Property and Construction
October 23, 2013
The Quadrant 3 redevelopment of offices, retail, residential, restaurant and hotel space in the Regent Street Quadrant in London has become the first in the UK to install an efficient and sustainable fuel cell that draws its power from the same technology used to provide energy to space shuttles during flights. It’s so impressed former US Vice President Al Gore he’s headquartered his sustainable investment firm, Generation Investment Management at Quadrant 3. The building’s sustainable design was an important factor in the firm’s decision to move to the scheme with Mr Gore commenting that the developer, The Crown Estate demonstrated a “sophisticated commitment to sustainability”. More →
October 22, 2013
Following the extensive enforcement action it took against construction sites in March, the latest Health and Safety Executive ‘swoop’ on refurbishment projects in September found that more than 42 percent of them failed the subsequent inspection. During the month, HSE inspectors paid unannounced visits to 2,607 construction sites where refurbishment or repair work was taking place and reported that 1,100 of them failed the safety checks. On 644 of the sites, practices were deemed so poor that enforcement action was taken to protect workers. More seriously, 539 prohibition notices were served to put an immediate end to dangerous activities and inspectors issued 414 improvement notices requiring standards to improve.
October 21, 2013
One Angel Square in Manchester has been awarded Project of the Year in the RICS Awards that celebrate the built and natural environment. More than 600 building projects entered the awards which also saw category awards presented for building conservation, community benefit, design and innovation, and regeneration. The overall winning project – a £100 million new headquarters for The Co-operative Group – is the largest commercial office building in Manchester and has also achieved the highest scoring BREEAM ‘outstanding’ office rating in the country, setting a new national benchmark in sustainable design in the commercial sector. RICS judges said every aspect of the building has been constructed with sustainability at heart. More →
October 18, 2013
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has become the first global professional body to introduce the first recognisable building information modelling (BIM) standard. Employers and clients are struggling to find industry accepted criteria on which to base knowledge of practitioners’ BIM skills, while BIM competent professionals lack a single indicator that will demonstrate their abilities to the sector. This has resulted in different assessment methods being used across the industry. RICS’ BIM Manager Certification aims to assure contractors, consultants and investors that the professionals and firms delivering construction and infrastructure projects have the relevant knowledge, experience and skills to implement BIM at an industry tested and approved level. More →
October 16, 2013
Leeds City Council has signed a new 25 year lease on its headquarters building Merrion House as part of a programme aimed at consolidating its property portfolio and housing the majority of its staff under one roof. The council claims the long term deal will save it £15 million over the course of the lease following work on a complete office refurbishment and a consolidation of its estate in the city centre. The refurb includes the addition of a new 50,000 sq ft six-storey extension bringing the total space to around 170,000 sq ft. The revamped HQ will be home to around 1,900 staff including 700 who will move from 13 other buildings around the city. The new agreements is thought to be the largest office pre-let in Leeds for more than 20 years.
October 15, 2013
A policy for all new non domestic buildings to be zero carbon from 2019 was introduced by the Labour government in 2008. Although the Coalition Government recommitted to this target, announcing in July it would strengthen energy efficiency standards for new non-domestic buildings from April 2014, they had yet to come up with a definition of zero carbon for non-domestic buildings. The UK Green Building Council, whose membership includes the architects, developers, contractors, product manufacturers and others who will be tasked with delivering zero carbon buildings from 2019, is therefore launching a new Task Group to help define and build support for a definition of zero carbon for non-domestic buildings that works for industry. More →
October 15, 2013
The latest report from property consultancy Savill’s looking at trends in the UK’s commercial property market paints a now very familiar picture of an increasingly healthy market driven by a number of sectors in general and the tech and media industries in particular, but also of growing confidence outside of London. It also highlights a marked shift away from public sector to private sector employment. Although the upsurge in demand is putting pressure on the supply of appropriate office space in certain parts of the country, a new report published today by KPMG also highlights the growing order books of UK construction firms and an increase in confidence amongst builders.
October 15, 2013
London, Dublin, Barcelona, Boston and Bristol have something in common – they’re smart cities that use intelligent technology to monitor their urban infrastructure. The data is used in a variety of ways; to save money, minimise waste, measure water usage and manage transport routes. Solutions range from utilising IBM’s ‘Big Data’ to analyse traffic congestion on Dublin’s public transport network, to monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from Boston’s buildings. The smart cities industry has been valued at more than $400 billion globally by 2020, with the UK expected to gain a 10 per cent share ($40 billion). Now the government has announced it is to set up a new Smart Cities Forum, chaired by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts and Cities Minister Greg Clark, with representatives from cities, business, and scientists. More →
October 11, 2013
Increasing occupier confidence is leading to the highest take up of regional office space for five years. According to property consultants GVA’s latest quarterly review of the “big nine” regional office occupier markets, total take-up in the third quarter of 2013 was 7 per cent above the five-year quarterly average at 1,737,000 sq ft. Particularly encouraging, say the analysts, has been a recovery in markets that have been subdued for some years. Carl Potter, GVA’S National Head of Offices commented: “In general many are now gearing up for the next phase of activity, although there still remains a real prospect that a lack of appetite for new speculative development will lead in some markets very quickly to a shortage in Grade A supply.” More →
October 9, 2013
A new survey from the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) claims that the majority of professionals in the UK construction industry believe that corruption in the sector is commonplace. The survey, which can be downloaded in full here, found that over a third (35 percent) had personally been offered a bribe or some other form of inducement at some point in their career, while nearly two-thirds (65 percent) believed the offer of gifts and corporate hospitality to win contracts is commonplace. A similar proportion (38 percent) of respondents had come across anti-competitive practices on at least one occasion, and of those, 29 percent had experienced cartel activity in the year running up to the survey.
October 9, 2013
A 1.4 million sq ft mixed used development scheme next to Blackfriars Bridge at London’s South Bank has been granted approval by Southwark Council’s planning committee. Nine buildings, including a 48 storey tower are being planned to include 450,000 sq ft of office space, which it is promised, will almost double the number of permanent jobs in the area to over 3,700. The scheme, which also comprises 25,000 sq ft of retail space, nearly 500 residential apartments and the creation of 35,000 sq ft of new pubic open spaces, is being delivered by asset management firm Carlyle. Two existing buildings on the site, which were acquired by Carlyle along with four other nearby buildings for £671m in 2010, will be demolished according to the designs drawn up by PLP Architecture. More →
October 4, 2013
According to a new report from property consultancy Colliers International, the West End of London has enjoyed a record £2.8bn of investment in the third quarter of 2013. Office occupancy increased by over 1m sq ft. in a market driven by activity in the tech and media sectors which accounted for 40 percent of the market. Also prominent are several major deals including the purchase of Paddington Central by British Land. Occupation of grade A office space reached more than 1.1m sq ft across central London. The figures mark the highest level of activity since the start of the downturn and 2013 activity is now only 1 percent lower than that for the whole of 2012.