their knowledge.
April 6, 2016
A new poll from Historic England claims that nearly half of Londoners (48 percent) think the now 430 tall buildings planned for the capital will have a negative impact on the skyline, compared to the 34 percent who think they will have a positive impact. The study also claims that more than half do not know how to make their voice heard. The figures were released as Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, Sir Laurie Magnus, Chairman of Historic England and architect Sir Terry Farrell wrote an open letter calling for a clearer strategy on tall buildings for London. When asked which planning applications they would like to be consulted on, 60 percent believed people across the city should have a say if a tall building is proposed in a historically important place. But currently it is usually only those in surrounding areas who are consulted on proposals for buildings that may be so tall they affect views and settings for miles around.
March 31, 2016
Despite the challenging cost of real estate and general commercial life in Hong Kong, startup activity in the city has seen exponential growth in the last few years, fuelled in part by new and innovative approaches to occupying workspace. The conventional Hong Kong office market is, famously, the most expensive of its kind – making it challenging for small and medium sized businesses to enter the market via this form of space. Despite this, the region’s startup scene is booming. According to an InvestHK survey, over 1500 startups bloomed in Hong Kong in 2015, which is a 46 percent increase compared to the previous year. And those numbers are likely to keep growing. So the question is, how do cash-strapped entrepreneurs, startups and other businesses manage to establish a base in this thriving city, despite these challenges, and what lessons does Hong Kong’s experience have for the rest of the world?
March 22, 2016
Approximately 625,000 sq ft (58,063 sq m) of office space in Manchester is set to be refurbished over the next two years as the market responds to continuing demand. According to Savills, Grade B has accounted for an average of 62 percent of the city’s annual take up over the last 10 years, and with Grade A supplies running low the proportion could be even higher in 2016. Despite growing demand for Grade A office space in Manchester over the last three years, annual take up has consistently been under pinned by larger Grade B occupiers seeking to balance high quality offices with value for money. Savills also reports that the TMT sector has taken more Grade B space in Manchester than any other sector over the last five years, with deals totalling 710,889 sq ft (66,042 sq m); a significant increase on the 294,631 sq ft (27,371 sq m) of secondary space let to TMT occupiers in the previous five years.
March 16, 2016
Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive office location, followed by London, Beijing and New York.This is according to JLL’s Premium Office Rent Tracker, which compares like-for-like occupation costs across 24 cities around the world. This ranks Established World Cities such as New York and London, Emerging World Cities like Shanghai, Dubai and Mumbai, and New World Cities such as San Francisco, Boston and Toronto. The latest research shows that six of the top ten most expensive cities for office rentals are in Asia; with Hong Kong the world’s costliest office rental market on a net basis as well as including added costs such as service charges and property tax. The tracker found continued demand prime office space, despite a rise in economic uncertainty; while across the global cities, the technology, media and telecommunications sectors are moving into premium office space – previously dominated by the finance and professional services sector.
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