Property and Construction
September 16, 2013
The value of commercial real estate in the UK rose for the fourth consecutive month during August, led by increases in the average value of offices, according to a report from Investment Property Databank (IPD). The average value of offices, warehouses, retail and industrial rose by a 0.4 percent across the country. Office buildings rose by 0.6 percent during the month while total return, which combines changes in real estate values and rental income, was 0.9 percent, to reach the highest level since March 2011. The report claims the upturn is down to the wider economic upturn and persistent low interest rates which incentivise investors to acquire high income generating assets. The report also notes that investors are looking to acquire more property outside of London as the economic recovery spreads across the UK. More →
September 12, 2013
A “west-to-east” migration, focussing predominantly on Clerkenwell and the western City core, is continuing amongst media and service sector businesses seeking more affordable London rents. But according to Cluttons’ latest West End Office Market report, many firms seeking the combination of value and idiosyncratic space are set to be priced out of the current City fringe. The area between the City and West End – branded Noho by estate agents – is attracting a new wave of private equity and extraction firms, willing to pay premium rents for new or pipeline space just north of Oxford Street. Meanwhile, prime office rents in Mayfair / St James’s have broken through the £100 per sq ft ceiling once again as a handful of tenants continue to favour location over quality. More →
September 11, 2013
The latest Occupier Density Study from the British Council for Offices reveals that London and the South East of England have some of the most spacious workplaces in the UK, in spite of the fact that London has the most expensive office space on Earth. The BCO research found that the South West has the highest density at 8.6 sq. m. per workstation while London (11.3 sq. m.) and the South East (12.7 sq. m.) have lower densities than all UK regions apart from Wales (11.4 sq. m.). Yet recent research from Cushman and Wakefield has identified London as the world’s most expensive city to rent office space and a report last week from BNP Paribas revealed the large disparities in total occupancy costs between London and the rest of the UK.
September 9, 2013
£60 million to help the UK construction industry design and develop more energy efficient buildings is to be awarded by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board. The projects, which address the challenges of both new and existing buildings, are expected to leverage in an additional £60 million of industry investment and £30 million extra funding from across government and other agencies. The board has already invested £83 million of funding through the Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform, (LIBIP). It aims to help the UK construction industry deliver buildings with a much lower environmental impact by investing jointly with industry and other funders in projects to bring innovative solutions to a growing market for more environmentally friendly buildings. More →
September 6, 2013
Two landmark developments in London have been given the go ahead at the same time as the troubled plans to develop the iconic Smithfield market are once again put on ice. Google’s plans for a 924,000 sq. ft headquarters building as an anchor of the redevelopment of Kings Cross were waved through by Camden Council, while Islington Council has also granted permission for a 207,000 sq. ft scheme to develop six storeys of office space, with retail units at street level, on the corner of Cowcross Street and Farringdon Road, one of two new office developments located at the new Crossrail station.
September 5, 2013
There has been a clear and upward trend in the sustainability performance of global real estate, but despite the continued focus of EU regulators on the built environment, Europe lags behind other regions. According to the results of the GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) 2013 Report – based on sustainability data gathered from 543 property companies and funds, providing aggregate information on 49,000 properties across the globe – the real estate sector significantly reduced its environmental impact, decreasing energy consumption by nearly 5 per cent over the 2011-2012 period. Over the same period, greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 2.5 per cent, and water consumption by 1.2 per cent. More →
September 3, 2013
In Philip Kerr’s 1995 novel Gridiron, a smart building which is programmed to function as its own facilities manager goes rogue and starts bumping off its occupants in a number of interesting and spectacularly violent ways. This might sound like the perfect wish fulfilment fantasy of your average FM, but looks prescient with the news that one of the new tranche of landmark buildings in London has become its own death ray. The Walkie Talkie in Fenchurch Street has been blamed for reflecting and magnifying light from the sun, (literally) glaring at the neighbours and melting parts of a car parked in a nearby street.
September 2, 2013
A new standard is being published by BSI offering expert guidance on estimating the long term costs of owning and occupying a building. BS 8544 Guide for life-cycle costing of maintenance during the in-use phases of buildings extends the guidance already provided by the existing standard PD 156865:2008, for buildings which are already operational, allowing users of the existing guidance to develop the life-cycle plans into the operational phase. To launch the standard, BSI is running a free half-day event on Wednesday 18 September to explain what the standard’s all about and its benefits. You’ll be able to hear case studies from leading professionals who are already using the principles of the standard, as well as a panel discussion with industry experts. Click here for more information.
September 1, 2013
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published a new report calling on the Government to adopt a more streamlined and integrated approach to energy efficiency policies, including those relevant for the UK’s commercial buildings. The report also addresses a range of related benefits and obligations for companies to help them cut costs, manage risk and open up commercial opportunities. The report argues that energy efficiency has been neglected for too long, despite the fact that Government figures show a domestic industry that is growing at 4 percent a year, is worth £17.6bn in sales and supports 136,000 jobs.
August 27, 2013
The relocation by law firm Davenport Lyons from London’s Mayfair to its new offices at 6 Agar Street in the West End next month, means it is one of the last remaining West End-based law firms – most have moved out of the area due to the increasingly exorbitant costs. Davenport Lyons, which has been based in its current Old Burlington Street location for 23 years, says it remains in the area to form a “legal hub bridging the gap between the financial institutions and wealth in Mayfair, and the commercial banking sector in the city and Canary Wharf.” The new office space is also designed to deliver a semi cellular space solution, reflecting the next phase in the law firm’s evolution. More →
August 27, 2013
The interiors division at construction and support services firm Willmott Dixon has secured its largest ever contract, a project valued at around £19m to refurbish a 1960s teaching block for the University of Brighton. The work will include a complete refit of the building to create a 160,000 sq. ft. mixed use scheme in the ten-storey Cockroft building, including offices and IT facilities. The project was procured through the IESE framework and Willmott Dixon is working with a team that includes Fraser Brown MacKenna, Mott MacDonald, Curtins Consulting and Burnley Wilson. The interiors division has announced that it intends to raise its turnover to £125m within three years across a range of projects in the office, retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.
August 24, 2013
The parlous state of local authority finance in the UK is encouraging councils to behave in new ways and many are making them unpopular. From the greater use of bailiffs to attempts to increase income from local car parks, much of the current thinking on revenue generation has focussed on quick fixes as councils seek to preserve front line services. Whitehall is currently carrying out a technical consultation as it seeks to cut its funding for front line services by 21 percent over the next two years as part of the now annual debate about finding the money to do all the things Central Government expects local authorities to do. One potential solution is the sale of property according to a report that councils may be allowed to sell off buildings and reinvest the proceeds in their operations.