The events of the past year have had a profound impact on the way we live and work and it is rewriting what we expect from property and how we use it.
With many businesses signalling that their employees will be less tied to single locations in future, and with people’s increasing comfort with technology for work, shopping and entertainment, many households are re-evaluating their priorities.
As such, more people are expected to move away from cities and towards blended neighbourhoods or ‘10-minute towns’, which will no doubt present new trends and challenges for property professionals over the next few years.
These changes are creating an exciting time for the sector in terms of emerging software. Estate agents have always been quick to use digital. Born out of a rapidly changing marketplace, they have welcomed tech that can drive sales – be it the early use of the web or highly visual ‘Instagram profiles’ to sell property, or even more recently VR home tours.
Yet large parts of the built environment are not yet digitally connected and still cling to more traditional methods of working. For example, major construction projects still receive the building information ‘as specified’ not ‘as built’. This can provoke uncertainty as to which products have been put into the build, to what standard and, importantly, what level of maintenance is needed – details that are vital for the safe and successful use of a building.
Now, technology is stepping in to breach the gap, and for those working with asset management, maintenance or project teams, expect to see more digital tools, particularly those that resolve issues such as snagging, task management and building inspections.
This tech will also help with the broader legislative environment that, in the wake of Grenfell, has created an increased desire for robust digital record-keeping throughout a building’s lifecycle. With the ‘golden thread’ of information – that is, detailed records of how a building is designed, built and maintained – set to become standard practice, software that can help support this approach will become invaluable.
Ibrahim Imam is co-founder and co-chief executive of PlanRadar