Introducing: Redefining Building Performance

By Alistair Allison

In our inaugural Redefining Building Performance report we explore the drivers of value and resilience for commercial property today, and in the near future. Our findings come from our hands-on experience across the development and property lifecycle, and from key decision-makers among property investors (owner, occupier and developer organisations) who outline the challenges and priorities facing them.

Buildings are at risk. They are built to last, and their reinvention comes at great costs. Still, the world changes constantly around them. In 2020 we began researching the long-term trends arising from our work, so we could help our clients address them today. Then Covid-19 happened, and many of those trends accelerated and became more focussed. On some fronts, the horizon for change jumped even closer.

Redefining Building Performance is about looking at the near future through the lens of value and resilience, establishing what will drive the commercial performance of buildings in the years to come. Our findings and suggestions focus on three key metrics for performance: health and wellbeing, sustainability and flexibility of buildings. These objectives are evident in today’s commercial property market and are influencing the decisions of our clients. However, there is a gap between ambition and action. When it comes to achieving higher standards against those goals, better measurement and collaboration serve as key facilitators for turning good strategy into tangible outcomes.

Within our report we find that each of these themes are widely recognised, but not consistently understood. Despite a sense of general familiarity, these ‘action gaps’ in our industry threaten long-term building value and resilience.

As we shine our spotlight on these issues, we consider the relationship between the investor, developer and occupier. One clear trend is that occupiers tend to lead the way, demanding higher standards of delivery from their buildings because their staff, customers or other building users demand the same of them. However, investors and developers aren’t entirely behind the curve and without their innovation, occupiers may not know how and where to push the boundaries. Within our report, you’ll see examples of leading investors and developers implementing features of these themes on their projects or within their organisations.

We work with those at the cutting edge and those which are catching up, and we are certain that our greatest industry challenges demand constant progression from both ends of the spectrum. By the nature of a changing world, there is no final or perfect outcome (or at least, not for long).

As a consultancy with roles across the property lifecycle from development to management, occupation, maintenance and through transactions, we are well-placed to see how those standards are met, and to advocate and implement more ambitious action through our services. That could include challenging developers to create more adaptable spaces, helping building owners structure their leases to reduce waste, or putting wellbeing and sustainability analysis at the heart of building transactions – and much more besides.

Discussion and collaboration is integral to our success, and the success of our clients too. I hope that as you explore the themes and findings we raise here, you’ll be in touch with any questions about how we can apply this thinking to your next project.