MIPIM: What did we learn?
When we left MIPIM, the world’s biggest property fayre, on the 17th March we felt truly inspired. With an audience of 24,200 people travelling from 100 countries, not only was MIPIM a great place to network, but a hub to discuss the latest trends in the architecture and property market.
One of the most interesting facts to be revealed at MIPIM was that the architecture sector is worth £1.7billion in the UK economy and is still growing at rate of 76% per year, overtaking the industrial design, graphics and fashion sectors. In 2015, London contributed 42% of the total GVA of the UK’s architecture sector.
As a UK based company, we had prepared ourselves for some doom and gloom surrounding the hot topic of Brexit at MIPIM. This was not the attitude we experienced; many attendees had accepted the fact that changes are inevitable and were instead thinking, “What do we do going forward?”
One thing we could not ignore around the exhibition halls was the message from the UK Government. The statement ‘Invest in Great’ was projected on boards throughout. There was a strong presence from the Department of International Trade (DIT) at the London stand this year. DIT’s latest headline read, “In 2015, British firms earned more than £430million from overseas work.”
With Article 50 being kicked into action last week, it appears DIT understands the importance of keeping up relations overseas and is pushing for British architecture firms to do so. DIT’s parliamentary undersecretary, Mark Garnier, told the Architects Journal that the DIT “have put international trade on turbo-charge.” Further to this, Prime Minister Teresa May has recently reported the Government will be “attracting investors to the whole of the UK’s real estate.”
However, this does not mean that all of the UK’s architecture is dependent on overseas work. Last week Dezeen revealed that in 2016, London had a record number of skyscrapers built than ever before. But it doesn’t stop there, the report also revealed that there are another 455 skyscraper projects in the pipeline, 91 of which construction has already begun. Clearly the UK’s architecture industry is still booming despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
A recent survey by RIBA asked industry experts how they expected Brexit to affect them. It was revealed that 40% of participants have found that since the UK announced leaving the EU, the cost of necessary materials has increased. 35% of participants said they have noticed that the cost of contractors and construction have risen. Despite the architectural industry’s positive contribution to the UK economy, it may also start to drain it as the cost of resources increases.
MIPIM also shed a light on the UK’s housing crisis across three debates. One of the topics for discussion was the positive introduction of construction techniques like prefabrication. Gavin Barwell also told MIPIMs industry experts that he is available to help UK contractors to build new homes and fix the housing crisis. Barwell said, “If you’ve got parts of the country where you want to build homes and you’re struggling to find land, you come and see me and I will then raise those issues with the relevant local authorities.” In addition, he also revealed the government will be releasing enough land for 160,000 new properties.
It is clear that Britain had a big presence at MIPIM this year with the Government keeping/building new relations with international firms, as well as promoting the success of the UK architecture sector. Clearly there is no risk of the architecture sector slowing down anytime soon, but with Article 50 being triggered it is important for UK firms to maintain relations with overseas firms.
Overall, the weather and atmosphere at MIPIM was incredible this year. We would like to thank all our clients and candidates for their time and we are pleased to see the property industry looking so strong. We look forward to seeing what next year will have in store for us.