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Future proofing UK business

As signs emerged this week that the US economy may be levelling out, UK construction firms should prepare for the return to market of American corporations. By Sandy Townsend

As the formal concept of urban regeneration within the UK reaches its 30th anniversary, construction firms are under increased pressure to review their development pipeline and to commit to sustainable building.

Requirements from US corporations for UK headquarters may not emerge for another few years but construction firms must plan now for the demands of future occupiers. And sustainably will certainly be on their agenda.

Developers need to not just respond to what occupiers want now but anticipate what occupiers will be looking for in five years time.

According to leading south-east developer, Miff Chichester, whose company St Congar is building a town centre scheme in the M4 corridor in Windsor, this means that developers must look to exceed existing BREAM requirements.

The extensive lead-in times of large development schemes present uniquely difficult questions to construction businesses. Potable water, thermo heating, green open space, enhanced biodiversity, recycling, reuse of existing materials and green roofs are now the order of the day for developers but they must also predict what will be ‘must have’ in the future.

Mr Chichester argues that due to the speed of advancements in sustainable technologies, developers who don’t focus on providing environmental solutions for the corporates of the future risk jeopardising the success of their investments.

The decision needs to be made now to plan for the future.

Sandy Townsend is head of corporate marketing and PR at Lambert Smith Hampton

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