What changes this market is facing due to challenges brought by the COVID-19?
David Murray, Founder and Managing Director of Echospace answered us. Take a look at his answers on the paramount point, new requests for office projects, how we should all face the current challenges and the trends for 2021.
FitOut is a highly relevant part of the construction sector, responsible for making people feel comfortable and addressing their needs. What changes this market is facing due to challenges brought by the COVID-19?
In order to get an inside perspective, we asked our client David Murray, Founder and Managing Director of Echospace, 4 questions. Over 10 years in the British fit-out market, Murray can clearly see what changed with covid and what keeps being valid. Take a look at his answers on the paramount point, new requests for office projects, how we should all face the current challenges and the trends for 2021.
Design and build as a procurement route have not changed. The biggest change that we have had to adapt to are the new health and safety measures that need to be in place in order to ensure a Covid safe site. Additionally, managing client expectations with regards time is crucial as at any given moment a site operative can be tracked and traced resulting in potential delays. As it has always been the case, effective communication throughout a project is paramount.
We are definitely observing a change in the design briefs that we are given. Most notable is a focus on technology being better integrated within the office space.
Practically, these changes are very common now:
We are being asked to include more VC booths “zoom rooms” for employees to host virtual meetings rather than inviting people to their office.
Increased fresh air volume into office space either by upgrading existing mechanical equipment or by replacing old equipment with a new system.
Desk sizes are getting larger again in order to naturally socially distance when seated.
Finally, more strategically, we are being engaged by businesses to explore the possibilities of reducing the overall square footage of their central office space given the rise of a blended working strategy.
I believe that these adaptations are here for the long term. CoVid19 has resulted in a seismic shift in the way we work, the role the office plays and the necessary tools to perform effective work. I believe that as a young design and build company it is incumbent on us lead this change with proactivity and enthusiasm for the next chapter workplace design.
I must start with the fact that no one knows with any real certainty what the future holds, but I do have a few thoughts pertaining to the office fit-out market.
The “fitted out” market is growing with increasing intensity. In other words, we will see a big shift in that landlords will be fitting out more of their vacant space offering more flexibility to occupiers while reducing their lease voids. The implications for a design and build company will be that Landlords and asset managers will be looking to businesses like Echospace for expertise.
Bigger picture. The future of Office Fit-out is bright. Office design has been an evolving science for decades and 2021 will be no different. The key is to react quickly, be bold and forge ahead into the world of Blended Working.
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