Driving Costs Downwards in an Uncertain Climate

Stephen Hateley
Are you determined to find ways to work tighter budgets to your organisation’s advantage? Through inspired thinking, vigilant planning and creative teamwork, Faithful+Gould delivers the ideas that allow our clients to realise their objectives.

Developers, investors and occupiers in London and the South East are looking for ways to make their numbers stack up in a highly competitive market and Faithful+Gould’s skills and experience improves the chance of success. There are good opportunities out there for those who can take advantage of them.

We’ve brought innovation and experience to a range of commercial sector projects over the last year, operating within the constraints of an uncertain market. As a multidisciplinary practice, we provide a broad analysis encompassing more than cost issues. We look at every angle of a new project. Then we look again, to ensure that we identify further savings, often long-term and far-reaching.

For example, we recently provided cost consultancy service on a large mixed use masterplan, where the site encountered flooding from a nearby river. To create a flood defence barrier, the client’s design team was considering a new structural retaining wall. We thought differently.

We promoted the alternative idea of excavating the river bank to create an additional run off area for the water, using the excavated material to create a landscaped bund. This created a flood alleviation strategy as opposed to a flood defence strategy.

We promoted the alternative idea of excavating the river bank to create an additional run off area for the water, using the excavated material to create a landscaped bund. This created a flood alleviation strategy as opposed to a flood defence strategy, which was looked upon favourably by the Environment Agency. The bund was more economical than the construction of a new retaining wall and the 'soft' landscaping approach was better value for the scheme and preferable to an obtrusive wall - altogether a much better result for the client.

Our services also take account of the need to generate a positive corporate response to the value for money achieved through the capital expenditure. Among our client base we are finding that Corporate Real Estate professionals, for instance, not only need to secure best value, but also have to demonstrate this internally to their wider colleague group. Effectively communicating this to their fellow stakeholders ensures that the benefits can be properly understood throughout the organisation, and best practices achieved can be applied on future projects.

We can actively lead on this process

For a recent client, we led the team in maintaining an innovation log of added value and cost savings achieved on a significant commercial office project. This formed the basis for a stand-alone report, presented to the client on completion, attributing a demonstrable financial value to the items recorded. The report provided easy-access ‘case studies’ which could be issued internally to teams working on similar projects or more generally used for internal publications. This information also helps support clients’ CSR strategy.

Sustainability remains high on the agenda. Developers, investors and landlords see it as a differentiator, supporting corporate governance and project environmental strategies, as well as attracting high calibre tenants. Achieving high BREEAM or LEED ratings without flamboyant spending is increasingly a priority – and often the subject of planning conditions. IPD and RICS have both issued reports linking green buildings to increased value, quoting 3 to 5 per cent rental premiums, 13 per cent selling price premiums and 12 per cent valuation premiums for green buildings.

Faithful+Gould leads the field in providing tried and tested carbon analysis – and we clearly demonstrate the link to additional cost savings. Our embodied carbon reporting is becoming an integral part of our comprehensive cost plans. This reporting is among the first of its kind in the industry and is based on the embodied carbon guidelines that our team has developed on behalf of RICS. It’s a unique overview, reducing costs and enhancing the sustainability strategy.

We help companies to make sense of all these issues and dilemmas. We actively guide the decision-making process on where to spend and where to save, ensuring that best value is achieved.

Once again Faithful+Gould will have key members of their national property team at MIPIM this week. If you would like to find out more about the multi-disciplinary skills we can bring to bear on your commercial property assets, or would like to speak to us about a project that is still on paper, then please get in touch with me directly.

I’ll demonstrate how we can work with you to drive down costs, and get the best possible result, bringing together sharp lateral thinking and sound advice on capital and operating costs - resulting in the deals you need, to produce the building you want.

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