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Digital Transformation

"Building Back Better” at the South Coast Development Conference

Written By: Harri Vivian
May 27, 2022
4 min read

Here in the UK, the South Coast is seeing billions of pounds of building and development tied into the renewal of town centres, accelerating infrastructure and homebuilding, and more. Built Environment Networking’s South Coast Development Conference this past Wednesday highlighted just how much growth is happening here, with senior local authorities joining developers, investors, and infrastructure providers to focus on the weight of these challenges and how we can solve them. Quickbase was on-site to learn the scope and detail of these challenges across the South Coast – and provide ways to address them. Here are three of the biggest themes from the conference, and how teams can start to solve these critical challenges.

Returning from Covid takes active management

One of the biggest takeaways from the conference is just how much development has started to kick back off. Throughout the day, speakers shared just how many new projects are underway and how much needs to be delivered. This goes for the public and private sector. And, with the additional challenges that Covid has brought on, such as supply chain snags, finding a way to manage this volume of work is a major consideration for organisations to consider.

Coming with this is the change in the role of the high streets and town centres in the UK. As Samer Bagaeen, Member of the Brighton and Hove City Council shared, this change in how people work and how people shop has significant implications on the real estate and development needs of high streets. Local authorities need to take an active part in delivering on community needs and managing those projects effectively. Further, as multiple presenters emphasized, specific to the South Coast, development has to focus on the working, living, and leisure options in manageable distance from where people live.

Sustainability and environmental impact are top of mind

Across the South Coast, sustainability is becoming a major focus for all development projects. Brighton, for example, is targeting 2030 to become a carbon neutral city, according to Max Woodford, Assistant Director of City Development and Regeneration of the Brightion & Hove City Council. This does have cost implications, but that doesn’t mean that a project has to become exorbitantly expensive. People often get the wrong idea that sustainability is an additional line item in the budget, but if done right, it can be managed well, as James Burchell of Tellon Capital said.

In the UK, sustainability is moving to become a regulation that everyone has to comply with and factor into their projects. From a private built environment perspective, this is driving a change in how to think of new projects – it becomes about putting sustainability first on the list.

One key capability is tracking environmental, health, and safety capabilities across your teams. Without the ability to report on, monitor, and act on EHS incidents in real time, or ensure the right training and certifications are in place, you risk the safety and well-being of your field team, your customers, and the environment.

Improving time-to-value and long-term planning is critical

Finally, a challenge across built environment projects that the South Coast is experiencing comes with improving the time to value. Andrew Reynolds of the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council saw these challenges firsthand in his work on the Manydown housing development. The key issues with this project were the scale and delivery of the infrastructure, visibility and cost management, and determining how to deliver larger scale projects as quickly as possible. Further, this project was deeply considering how to be sustainable and fit for the future.

This is something that Quickbase has seen throughout the built environment. Quickbase recently found with NewtonX that inconsistent access to data is a critical issue for 52% of built environment professionals. This can exacerbate these issues of visibility and cost management. And the organizations who are best addressing key built environment problems like supplier management and project progress are finding the right technology approaches to solve these major issues.

Ultimately, the South Coast is undergoing the same transformation with its built environment projects that everybody in the built environment is seeing. And as the UK continues to grapple with these challenges, finding the right ways to unite your data and processes will keep you prepared for rapid change to come.

Written By: Harri Vivian

Harri Vivian is a Senior Manager of Regional Marketing (UKI) at Quickbase.

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