As we glance across any city skyline, there is an unfamiliar site: cranes. It’s a wonderful sign that shows the economy is improving and that people are finally ready to invest in the future of their cities.
However, with the construction industry generating around 120m tonnes of waste every year, this activity is creating a legacy of environmental challenges for years to come, as well as new buildings.
At Bruntwood, we are passionate about recycling buildings. Not only does it make economic sense but it’s an environmentally friendly way of doing business. Whether it is a 1980s office block or a grade II-listed building, we look at it as an opportunity to develop and refurbish it.
Take Citylabs, Manchester’s former Royal Eye Hospital, for example. We kept the original frontage of the building and made it fit for purpose by adding to it. If we hadn’t salvaged the site, the likelihood is that someone else would have demolished it to make way for something new.
Liverpool is a prime example of how this ethos is working for us. The city is full of hidden gems and we find these and strip them back - from original parquet flooring to an old bricked-up fireplace.
There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach when fitting out and refurbishing office space - there needs to be flexibility and, more importantly, innovation.
As the creative, digital and media service sector thrives, with it comes an increased demand for offices with a difference.
This demand has re-ignited the need to think like an SME. We create affordable, sustainable workspaces using the foundations of the existing building.
Cladding walls, exposing original wooden floors or stripping out the suspended ceilings are all ways of providing unique office space without the hefty price tag or impact to the environment.
It isn’t simply about making profit, it’s about unearthing the history of a building and becoming part of the fabric within the cities we work. Our goal is to lead the way and encourage people to take the same approach.
Colin Sinclair is director of property marketing at Bruntwood