Built Professionals need to Focus on Emerging Markets

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In order to prepare for the future, commercial property owners, investors and developers in the built environment space need to shift the focus towards emerging markets, a growing and important and yet often neglected segment of the market, says Xoliswa Daku, the founder and chief executive officer of South African based Daku Group of Properties.

“It is estimated that by 2030, no less than 90% of new jobs will be created by small and expanding firms. Thus, a huge opportunity exists to offer solutions to real estate products and solutions to new company start-ups for relatively young and small businesses,” she states at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Summit Africa 2018.

But to achieve that requires a new model of design, where new or existing office developments will need to be forged with design principles of incubation centres start-up innovation labs and flexible work spaces in mind, Daku mentions.

“These spaces are productivity sites are purpose-built for the sharing economy as they will create opportunities for people to interact and collaborate in creative ways. Thus, the future of commercial real estate in terms of office space will definitely borrow from centres with shared and communal resources,” Daku adds.

The RICS Summit Africa 2018, on the theme, ‘Driving sustainable growth through smarter Urbanisation’, taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 30-31 May, is organised by RICS, the world’s leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction.

According to her, real estate owners and facility managers have to invest in technology that can improve interactions with tenants and customers if they are committed to offer smart real estate solutions for the smart city.

“This will require putting technology strategies in place for newly-built or existing real estate assets. Investment in technologies to obtain, manage and exploit can offer rich information layers for the management of buildings to control or reduce operational costs. It will find its way into facilities management at an operational and strategic level. Investment and exploration of new technologies is important not only for the core business, but also as part of change management and innovation.

“For the economies of regional municipalities, it is critical that commercial real-estate planning and development are anchored in a social centric paradigm. This means that spaces with facilities and amenities that support the wellness of its social capital can unleash productivity, increase levels of profitability and exceptional innovation,” Daku states.

Cities become smart when infrastructure, urban assets, public services, human and social capital, mobility systems and other forces are improved and optimised, she says.

The benefit is higher economic growth, better quality of life for citizens and more responsible form of stewardship over natural resources, the CEO said.

Role players such as commercial property developers, investors and facility managers should take part in laying the foundation of future cities through smart commercial real estate planning, development, investment and upgrading.

“Smart city planning and development is often led by municipalities and development in response to pressures such as increased urbanisation, city management, rising population and climate change amongst others,” she emphasises.

Source: Samuel Hinneh


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