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Recession halts era of iconic buildings

Wave goodbye to iconic buildings and say hello to a more austere era of architecture, in which retrofitting of existing buildings is the main income stream and efficiencies have to be found said a report released this week called “Thriving in the Downturn: a Practical Guide for Architects and Engineers”

The report was commissioned byproject-focused businesses software provider Deltek to provide an insight into the effect the recession is having on the construction design sector by surveying engineers and architects.

The report said:

“The A&E industries are in survival mode, but must soon begin to re-think their game. With major capital projects either frozen or under threat, the industry is likely to rely in the short and medium term on ‘churn’ type projects and retro-fitting of existing real estate stock, particularly in the commercial sector. Driving efficiencies into buildings is now a key professional and creative challenge.

In stark contrast to the recent boom, architects and engineers must now prepare to reduce the cost of their work, while delivering value to the client and outperforming the competition. Norms must be challenged, innovations are key and more economic systems of construction must be uncovered.”

The report outlines five principles that architectural and engineering practices can develop to cope with the new business models that are likely to emerge post recession.

1. Increase the efficiency and usability of space - Space utilisation must be maximised in order to prevent the waste of heating and lighting unused space.

2. Support and drive new ways of working - Where today architects and engineers have expertise in design and construction, they must now incorporate expertise in communications, technology and community.

3. Develop buildings which attract talent - When the recovery begins, and even during the recession, employees are looking beyond remuneration and to feel good at work. Corporate real estate can be developed which supports all of these goals.

4. Innovate with sustainability measures that harness the latest technologies - Commercial buildings, accounting for 20% of all carbon emissions, are prime targets for carbon reduction. Efficiencies can also be found in new build construction processes and low cost technology solutions for existing real estate.

5. Re-invent client communication - identified in the report as a major weakness, communication with clients needs to be improved

The report can be read in full on http://www.thrivinginthedownturn.co.uk/

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