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WeWork remains 'very committed to London'

WeWork’s EMEA director of development Robby Shah has reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the UK ahead of Brexit.

Speaking at the Construction News Summit, Mr Shah said the firm was continuing to look for opportunities to expand on the 11 new developments already in its pipeline.

“Brexit is something we’re looking very keenly at,” he said.

“But at the same time there’s a major push for our business to stay in the UK and actually keep driving towards that growth.

“We are very committed to London. Our numbers show why London remains very, very important to us.”

The WeWork development boss revealed that the firm’s global occupancy rate stood at 84 per cent, but that in London this figure was “in the 90s”. 

Commenting on its work with contractors, Mr Shah said the shared office provider continued to look at ways in which it could drive the industry forward in terms of materials and processes.

“Internally we look at many different ways to keep pushing the industry to new levels, from scanning to lasers,” he said.

“It’s finding the right partners that recognise that the industry is where it is and [can] innovate and push the boundaries.”

Part of this involved an emphasis on modular construction, Mr Shah said.

“We look for modular as much as possible and pushing ways that we can do that,” he said.

“Materials are one thing we are always looking at with a very keen eye to say, ‘Today we are using this, but tomorrow what do we want to use? In five years what do we want to use?’”

Mr Shah said the scale at which the firm worked enabled it to encourage wider adoption of certain materials or technologies.

“Rather than buying it for one space, we are buying it for our fleet and that’s why we are able to have those conversations with suppliers and push those boundaries,” he said.

The WeWork development chief said the business met with its construction partners on a daily basis.

“We sit down with our partners daily and say these are the projects that we can commit, these are volumes we can commit,” he said.

“So we can really tailor these companies to be suited to know they need to deliver x amount of space.

“They can be ready for it and have that commitment from WeWork to deliver it.”

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