Property development is a challenging, risky and yet potentially highly rewarding business. The seduction of quick returns presented by the multitude of television shows, website articles and property training academies attracts many. But does the short term thinking attached to quick wins consider the long term potential of a more sustainable approach to property design and build?
Could developers be missing out on even greater margins by chasing short term rewards over more strategic long term thinking? As Architects, we believe there is real scope for developers to gain from taking a longer-term view with building design and sustainability.
Read on as I explore why we believe, as a property developer, you should create a long-term business plan built around sustainability and sustainable design thinking.
The mistake of short-term thinking
If you are in the property development business, it is likely you will prioritise cash flow and profits right now, and who could blame you (see earlier note about this being a risky business). It would seem a no brainer to remove seemingly unnecessary costs associated with low carbon, low energy buildings, such as thicker insulation, solar PVs, ground source heat pumps, or anything beyond only meeting 'Building Regs'.
When the market is slow or depressed by highly uncertain socio-economic conditions, reducing your risk in development by cutting costs, could be even more of a priority. But, is this tenable over the long term?
Consider how your approach may differ if local planning authorities further tighten thermal efficiency requirements into their decision making. It already seems likely the Building Regulations will be ramped up rapidly over the next couple of years to meet the Government’s ambitious net zero by 2050 target. What if home buyers start judging properties on the new Home Quality Mark and not just the location or number of bedrooms?