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Change the economics to preserve tall buildings, say experts

A change of perceived economics of tall buildings could preserve their future, industry experts said today.

In a debate on the future of tall buildings hosted by consultant Buro Happold between structures professionals on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, experts said that the high construction costs and the decline in rental and capital values should prompt a change of approach.

One solution could be to rather than focus on a building’s longevity to instead consider buildings as having a maximum lifespan of 40 years and ensure the building is “recyclable”, said former Land Securities commercial property director Richard Linnell.

Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment chairman Paul Finch said that there was evidence of construction quality dipping on such projects when an developer investor is keen to get its money out too quickly. The speakers said that including residential development was the best means of securing the longevity of tall buildings because such property has retained its value better than office space alone.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Are they really advocating that tall buildings should be demolished after only 40 years? Given that tall buildings use more material and resources than low rise, they should be designed to be more flexible in their use so that the building itself can be reused and not recycled. Recycling is better than using raw materials but still uses more energy than reuse.

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