It’s a well-worn business principle that adversity brings opportunity. Today’s challenging economic period will undoubtedly give rise to winners as well as losers across the property sector.

Lem Bingley

Lem Bingley, editor

What separates success from failure may sometimes be down to good or bad luck, but there can also be rewards for those individuals and companies best able to visualise the shape of the future – to understand how a period of struggle will influence the new balance of supply and demand.

Nowhere is this potential writ larger than in Ukraine. This week, we provide two perspectives on the country that is still fighting to defend its land, citizens and sovereignty from Russian aggression.

It remains impossible to know when this ill-conceived war might end, but both of our reports make it clear that many, many Ukrainians foresee a brighter future for their country – and that somehow it is still home to a functioning property industry.

Rebuilding the battered nation in the future will be a titanic task but one that will surely bring opportunities of enormous scale. Weapons and ammunition are not the only foreign assistance that Ukraine would gladly welcome, if our interview with Sergii Pylypenko, chief executive of Ukrainian developer Kovalska Group, is any guide.

On a much smaller scale and closer to home, it came as a surprise to see BRE Group begin the process of disentangling itself from NABERS UK this week. BRE is well known as the custodian of BREEAM, one of the most widespread and successful benchmarks for building sustainability. Over the past couple of years it has also overseen the introduction of NABERS UK, a localised version of an antipodean standard for sustainable offices.

When NABERS first came to the UK, BRE made a sensible host because BREEAM and NABERS complemented each other. The former focused on the fabric of the building, and the latter on efficiency in use. But it is no secret that the upcoming version 7 of BREEAM aims to adopt a whole-life view, from the design and build through to occupation and operation.

It is a shame that the two standards are parting company at a moment when consistency is needed more than ever. Division among sustainability bodies may add confusion just as developers begin addressing the scale of the challenge.

The upcoming UK Net Zero Buildings Standard – a far-sighted attempt to align the thoughts of nine major trade bodies and other backers behind one consistent definition of what a net zero building should achieve – is exactly the kind of clarity required.

I hope, in time, we can see renewed alignment or even merging among current sustainability standards, including BREEAM, NABERS, the EU-backed Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM) system and the creaky Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) approach.

While a range of overlapping options may bring opportunities to address challenges in different ways, and there is an argument that competing standards can drive innovation, sometimes a bit of boring stability is what the world needs more than anything.