After two years of unprecedented challenges faced by real estate, experts share their predictions for 2022.
My outlook for 2022 predominantly relates to the government’s expected review of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 regarding business tenancy renewals. We are most definitely not out of the woods - especially as variants of this virus continue to impact our communities, businesses and economy – and uncertainty continues to remain as we strive for a return to ‘normal’. In a post-pandemic world, leases will need to be upgraded to meet dramatic societal changes in recent years, this will comprise detailed focus on rent turnover for retail, indexes linked rents for offices, rent suspension, spacing etc. Finally, a growing yet relatively new entrant into this consideration is the need for wellbeing. Two years into the ‘roaring twenties’, we all hope our 2022 will become cleaner, leaner and greener and the real estate sector is no different. 2022 is the evolution for the creation of wellbeing spaces and places to boost mental and physical freedom and will also play a central role in raising relevant and competitive value for real estate leases.
Founding partner, Quadrant
Sustainability and protecting the environment will continue to be a priority, particularly when it comes to office developments. Central London will continue to lead the way, with companies recognising the benefits of locations that are accessible from across the capital and beyond. Retail and leisure operators will need to continue adapting their offer to accommodate changing consumer demands and priorities, and greater levels of collaboration between landlords and tenants will be key to success on both sides. With some uncertainty in the pipeline, 2022 could be another challenging year for the property sector, but those who understand the end user and have the skillsets to create best-in-class developments and solve some of the issues around buildings that are no longer fit for purpose will be able to take advantage of a widening base of opportunities and will continue to grow and thrive.
Co-founder, Beaumont Bailey
The evolution of tech in the built environment and infrastructure sector is scaling at rapid pace, and the need to adapt and stay ahead of the curve is materially influencing business plans for those operating in the space. We’ve also seen a remarkably sharp increase in the requirement for senior sustainability roles across the sector, and as the demand for talent becomes more competitive, we expect to see the repurposing of skills towards the impact fields, as individuals are increasingly driven by their pursuit of purpose. We’re seeing a huge investment in building specialist teams and hiring senior leaders to prepare for, and manage, the continued evolution of the built environment sector as it adapts to climate and technology change. We firmly expect to see this trend continuing through 2022, with those who fail to innovate being left behind.
Chair, HTA Design
I’m agog to hear the outcome of Michael Gove’s review of planning reform delayed until May 2022. He has acknowledged the potential contribution of social housing to the affordability crisis. hope this translates to public investment at scale enabling local authorities to build genuinely affordable quality homes on the model of Stirling Prize winning housing at Goldsmith Street, Norwich. At HTA Design, we are excited to hear Gove’s endorsement of the Policy Exchange Street Votes proposal. This is a development of our ‘Supurbia’ idea in which suburban home owners can collaborate to transform their neighbourhoods, with a stake in development proceeds, turning Nimbys to Yimbys. And what of levelling up? My hope is for a programme which supports local communities to invest in their own priorities as recommended by No Place Left Behind. I have never been more convinced of the need for investment to be guided by local people.
CEO & co-founder, Modulous
Inflation, labour shortages and supply chain issues are likely to remain a fact of life this year, requiring the construction industry to become more efficient and productive to mitigate delays and rising costs. With demand for homes continuing to outstrip supply, the industry and policymakers must continue to look at innovative ways to deliver at pace and scale. Modern methods of construction will be important, but truly impactful change will also require the adoption of digital technologies to streamline end-to-end processes. As climate change is now of critical concern, ESG will obviously remain high on the agenda. With the proliferation of sustainable solutions emerging, comprehensive ESG reporting will become ever more important for validation, to avoid empty-gesture greenwashing. Again, digital tools will be central to the empirical evaluation of building performance.
Principal architect, SPPARC
At last, there has been more than a growing murmur this year in our industry that time’s up on embodied carbon. Whilst it is difficult to enact the vast and challenging change to net-zero without a fundamental shift in the way we think about the embedded energy and carbon in the materials used in construction, like many others, we have proven that meaningful and immediate change is possible. As we’ve shown at our Borough Yards, Olympia and Greycoat Stores projects this year, there’s much potential in existing buildings to give existing structures a new lease of life and to consider materials with lower climatic impacts. On Shaftesbury Avenue we are entirely reimagining the concept for what a theatre should be for the 21st century within a 1930’s Grade-II listed building, making it relevant for modern theatre whilst maintaining its impressive heritage façade and reaffirming its cultural pedigree for future generations to enjoy.
The climate emergency is, by a long way, the biggest issue facing our industry, so my overriding hope for the year ahead is that wholesale progress is made in decarbonising the built environment. Sixty per cent more buildings will be needed in the world by 2050, which can be viewed as an encouraging prospect if people can start to recognise the huge opportunity that this presents to drive real change in terms of the sustainability credentials of our sector and the buildings we occupy. This change won’t happen overnight, but if the ambition can be authentically prioritised by the industry in 2022 and beyond, I am hopeful that we will be able to achieve it. I also hope that we see more decisive action to protect our planet across the board and that industry stakeholders start to show greater collaboration by sharing progress and learnings along the way – no single company can make meaningful impact on its own; it’s time to look beyond internal targets and become more ambitious, viewing the challenges ahead through a unified lens.
Principal, Penoyre & Prasad
Though public sector projects have often been sidelined in architectural practice, the pandemic has writ large the need to prioritise healthcare design. The healthcare sector has learnt that it will need to adapt for potential future crises that could lead to the surging patient numbers of the kind witnessed during the pandemic, and architects will have a key role to play in ensuring that hospitals are resilient. Given the heavy toll the pandemic has taken on wellbeing, prioritising the needs of both patients and staff in this area, such as through the introduction of green space, will be of utmost importance. Sustainability is also likely to take centre stage, which is something we’ve been focusing on through our plans for the redevelopment of Leeds General Infirmary ‘and other new hospital programme projects.
Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself…
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Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself (part forty-two)