It is well known that the property industry is relatively traditional in its approach to technology but slowly, it is beginning to play a greater role in the development process. From online site searching tools such as LandInsight to clever room scanners like magicplan which help developers manage their space, the market is becoming increasingly comfortable with the role technology can play in order to improve processes.
Whilst many developers are taking small steps, others are taking leaps and bounds using the most forward thinking and innovative approaches to produce their properties. One example of this is Click Properties & Click Above building ‘homes of the future’ using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)
MMC is something which the market is still getting comfortable with and, considering the current conditions, new concepts can sometimes prove difficult to move forwards.
We sat down with Laith Mubarak, Head of Acquisitions at Click Properties and talked about the changes he is seeing in the market and the approach he and his team are taking in order to stay ahead and move through the uncertainty.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE KEY BENEFITS OF MODULAR CONSTRUCTION CONSIDERING THE CURRENT MARKET?
One of the key advantages of modular construction is the quality control and delivery speed which it allows. Considering the current climate, it is more important than ever that we deliver a great product on time, every time which is something that cannot always be guaranteed with traditional builds.
In addition, many developers are being hit with price increases due to labour shortages and increased material costs. Whilst we are not immune to this change, we do have the ability to react and evolve around this trend.
WHAT SPECIFICALLY HAVE YOU DONE TO REACT TO THE MARKET CHANGES AND HOW ELSE HAS YOUR METHODOLOGY EVOLVED AS A RESULT OF THE CURRENT STATE OF THE MARKET?
We have witnessed manufacturers facing greater pressure which has led to factories being under resourced and a distinct shortage of labour. For us at Click, we have taken this opportunity to accelerate the plans which we had laid out for the future.
We are developing our own manufacturing processes and teams which means that our supply levels can remain consistent in terms and volume and quality. Internalising the process is something we have always thought to do, and the current market has given us the push to progress our plans. Not only is it great for us as a business but it has a positive impact on the local community with long-term job security, training and development prospects.
WHAT HAS THE BIGGEST IMPACT OF BREXIT UNCERTAINTY BEEN FOR YOU? HOW HAVE YOU TACKLED THIS CHALLENGE?
Investment has undoubtedly slowed in the past 12-18 months, which has had some impact on our sales however, my feeling now is that due to the on-going frustrations, investors believe that we are close to the bottom of the market and they are starting to make purchases once again.
Many investors are once again looking for opportunities in the UK and it is no secret that housing demand still outweighs supply, therefore growth areas will continue to gain momentum. Properties within the help-to-buy bracket (£600K) are proving most popular.
DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS OPPORTUNITY TO BE FOUND IN UNCERTAINTY? IF SO HAVE YOU MADE THE MOST OF THIS?
The biggest opportunity for us is the chance to implement our own manufacturing methods. Modern methods of construction address the wider issues which traditional developments face (cost overruns, unexpected delays, adverse weather impacts etc) which enables us to have greater control over every part of the process.
WHAT TYPES OF THE DEVELOPMENTS DO YOU THINK WILL PROSPER MOST IN THE COMING MONTHS?
It will be important to look at strong growth areas such as Slough but also, the expansion of PDR to include airspace development has huge potential for us as a business. Having recently completed a rooftop development in London, we are in discussions with a number of local authorities, housing associations and private freeholders, exploring opportunities to deliver new homes in partnership with them.
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