NSC Archives


Steel’s secure supply chain supports developer confidence

Posted on by in Comment

Signs of growth in the commercial property and housebuilding markets are being seen, according to press reports, which will come as welcome news to a construction industry that saw project starts fall 30% last year.

Spring is a time when it is natural to look for new life of course, but there is more than the sight of daffodils to justify an optimistic outlook. Certainly developers seem to have the bit between their teeth, as can be seen with the multiple planning applications that have been made for City towers. Not all of these projects will be proceeded with, at least not in the time frame currently envisaged, and possibly not in exactly the shape that developers hoped for.

Planning delays seem to be an issue nationally, but developers know that they can take a slightly more sanguine view of delays from planning negotiations because steel contractors can respond quickly, even to changing designs, and ensure buildings are erected in the most timely fashion possible.

Figures released in March by Glenigan show that in London an incredible 230 high rise buildings of 20 storeys or more have been granted detailed consent since 2017, which equates to an average of over three a month. Approval has been given to 76 of them in the past two years.

In the City alone there are 26 towers of 75 metres or more either under construction, have been granted planning permission, or are confidently expected to receive it. New applications keep coming. We have reported previously on Brookfield Properties applying in March for permission to build a 54 storey, mostly offices building at 99 Bishopsgate. An application for a tower at One Undershaft in the City, almost as high as the Shard, is expected to be granted permission soon.

The development pipeline is said by City Corporation planners to be near the busiest they have ever seen. Perhaps not all of the space will be offices, employees these days expect to have much more than a desk made available on site, like gyms and coffee shops. Some commentators say we should think of these tall buildings as ‘vertical villages’, accommodating multiple uses.

Whatever the configuration required at the time of construction, or if changed later in line with regulatory or building occupier requirements, steel has unrivalled capabilities to accommodate new design ideas with minimum fuss. The trend towards repurposing existing buildings rather than demolish and build will provide a new range of proofs that flexible steel construction is the ideal solution for both new build as well as repurposing. Smart developers will spot the benefits of this flexibility, along with steel’s many other sustainability and economic benefits.

London is still growing so demand for all kinds of commercial, leisure and residential space is likely to grow apace. Strength of demand for major and often iconic buildings is also seen in the regions, as surveys confirm. In February, the Deloitte Regional Crane Survey showed 20 schemes under construction including six that started last year in Belfast, 44 under construction in Birmingham with 20 starting last year, 16 projects started in Leeds and 61 projects under construction in Manchester.

These figures suggest that there is a lot of confidence in the market nationally. There is also a lot of justified confidence that steel’s secure, tried and tested supply chain will play a major role in providing these buildings UK wide.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Share this post

Related Posts


Click on the cover to view this month's issue as a digimag.