London Office Refurbishment – Focus on Office Refurbishment Vs New Office Building

According to Deloitte Real Estate’s latest London Office Crane Survey (a report that measures the volume of office development taking place across central London and emerging London submarkets) covering the central London office markets in the City, West End, Docklands, King’s Cross, Midtown, Paddington and Southbank, and emerging submarkets: Vauxhall-Nine Elms-Battersea, Stratford and White City, following a record Q1 2020, the construction of new London offices are down by 50% in six months. This is as a consequence of the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown which has caused many staff to work from home putting the brakes on new office build schemes. This has resulted in developers and occupiers shifting their focus to London office refurbishment.

COVID Takes Its Toll on New London Office Construction

The amount of new office space under construction in central London hit an all-time high in the six months to March 31. Construction started on more than five million sq ft of new office space. However in the period between April and 30 September just 2.6 million sq ft of new-build construction commenced, across seven schemes, between April and September.

Completion of more than half of all of the projects under construction has been delayed by at least one quarter, resulting in many of the projects not being expected to be completed until 2021.

The Crane Survey data reveals “3.3 million sq ft of office accommodation did not complete as scheduled between April and September and is still under construction. Had delayed projects completed on time, the volume under construction would have been almost a quarter lower than in our Summer 2020 survey.”

London Office Refurbishment Sees An Uptick

As a consequence of the reluctance of developers to move forward with new construction the Crane Survey reported that London office refurbishment has seen an uptick. Over two thirds of new work actually involved a substantial upgrade of existing office space over a total of 28 projects.

The survey goes onto say that “by transforming outdated buildings into COVID-safe high quality workspace, developers are looking to upgrade the resilience of their offices in a market where occupational demand is increasingly discerning. The corollary of this trend is a concern that poorer quality offices will become increasingly exposed to accelerated rates of obsolescence which will undermine their value.”

Why London Office Refurbishment Will Be Important

With the availability of existing office space rising considerably (6.5% in September, up from 4.5% at the beginning of the year) second hand office space availability has dramatically increased. It’s therefore anticipated that there will be an oversupply of poorer quality office workspace leading to a two-tier office supply market. This glut of poor quality workspace is not expected to be taken up even when the market recovers because businesses looking for office space will have their pick of better quality offices.

It’s clear that landlords, who are in the “second-hand” office market, will need to look at refurbishing their buildings and workspaces with a view to improving their existing office stock. This will need to be done to the highest standards in order to give them the best chance of attracting tenants to lease their office space. In what Deloitte terms the “flight to quality” it is “likely that the need for London office refurbishment will become more pronounced with an emphasis on “sustainable, ‘healthy’ and ‘WELL’ buildings.”

A London developer notes: “The main focus will be on tenants wishing to improve the quality of their accommodation, alongside improved layout and use.”

Are You A Landlord Looking To Refurbish Your London Offices?

Does your London office space need a refurbishment? If you are a landlord looking to carry out a refurbishment of your London offices to a COVID-19 safe standard and which will promote health and wellbeing then JBH Refurbishments can help.

A COVID-19 Safe London Office Refurbishment

Making your London office refurbishment COVID-19 safe will play an important role in London office design and refurbishment today and into the future.

JBH Refurbishments offer a COVID-19 office layout, design and tech consultation.

We carry out an assessment with a view to making your office space COVID-19 safe and secure. We’ll work with you to plan your new office design by looking at your layout and ensuring social distancing is possible through:

  • providing appropriate office furniture or booths
  • fitting safety screens or implementing plant and foliage walls that can be used as dividers
  • enabling the technology required to video conference with staff inside and outside the office
  • introducing larger spaces that can accommodate meetings, having separate breakout areas away from the main office area
  • reducing touch points using automated controls.

Ensuring a ‘Sustainable’, ‘Healthy’ and ‘WELL’ Building

There are a number of ways JBH Refurbishments can help to make your office space sustainable, healthy and well. Interestingly many of the things that you should do for sustainability overlap with health and wellbeing.

Sustainability can be achieved through:

  • choosing eco-friendly office furniture, fixtures, fittings and decor
  • using natural light as much as possible
  • energy efficient heating and ventilation and lighting (where natural light isn’t possible)
  • technology systems.

Health and wellbeing, in the context of the workspace, is more than just having a good looking office. It’s about having a working environment which enables and encourages a happy, motivated, enthusiastic and productive workforce.

This can be achieved by various methods including:

  • the use of natural materials within the office e.g. natural light as much as is possible, wood furniture and flooring, plants and foliage walls that can be used as dividers and natural fabrics like cotton – bringing the outside inside by introducing direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment which has been demonstrated to reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, whilst increasing productivity and creativity
  • building in flexibility so that office areas are easily adaptable through the use of modular desks and furniture and sliding, folding and demountable partitions or plant dividers
  • the use of colour which has been shown to have psychological, emotional, and physical effects on mood on a subconscious level and can play a major part in how we feel.

Over 30 Years in London office Refurbishments

JBH Refurbishments have 30+ years experience in London office refurbishments. To find out how we can help you refurbish your London office space to the highest standards contact us via our contact form or by calling us on 0333 207 0339.


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