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London has seen the highest number of office refurbishments in 20 years

London Office Refurbishments

London has seen the highest number of office refurbishments in 20 years


The headline reads, ‘ London office refurbishments jumps to an all-time high.’ This news might be surprising considering the uncertainty in the commercial markets because of the effect of global events in the last 18th months. The war in Ukraine and the latest events in Gaza would make most businesses think twice about expanding or upgrading their office space.

According to Construction News, in May this year, claims refurbishments are at an all-time high, qualifying that the highest number of office refurbishments to begin this year topped nearly 20-year high.  Here at Initial Interiors HQ, we can attest to this fact, but without taking our word for it, here are some facts to back up this claim.

According to Deloitte’s latest report, 37 London office buildings were renovated between November 2022 and March 2023. The total area of these renovations was 3.2 million square feet. This was the most renovation activity in London since Deloitte started tracking it in 2005. One of the most extensive renovations was Citigroup’s 25 Canada Square, which covered 900,000 square feet, or 20% of the total. 

Many businesses realise that to attract quality candidates in an increasingly tight employment market means it is no longer enough to offer basic facilities and expect employees to readily return to work when they have enjoyed a period of remote working.

Deloitte’s latest report shows tenants and their employees prefer quality over quantity regarding office space. They want attractive, sustainable, well-equipped spaces close to transport and amenities. Deloitte says new office designs include collaborative spaces, wellness rooms, and luxury coffee facilities.

Another factor that drives the demand for quality office space is the new energy efficiency regulations that will be in effect in the next few years. Office buildings must meet higher energy performance standards by 2027 and 2030. Read more here.

The report also reveals that fifty new offices began, including new builds and refurbishments, compared to 31 in the previous six months. The total area of these new offices started at 4.4 million square feet, compared to 2.5 million square feet during the last period, offering a 76 per cent increase.

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Eco-Friendly Office Refit

Deloitte says that this increase is likely due to the pent-up demand that resulted from the supply chain and labour challenges caused by the pandemic. The report also shows that the West End was the most active area in London, with 1.31 million square feet of new office starts. Deloitte says that the West End’s rich cultural amenities attract employers to this area.

On the other hand, the City saw a decline in activity for the third consecutive period. Deloitte says that the City had fewer new office starts than other areas. Deloitte also predicts that around 10 million square feet of office space will be completed in 2023 due to pandemic related delays. It’s good news, and it also changes the way that developments are tackled. The City of London Corporation recently introduced new planning regulations to promote a ‘Retrofit First’ policy, but what exactly is a retrofit first policy? 

The Corporation plans to make the whole Square Mile carbon-neutral by 2040. To achieve this, it has published a new document that strongly advises reducing carbon emissions, designing buildings that adapt to changing needs, and creating more green spaces. The document is open for feedback. It shows what the Corporation wants developers to consider when planning, designing, and building their projects. If converted into regulations, this initiative will have far-reaching effects on office refurbishments in London and the South East.

Biodiversity and urban greening: Enhancing the ecological value of London and the City

Biodiversity and urban greening offer a set of principles and practices that aim to increase the quantity and quality of green spaces in London and to foster the diversity and abundance of native flora and fauna. By applying these principles and practices, development projects can help to create a network of green corridors and habitats that connect and enrich the urban ecosystem and implement measures that boost the biodiversity of the surrounding area.

Some examples of urban greening are:

  • Green roofs and walls: These are roofs or walls covered with vegetation, such as grass, flowers, or shrubs. They provide insulation, cooling, storm water management, habitat for wildlife, and aesthetic and recreational benefits.
  • Tree planting: This involves planting trees in streets, parks, gardens, and other public or private spaces. Trees provide shade, oxygen, carbon sequestration, noise reduction, and habitat for wildlife, enhancing commercial tenants and residents’ visual appeal and mental health. London has over eight million trees, covering 21% of its land area. Tree planting is supported by the City of London Corporation, which aims to increase its canopy cover to 25% by 2025.
  • Community gardens: These are plots of land cultivated by residents, often in collaboration with schools, charities, or businesses. They produce food, flowers, or herbs and offer social, educational, and environmental benefits. London has over 2,000 community gardens, ranging from small balconies to large allotments, and hosts the annual Capital Growth campaign to support and celebrate urban food growing.

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The good news is business is booming in London, and the south-east, and the office refurbishment sector is endeavouring to keep up with an increasingly declining skill gap. New and established businesses seek to adapt to their employees’ and clients’ changing needs and expectations. Office refurbishments are about improving the workspace’s appearance and functionality and enhancing its sustainability, resilience, and ecological value.

At Initial Interiors, we deliver office refurbishments that meet the highest quality, design, and innovation standards. We work closely with our clients to understand their vision, goals, and challenges and provide bespoke solutions that suit their budget, timeline, and specifications. We also follow the latest trends and best practices in the industry and incorporate the principles of retrofit, circular economy, climate resilience, and urban greening into our projects wherever possible.

We believe that office refurbishments are an opportunity to refresh and revitalise your workspace and to positively impact the London landscape and the environment. We are proud to be part of this exciting and dynamic market and look forward to helping you create your ideal office space. 

Office Refit London

Initial Interiors is your trusted partner for office refurbishment projects in London. We offer customised solutions that suit your overall needs, budget, and vision. Our team of skilled tradespeople, project managers, and designers will ensure your project is completed on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards.

Whether you need minor works or a full-scale refurbishment of your existing or new office space, we can help you transform your workspace into a modern, comfortable, and sustainable environment. Contact us today at 020 8938 3893 for a free quotation and consultation with our friendly and professional team.

We have a proven track record of delivering successful office fit-out and refurbishment projects in London. Check out our 7-week London office fit-out case study to see how we overcame challenges and achieved excellent results for our clients. We are ready to bring the same dedication and excellence to your next project.

Our contractors are fully qualified, experienced, and reputable. They will communicate with you effectively and offer you competitive prices. We cover London’s West End, including the EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4, E1, WC1, WC2, W1, N1, and SE1 postcode areas.

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