As the UK government hints at releasing lockdown restrictions for the foreseeable future, the pent-up demand from investors may start an acceleration in the commercial property market. Obvious considerations such as quality of office space and changing business letting requirements are new design constraints to contend with.
Whilst the property market gains traction, the UK sustainability targets towards the long term strategy of net zero by 2050 means that buildings will require reinvention and this is an opportunity for the sector to build green.
Many of London’s existing office buildings are at an age where façade materials such as gaskets, sealants and insulated glass units need replacement. Where this is the case, it is an opportunity for clients to consider the option of reinvention and the condition of the building’s façade is a key factor to be taken into account when assessing the viability of the project. Decision makers need to balance the market demand to build green with the desired project outcome. Whether or not to reinvent will come down to a decision on the re-use and re-purposing of the existing building, rather than demolishing and starting afresh.
With regards to the building façade, our own experience has shown that whilst each element of the façade has a finite life span, there are many options ranging from light touch repair to complete replacement. Of course, where replacement is necessary this also provides an opportunity to reshape and redesign, all of which can be used in a cost-effective and sustainable new life of the building.
As we go into the second half of 2021, we anticipate that clients will decide that now is the time to review viable options. We expect to see many new projects which aim to meet the U.K.'s sustainability objectives, provide capital return to investors and upgrade the building fabric of the existing stock. This is all possible with good project concept planning, management and design.