UK construction and property
- Demolition | New planning guidance in the City of London encourages developers to carry out a detailed review of the carbon impact of a development as part of the Pre-App process. The guidance pushes for detailed consideration of retaining existing structures instead of demolition. A similar approach is being factored into the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
- MEES deadline | A study by Irwin Mitchell reveals that only a third of office occupiers know how energy efficient their buildings are, and 21% are concerned that the cost of upgrading to a MEES compliant level will be passed on through the service charge. However, 84% of respondents would pay higher rent for an environmentally-friendly space.
- Shortage Occupations | This week the Migration Advisory Committee will publish its report recommending that bricklayers, roofers, carpenters, plasterers and people working in the construction trade generally should be among those added to the Shortage Occupation List. This brings a lower salary threshold and reduced visa fees, but still requires an employer to sponsor the application.
- Cold homes | According to the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the NHS spends £540m a year treating people from “excessively cold homes” (EPC F or G), of which there are 500,000 owner-occupied, 200,000 privately rented, and 20,000 social housing.
- Infrastructure | Parts of HS2 and the Lower Thames Crossing have been delayed, with high inflation to blame. Transport Secretary Mark Harper stated, “Refocusing our efforts will allow us to double down on delivering the rest of our capital programme”. Over £800m has already been spent planning the Lower Thames Crossing, and it is expected to be delayed (or “rephased”) by two years.
- Investment | According to BNP, £41bn of international investment is targetting central London offices and retail. Investors are looking for ultra-prime ESG assets for long-term buyers and tenants. Deals in Q1 2023 are likely to show a 182% increase from Q4 2022 and at a more normal level.
- Plant sales in January were 10% higher by unit when compared to a year earlier.
- Carbon measuring | The RICS is to review how whole-life carbon emissions should be calculated in the built environment sector. The new edition of the RICS methodology will cover all built assets and infrastructure.