Oct 16 2012

Further win for CONJECT highlights growth in fit-out sector

Leading office design and fit-out company IOR Group has been appointed by Daiwa Capital Markets for the refurbishment of its 82,000 sq. ft. King William Street headquarters in central London. IOR Group will once again be using conject Project Control on this scheme following IOR’s successful delivery of the award-winning 90,000 sq. ft. fit-out of Gazprom’s M&T London HQ (which was also supported by conject Project Control).

Throughout 2012 our Project Control platform has been deployed to underpin a growing number of high-value and high specification fit-out and refurbishment projects. Initially we noticed an increase in demand from our enterprise customers such as COMO and ISG PLC and new customers such as specialist fit-out firm BW Interiors.

However, what has been especially significant is how many asset owner/actual clients have got in touch this year, showing an increasingly proactive approach to unlocking some of the economic, environmental and sustainable benefits which can be achieved from the refurbishment of office space. Predominantly such clients are leading financial institutions and major international firms with global real estate assets who in addition to the political and regulatory aspects, focus on three key factors when considering their new build or refurbishment options:

Economic– With a lack of development finance, getting a high spec office back in the market via a re-fit is both quick and appealing to owners looking to sell. By adapting and responding to changing working practices, offices that benefit from upgraded IT and collaborative hot-desk open-planning can economically benefit from improved productivity. Also, when considering new-build cost factors such as demolition, planning and legal, construction and potential delays, it’s increasingly commercially viable, especially in the current financial climate, to consider refurbishment over new-build.

Environmental – One of the principle advantages of a refurbishment is that by reusing in-situ structural elements, there is likely to be a dramatic reduction of both building materials and associated services. By reusing structures a significant decrease in embodied energy can be achieved. Also, environment assessment schemes such as BREAAM award credits when at least 80% of the existing primary structure (load-bearing walls, columns, structural floors) is reused without significant alteration.

Sustainable – At the design stage, the heating, lighting, cooling and waste management systems can be appraised and explored via energy and whole life costing, to ensure greater efficiency and a reduction of the premises’ carbon footprint. If the orientation and positioning of the building is assessed, chances are that a reduction of the mechanical services requirement can be attained through better use of natural light and ventilation.  Effective project management and the selection of contractors with experience in sustainable refurbishment (such as ISG PLC, COMO, IOR Group, BW Interiors who all use conject Project Control to support sustainable practices) along with educating the property’s occupants about the sustainable features of the building will help to improve the process.

The increase of activity in the fit-out sector isn’t restricted to the “high-end” of the market. We’ve also seen a rise in demand from  clients who require a solution for less complex, smaller, fast-track projects. This specification typically stipulates that the platform should be low-cost, easy-to-use, quick to deploy and robustly effective. Subsequently conject Project Control now includes a straight forward and light solution to meet such requirements.

Following the downturn in construction of new-build offices and outlets, when the occupier market picks up again, the demand for grade-A office and retail premises is set to dramatically rise. It seems that forward-thinking clients are taking steps to adapt to such circumstances and are set to reap the short- and long-term benefits gained from refurbishing their built assets.

If you’d like to find out more about conject Project Control, please visit our website: www.conject.com/uk

Phone me: 01483 712620, email me: michael.bull@conject.com or tweet me: twitter.com/conject

About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

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