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Neil Bullen discusses how we have seen a marked change in the way real estate is being used, as ever-evolving workforce and operational change creates a ‘wave of disruption’ across the sector.
The global real estate industry has remained robust over the past year. Despite increasingly turbulent markets stirred by political turmoil and trade war tensions, our business performed strongly across all real estate sectors and markets, achieving double digit growth.
Owners, investors and managers are under huge pressure to change the way they operate – to be more productive, reduce costs, and deliver projects and complex programmes faster, efficiently and in a more agile way.
We have seen a marked change in the way real estate is being used, as ever-evolving workforce and operational change creates a ‘wave of disruption’ across the sector.
This has pushed businesses to rethink their real estate requirements and seek to deliver more innovative and effective solutions.
Responding to this market opportunity, our real estate business achieved 15 percent growth over the full year, with £340m net revenue. Regionally, North America stood out as an area of particularly strong performance, with 45 percent growth, due to expansion and investment in both capability and in growing our relationships with major project and programme owners.
Many of our clients are seeking a consistent global service, which has provided opportunities for us to deliver larger contracts or act as the single provider across diverse real estate portfolios.
This has been particularly key in growing our Asia, Europe and North America businesses, where we have focused on increasing our scale of delivery for key clients, tailoring services to suit their business, and working with them across more regions.
The UK, our largest market, was up on the previous year, a solid achievement in what was a challenging political environment. This growth was accomplished through continued diversification in our target sectors and service offer, increased investment in talent and significant growth in government and high-tech and manufacturing sectors.
Globally, the corporate occupier and high-tech and manufacturing sectors remained strong growth areas, accounting for 22 percent and 18 percent of our business respectively.
In the UK, we maintained strength in our investor and developer portfolio, continuing on long-term major projects such as Nine Elms Square and Battersea Power Station in London.
We secured a four-year extension to our long-standing delivery partnership with Nissan and Infiniti on its global retail roll-out programme.
While some sectors, such as investor and developer, health and education, have remained steady overall, others, including corporate occupier and high-tech and manufacturing, have experienced very high growth.
We have had particular success in delivering data centres and critical facilities for global technology, financial services and data centre developer companies.
Notable wins included supporting the delivery of the world’s largest private data centre for a major technology company in Singapore.
Other sectors including sports, leisure and hospitality, particularly hotels, also saw strong growth as we increased our market share across the globe.
I am particularly pleased that we won significant new commissions within the UK and Australian defence sectors in real estate. With our partners, we were awarded a contract as the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme Client Side Partner with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, a part of the UK’s Ministry of Defence.
We also made significant progress in the second year of our programme to transform and digitise our core service delivery. This focuses on increasing productivity and improving the quality and efficiency of service to our clients, providing differentiation in the market.
We continue to build agility and resilience as the market is disrupted and expect all regions and global sectors to continue to grow despite some challenging market conditions in both the public and private sectors.
With many markets showing signs of stress, we are supporting clients to undertake the business transformations they need.
Over the next 12 months, we plan to continue the transformation and digitisation of our service delivery.
This includes investing in, developing and rolling out our digital services as a core part of our proposition.