Category: Thought pieces

14 Aug 2023

GOVE VS M&S HAS SET A HIGH-PROFILE LINE IN THE SAND FOR RETROFITTING – NOW IT’S TIME FOR A PERMANENT MINDSET RESET

GOVE VS M&S HAS SET A HIGH-PROFILE LINE IN THE SAND FOR RETROFITTING –

NOW IT’S TIME FOR A PERMANENT MINDSET RESET 

By Matt Schaaf, Partner in Commercial Project Management at 3PM

Michael Gove’s recent decision to reject the redevelopment of the M&S site on Oxford Street has elevated the ongoing question of whether to demolish or refurbish existing buildings into arguably the highest profile case of its kind.

Supported by the likes of the 20th Century Society and SAVE, the case set a precedent by being the first of its kind – the first public inquiry that considered sustainability alongside heritage as a major deciding issue.

 

In the case of M&S, the decision hinged on Gove’s view that the development hadn’t sufficiently demonstrated that a refurbishment option wasn’t viable and that a full development scheme would produce less carbon in the future as green energy will be more readily available. 

 

The first point is a clear indication that developer’s and design teams will always need a robust process to review options to refurbish a building, before turning to new build options moving forward.  This can be done by examining the Minimum Viable Product a developer needs to be able to let a building and then looking for ways to add area, rationalise floor plates and refresh finishes to add value.  Not only will this help to reduce embodied carbon, but it has the potential to reduce the cost to the client and reduce time to market.

 

The second point lies at the heart of many refurbishment schemes.  When does the embodied carbon of a new build balance against the operational carbon of an in theory less efficient refurbishment?  Our understanding of carbon modelling as an approach is still in its infancy – many feel the science is new and the data not good enough but it’s 2023 and the concept of reducing the amount of embodied carbon now on the basis we will improve green technology in the future should be a sound one if the Government continues to invest in it.

 

How we assess the balance of embodied versus operational carbon will evolve moving forward: it has to! Whole life considerations need to be undertaken based on clear replacement cycles.The design life of different building elements are enshrined in British Standards but haven’t been revisited in the context of sustainability, which makes them archaic to say the least.  Why is the design life of a structure 60 years when the Tower of London has stood for almost 1,000?  Lengthening these periods would shift the balance between embodied and operational carbon, a key factor in deciding whether to rebuild or refurbish.

 

One of the criticisms of the Levelling Up Secretary’s decision is the economic impact it will have.  One of the key challenges in refurbishing existing buildings is a supply chain which is set up to carry out new build projects and views refurbishment schemes with caution.  There is huge potential for the UK to promote economic growth by developing new industries aligned to sustainable development and it’s crucial that both public and private bodies support this.

We recently worked as part of an extended team that agreed to forgo an existing planning permission for demolition and rebuild of a fairly high-profile central London office building and instead retrofit. The decision was the right one – not just environmentally – but economically too: we delivered a project that will be low carbon, saving two blue whales worth of embodied carbon while also saving six months on the build programme, delivered 2,000 sq ft extra NIA and a £10m capital cost saving.

It can be done, and it should be.

My personal view is that we need to respect our heritage buildings and give them a new lease of life wherever possible – they’ve earned their right to survive with their sound original fabric and structure, remarkably built without the benefits of technology and knowledge we have today. The least we can do is apply the latter towards keeping them and working with what has survived longer than any of us! It won’t always be possible, but the approach should be retrofit first (rather than retrofit only).

 

The merits of the individual case of M&S will continue to be debated. What is certain is that project teams will have to make an extremely robust case to gain planning approval for a new build option from now on and this is absolutely crucial if we are to change the mindset of ‘it’s too difficult’ to ‘we can do this’. And that is a very promising and possible outcome from all of this.

 

14 Aug 2023

MIND OVER MATTER – THE REAL ESG OBSTACLE

MIND OVER MATTER – THE REAL ESG OBSTACLE

By Rana Rehman, Senior Project Manager at 3PM

 

Cost of materials, supply chain challenges, complicated design, lack of data, a lengthy planning process and heritage constraints are just some of the reasons given for favouring new construction projects over retrofitting ones.

The list of problems is long but the main thing holding us back from #Net Zero trumps all others – mindset. And that matters.

Data is a good example. At a recent event I listened to a discussion whereby those partaking were bemoaning the lack of data that means they cannot benchmark or use existing data to showcase what can be done, or that the information designers have today is already two years old and therefore not live – because live information most often only comes in once the development is post construction, in RIBA stages 4-6. This raised the question of when the live information should be tied to the project – at what point on its timeline is best?

There’s an easy answer to this. RIBA Stage 1. The earlier the focus on net zero with any project the better, but especially when retrofitting. The building is already largely built – we are already working backwards so the earlier we factor in ESG the better.

We, as stakeholders in the future of our built environment, all must agree to plug the massive knowledge gaps across the industry, not accept them. And this requires a change of mindset from day one.

If sustainability focussed PMs and designers are brought in at concept stage there is simply no reason not to retrofit and reach net zero. It can still be done later, it’s just harder.

The experts start with embodied carbon, looking at passive principles, the circular economy – yes steel can be recycled, stored and reused – and biobased materials. Operational carbon also should be factored in early to predict and control live data. This stage includes designing and planning in the maximisation of efficiency and reduction in energy, the practice of energy harvesting and use of renewables. Finally, we move towards energy storage and, as an absolutely last resort, offsetting which together take us to net zero and eventually the panacea of absolute zero.

At 3PM, we work with our own mindset route map which factors in these various stages to win over the 100s of reasons why a retrofit to net zero can’t be done, focussing instead on how to cut through and deliver the lowest carbon intervention. This can be applied to every building, no matter how heritage – to restore, retrofit and future proof.

This has seen us through the decarbonisation and degassing of some of the most heritage and oldest Universities in the UK so there’s absolutely no reason it can’t be applied to a post war office buildings.

After all, if a building has lasted hundreds of years, why shouldn’t we commit to giving it a new lease of life?

 


06 Aug 2023

AMID THE HEATWAVES SHOULD COME GREATER THINKING ABOUT THE FABRIC AND MATERIALS OF PROPERTY

As people all over the UK basked in the glory of the June heatwave, few would have been thinking about the impact on buildings – both new and heritage alike.

Then came more serious incidences across Europe, where focus understandably turned to the wildfires and health concerns associated with the soaring temperatures.

As Project Managers striving to build, future proof and retrofit sustainable buildings, ‘heat’ is a topic that occupies our thought processes rather disproportionately.

Today, there’s just no reason for not considering climate change – not just in terms of the impact of construction and operation of a building on the environment – but the impact of climate change on the building.

The recent high temperatures (whilst positive for those on the beach) are just a reality of our collective future. We have already exceeded the 1.5deg rise and global warming is only increasing, yet capital projects are still being developed without this fact being recognised.

Inadequate benchmarks and limited exposure to progressive fabric first, low carbon, practical strategies within the design world are holding us back. As project managers with significant expertise and experience in sustainability, we know that energy savings of up to 90% are perfectly achievable. We have also proven e/o costs can be delivered well within a normal design development allowance. While air conditioning may give an immediate respite (for buildings and people), burning coal to provide the power required is just illogical.

So why hasn’t this knowledge reached the design or strategy phase of a building project yet?

Why do commercial developers, Higher Education institutions and other stakeholders in the build environment – AND their project teams – still appear so reluctant to change and develop facilities that will actually be fit for the next decade, to weather the weather and deliver a more sustainable option for those interacting with their buildings?

There are any number of reasons that we could point to but in 2023, these don’t carry much weight. A simple solution for all of this is to bring in the sustainability experts from stage one – vision. This will enable knowledge sharing for designers, planners and all other partners in the extended team. It also builds in ‘live data’ from the start of the process, making it ultimately easier to measure, benchmark, report and share best practice. This would be a real step change for all rather than bemoaning data that is readily accessible for designers but decreases in relevance day by day.

The earlier the better. The later the more expensive, complex and risk prone the project will be.

So next time the barometer hits the late 20s – and apparently that will be soon – remember that the increase in severity and frequency of our ‘heatwaves’ is a visible reminder of climate change. And, it should also be a reminder that we should be acting now, bringing in the experts in sustainability from day one to lead the brief, support the design and drag the naysayers into the 21st century.

 

27 Jun 2023

I set foot at Footprint+ to see who else was walking the talk

I set foot at Footprint+ to see who else was walking the talk

by Rana Rehman, Project Manager and Sustainability Expert at 3PM

 

I was eager to attend the recent Footprint+ conference to share knowledge and discuss ways to accelerate the built environment’s
emphasis on net zero, amongst other things.

I found a number of likeminded people who were there, like me, to discuss innovative approaches on incentivising the circular
economy and cradle-to-cradle practices. What’s more, these experts were there to collaborate and share best practice and lesson learned.

However, there were also delegates that needed to do a lot more in this area in order to actually put their money where their mouths
were, particularly when it came to retrofitting.  There were a lot of ‘cannot’s not as many ‘can do’s which was a little disappointing.

For businesses in the built environment that are starting their net zero journey, there are two crucial principals that are central to
success. Firstly, you must foster an environment where stakeholders demonstrate openness and enthusiasm for sustainable practices.
Mindset is one of the biggest obstacles in this entire space and so culture needs to support and nurture people to where we want to get to.

The second principal is the attitude and agility of designers who play a vital role in driving sustainability. By focussing in on design,
we can encourage designers to adopt a proactive and adaptable mindset which could lead to innovative and sustainable solutions.

These principals are supported by putting in place performance-based design over prescriptive measures; and encouraging a
streamlined approvals process and a proactive approach to risk assessment in order to facilitate the implementation of sustainable
practices.

Over the coming months I’ll be exploring other thought-provoking points on this subject – many of which were raised at the
conference but not so many answered concisely. Partly because we don’t have the answers yet, and partly because there weren’t
enough can do’s across the industry.

I’ll be addressing the importance of wellbeing and absenteeism in sustainable building design, especially in commercial buildings;
the use of sustainable plant and machinery on construction sites, the debate between pushing circular economy in a project brief
rather than a brief targeting low embodied carbon, discussing the fact that designers often rely on supply chain knowledge that
may already be two years old; exploring the concept of materials such as appreciating assets; asking how early is too early to engage
with a supply chain in a project; and why and when you could and should challenge any brief if there’s more that can be done.

31 Mar 2022

What part do Investors and real estate owners play in creating the business infrastructure for successful investment returns and growth thereby directly protecting their investment?

Roles of investors and real estate owners in creating the right business infrastructure for successful investment returns.

by Rob Burborough

The creation of the right conditions for ecosystems to thrive is pivotal to the success of occupiers and real estate owners’ businesses. A combination of high-quality adaptable space coupled with excellent access to amenities, infrastructure, accommodation, schools with good transport links are all vital components in making science hubs and innovation districts attractive destinations.

Linking the company’s ecosystem with the employee’s ecosystem will create spaces that people want to work in and a buzz about the environment created by the real estate investors.

Real estate owners can protect their investments by adopting a progressive, sustainable, and socially inclusive atmosphere. This philosophy has been tried and tested worldwide by creating smart places to work where great science can be developed and creating a demand that will drive innovation whilst protecting the capital investment by creating growth in the asset value for investors and shareholders.

It is also important that investors invest in sustainability and have a robust Environment Sustainability & Governance (ESG) policy to which occupiers can buy into and contribute. Life science companies and their employees have a high personal moral compass and therefore want to ensure that they work and play in environments that are cohesive at all levels. Strategic commitment from the top of all organisations is an important consideration that protects investments through value creation.

One last point that investors and owners can do to protect their investment is to make sure they understand the business of their occupiers, communicate with them, invest in their success whilst protecting their investment for the long term. Science and Technology is an asset class in its own right that thrives on good communication and adaptability.

22 Mar 2022

Seven key elements to the creation of a successful life science ecosystem

seven key elements to the creation of a successful life science ecosystem

by 3PM

Our partner and science guru Rob Burborough Burborough chaired an interesting panel discussion with Longfellow Real Estate Partners, LLC Real Estate Partners, LLC and others, which explored investing in successful life science ecosystems at the Bisnow Annual UK Life Sciences conference.

Rob narrows it down to seven key elements for the creation of a successful ecosystem.

  • The first one is mature partnerships.

– This means having collaborations that work with the NHS and academia to reduce friction between the different organisations.

  • Second is full integration.

— this is more than just collocation, this is giving each party to the agreement titles and roles within each other’s organisations.

  • The third his mobility

– this is about mobility both in staff, sectors, industries, and academia. Giving people the opportunity to move across sectors across different skill sets freely it especially important. Allowing top talent to have multiple roles in academia, industry, JVs, and personal business projects is crucial to innovation creation.

  • The fourth is flexibility

– this is flexibility in the real estate footprint, the ability to undertake a range of different scientific applications from med tech to wet and dry labs to bio- informatics and digital tech.

  • The fifth is affordable housing

– this is housing for key workers for young talent. Most Nobel Prize winners and talented scientists do their best work between the ages of 25 and 40.

  • The Sixth point is continued community engagement

– make the ecosystem valuable to the local economy to the local people and create an environment where you can grow and nurture talent.

  • And finally, the seventh key element is talent and the most important

– create talent, grow talent, and invest in talent both in the UK and globally. Allow that talent to bring the best that they can bring to the environment. Allow them to think freely without unhindered by politics and bureaucratic red tape.

14 Mar 2022

The Key Word

The key word is adaptability in the context of a life science building.
Adaptability allows options to be considered when an occupiers needs change. The very nature of science and technology means that innovation and speed to adapt are key considerations for business owners.

by Rob Burborough

To respond to the future of science and technology (S&T), buildings need the same level of adaptability to flex to the changing needs as any other building would. However, taking an adaptable approach does come with cautious consideration for real estate’s developers and investors. Adaptable doesn’t mean ultimate flexibility to all possible needs, as invariably the flexibility provided may never be needed or used or may even lead to an over specification in the wrong building systems thus leading to waste and an unsustainable building.

At 3PM we believe it means thoughtful and sustainable design, operational flexibility, and intelligent optionality within a set of clear and specific guidelines that will determine, and some might say predict what the likely need of the occupier or landlord will be in the future.

It is important to also consider the occupier market being targeted and how landlord, owners and investors are able to narrow the area of risk and target the sweet spot we discussed in our recent BCO research paper ‘what the occupier wants’.

The Science Occupier Sweet Spot

 

Scale up and growth expectations are important considerations that will be required by occupiers, and will also extend the life of the building, enabling it to be quickly adapted to future needs. Operational Mechanical, Electrical & Data (MED) design will ensure that when the question is asked to adapt the answer can be ‘of course as we have considered the maximum likely capacity for the type of science you undertake.’ Knowing the occupier and the likely trajectory of their business will greatly assist in predicting the future needs. Some simple questions at the briefing stage will allow for diversity of the systems in the physical and environmental need stage.

We have found that taking the whole life portfolio approach to briefing with S&T companies helps all parties to consider the marriage of the environment required with the needs of the science at a given point in time but with an eye on the future and how their businesses are likely to grow, adapt or even shrink. Each consideration will have different timelines and impacts.

At 3PM we take a business approach to Science and Technology projects by asking simple questions of the occupiers and owners needs and marry the two perspectives to predict the future, limit risk and provide ecosystems that work for all parties.

07 Mar 2022

The Refurbishment vs Demolition Debate

Balancing the desire to demolish over refurbishment

by Patrick Watson

Demolition vs refurbishment has been a long-standing debate in the construction industry, particularly with the increasing focus on sustainability and achieving a low carbon economy. Responses to the World Green Building Council (GBC) 2050 targets are stimulating the need for change.  #COP26 did a lot to raise the low carbon profile but has not yet achieved the change that is necessary.  The call for specific deliverables and targets to be established at #COP27 only heightens this drive.  Whist the increasing commitment of organisations to Scienced Based Targets can only be applauded, is it time for specific targets favouring refurbishment over demolition to be established?

Ultimately, for this to be effective we need to change established mindsets. Capital projects in the Built Environment (BE) are generally seen as a catalyst to change and with the established practice of sweeping out the old for the new, an increased level of carbon expenditure becomes mandated.  However, the rising concern over the impact of the BE on global emissions is going to further stimulate a cultural shift.  Carbon must become a recognisable resource to be measured monitored & used effectively.  In our ever material world, balancing carbon with the project fundamentals of cost & time must be achieved, priorities set, and goals established.

Project Management Iron Triangle

Increasingly efforts are focused on reduction in the Embodied carbon impact of BE schemes for example, via campaigns by RIBA and other key industry bodies.  Whilst the “new shiny thing” may well be vastly more efficient in use, the additional carbon penalty generated by the industry’s inability to reuse buildings is a far greater penalty – taking decades to achieve payback.

Planning policy is now also seeking to focus on the carbon footprint of the building.  Marks & Spencer recently made the headlines by being challenged over its climate impact.  The planned demolition of its 90-year-old flagship store on Oxford Street and replacement with a new structure would have generated so much CO2e that 2.4m trees would need to be planted to offset it!

Numerous high-profile schemes are currently being marketed as #NetZero when this has only been achieved by the green washed technique of “off-setting”.  In an ever-conscious carbon budgeting world the business case for retention is increasingly viable and off-setting will be seen for what it truly is – obfuscation.

Sadly, some buildings are just not suitable for conversion or renovation due to a variety of functional factors; from foundation strength or plot size to internal layout which cannot be altered for technical reasons.  However, briefs can and should be challenged. For example, if the desire for one element requires a significant increase in the carbon expenditure, should this really be part of a project’s brief?

Fundamentally, if the structure of the building involved is sound and renovation is mostly internal (i.e. based on altering room layouts), then renovation can be the cheaper option.  Add in the environmental benefits and the case for re-use becomes established.

3PM’s experience of deep low energy refurbishment has recognised some significant challenges, where cementing a cultural shift and retention mindset becomes key.  Creating the drive for the professional teams to actively think about using and doing less is fundamental. This coupled with all new material being selected based on its contribution to the wider goal of carbon reduction. The adoption of the circular economy principles; Re-use, reduce, recycle have been key to achieving shifts in the psychologies of project teams and as an added bonus have developed some increasingly recognisable architectural styles.

For effective change, values & vision must be clear, and this then needs to be translated into SMART objectives.  Deep energy retrofits are complex, project risks can be heightened, and solutions require greater effort and transparency in the development of the right solutions.  The project team needs to buy into the vision from the outset and the Project Manager must refer back to the SMART objectives to ensure they are being met at each project stage.

In our ongoing global design competition for London School of Economics the primary aim is for the creation of a low carbon facility to contain the Firoz Lalji Global Hub.  The proposition has been established for design entries to propose either retaining part of the core structure to save embodied carbon – although this could require careful balancing to achieve desired efficiency and floor areas – or demolition to street level while preserving most basement areas.

 

The refurbishment vs demolition cause is increasingly challenging but whilst harder it should not prevent us all from doing the right thing.  3PM as independent creative Project Managers are well placed to solve these increasingly complex problems with our central mission being to provide solutions that make life better for everyone. To achieve this, the sustainability and low carbon agenda is fundamental.

Read more in our CISL project case study.

Read more in our Sawston project case study.

29 Jan 2021

3Qfor3PM

Image Source Nickerson et al., Human Mutation

3Qfor3PM: An interview with Martino Picardo and Rob Burborough

by 3PM

As interest in the life science sector grows and becomes better understood by all of its importance on a global scale, read the view of our science expert Rob around how digital science could be the future and how developers can respond to it.

Rob Burborough: Welcome to the first session of 3 Questions for 3PM. This is an initiative we’re running with external and internal guests. Our first guest is Martino Picardo. Martino, would you introduce yourself please?

Martino Picardo: Hi Rob, hello everyone, my name is Martino Picardo, I’m chairman of Discovery Park, which is the science park based in Sandwich, Kent. Prior to that, I was the first CEO at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, the campus at Stevenage GSK pharmaceutical site, and prior to that, I was University of Manchester Incubator Company Managing Director.

Rob Burborough: Fantastic. I’m a Partner at 3PM and I’ve put myself in front of Martino so he can grill me over 3 questions that he would like to ask me, and I will give my view. Martino, your first question please?

Martino Picardo: Rob, hopefully I’ve got some tough, interesting and challenging questions for you. My first one is: as a developer, how should I position my buildings to maximise their marketing appeal?

Rob Burborough: The way I would suggest that developers position themselves in the best way for answering this tricky question is by understanding the science behind the companies that you’re trying to attract. Really understand what makes their business tick, understand how their business model works, look at the ecosystem in which their company will operate, i.e. don’t just look at their company in isolation, look at other connections that the company may well need to have and who will they need in their proximity? It’s all about building a viable model that is sustainable and allows the company to grow, and allows the company to move into different territories, whilst at the same time providing a space that is flexible to retain the organisation and adapt with them as they grow. To answer this it doesn’t have to be about the big challenges around financial investment headroom resulting in them having to move out of their ecosystem for more suitable space in the future but retain them and provide the solution within the current eco-system.

In a lot of cases, the majority of staff of these companies come out of higher education institutions, they are the kind of companies that developers need to attract initially, yet they don’t have any financial covenant or track record. They do have investors behind them, but they are usually pre revenue generating businesses. So it takes a leap of faith by developers, investors and the company, and the way you assess your viability around a normal risk modelling approach.  If you’re a developer will be better placed to understand where the risks are, what the perception is over the risk, and how would you attract those tenants if you understand the science, their businesses and their growth potential and that they can actually support the growth of this company in this way.

So, another way to look at this is to think about how these companies are formed and want to grow, you need to understand their vision and allow them to space and time to grow. But you also need to be thinking about how, as a developer the wraparound services can be provided, for example, where they are going to get their talent from, where the skills are going to come from in that company.  It’s all about building a stable company that will obviously will be able to pay their rents, and actually will provide the revenue back to the developers to make them a long term and viable tenant

The types of science vary hugely, so developers need to understand what their CAT A base offer will be as well. A base offer in a commercial real estate context can be quite different from a base offer required for an incubator science model. Developers need to understand where there  price point is, what the market will support and what services they will be able to provide. It is vital that the wraparound operational strategy is the how developers can  support a company in delivering what the company wants to achieve. That would be my advice, really understand the detail of the company, is paramount.

Martino Picardo: And Rob, just follow up to that, a lot of customers, like we are with 3PM, we all want flexibility. But I don’t think we understand that flexibility comes at a price. Is that your take?

Rob Burborough: It is, flexibility does come at a price, but it doesn’t come at a “have it or leave it” price point. It’s a case of understanding, do you really need the level of services that you’re asking for? Why do you do that?, and testing the logic behind it, can you buy it more efficiently somewhere else? The key thing for developers and also for tenants that are going to take up science space is knowing they can get it if they need it, but not necessarily needing it on day one or every day. It’s that adaptability, flexibility to flex the needs of the offer with the cost of providing the service

Developers should also be looking to build a level of reversionary value into their estate, so that when these companies grow up and need to grow out, they can repurpose the space again and again quickly. In my view it actually doesn’t cost a huge amount of money to do this with good design, and it all supports the viability of the overall developer’s commercial proposition. There’s been significant increases in science investment of late in this market and it’s becoming much more attractive and much more stable for investment to come into this space. There’s a lot of support from government at the moment, so it doesn’t cost more to provide more services, it just means that you tailor them better and adapt.

Martino Picardo: Thank you for that Rob. My second question, and I’ve got a supplementary to it as well because things are changing so quickly, is what makes science and technology projects so specialised, and, from your perspective, supplementary to that, what impact is digital having on the design and scope of space?

Rob Burborough: There is a perception that science is complex and specialised. Depending on what branch of science you’re working in, some elements are extremely complex. GMP, regulatory control, that is complex, it’s the latter stages of a science journey, but even at the beginning, I think the complexities around science are around the technical considerations and servicing that is needed to provide the environment for the science to be delivered.

I’m a strong believer that it’s a more perceived risk, rather than a real risk, because the systems and technology that provide the environmental control for a given type of science are pretty much the same as anywhere else in any building. It’s just that the controls, the monitoring, and the use of space is different. And, that comes with experience, and learning how scientists do their work, what their day job looks like, what kind of interaction they need?, why they need certain things to be absolutely perfect in certain areas and where they can be more flexible in other areas.

Obviously, this space can be more expensive than a normal commercial office. Things that are going to change, especially with the current situation that we’re all in, is the use of digital. Now, digital science solutions are being deployed in all branches of science  so will the offer need to as well, Its  going to change by allowing scientists to model traditional lab based activities in simulations away from the lab environment.

We’re seeing a shift with less animal work being undertaken, because it’s being increasingly simulated, although some companies do need that technology still, and that ability, but a lot of companies now can simulate models, they can test the efficacy of experiments, they can look at the GMP, the regulatory control they might need, they can work through that simulation in a digital context. The use of data sequencing and genomics are all adding to the digital platform that people use to test what they would normally do in a lab, they can actually do it in a virtual world, quicker, faster, cheaper,, there will be new technology coming in like AI, Machine learning and quantum computing, which will mean they will be able to process multiple things at the same time, so digital is going to have a big influence on the real estate offer and people are going to look closely  at the digital aspects of the science coming forward.

Martino Picardo: Thank you Rob. My last question, and you know that my background is in life sciences and biomedical, but you see science across all sectors. What does science and the space associated with science look like across all sectors? Can you give me a perspective please?

Rob Burborough: Science across all sectors, there are commonalities across all different branches of science. We have the fortunate position as Project Managers to see the whole lifecycle of a project, and in that, we also get to see the different types of science that are carried out.

It becomes much more refined when you get into commercial manufacturing, and there are several branches around different types of manufacturing that go on in the UK and around the world, but at the incubator stage, and in the higher education and academia stage, the labs are all very similar, the landscape is very similar. Incubators are all very similar. The science that is undertaken within them is very different, but also, it’s an ecosystem in its own right that actually, a lot of skillsets are very similar between sciences as well. The big challenge is where are the skills coming from to feed this growth, because I see that, and i see people working in one particular organisation that move to another organisation that do something very differently in science, but the environment that they’re working in is virtually identical.

We’re also seeing a lot more STEM focus in education, in schools, going through higher education into industry. That whole journey is very familiar across a number of scientific platforms. A lot of that I’ve seen in Boston, is where organisations (big Pharma predominately) used to attract talent  out of their ecosystems, in whatever science they were doing, and then they’d have to be forced to specialise in specific areas of science. certain areas.

Now, there are clearly people that still branch off and become specialists, and become world leaders and subject matter experts. But for general science, for incubator science, to some degree and the  AT&P work’s going on, cell and gene therapy, this is a new branch of science, but actually, the skillset is very similar across organisations and  the labs are very similar. What’s we see happening  is you’ve got a more refined scientific topography. Wet labs, dry labs, they’re all very similar now, so it enables people to change career direction and specialism as well. And also, allows organisations to actually use similar technology to deliver what they need.

I don’t see massive differences in the types of labs. There are differences around the particular nuances, but for example, we all talk about the same specialist equipment, everybody uses similar or similar types of the equipment, and you see that across different scientific platforms.

Everybody now seems to be using sequencing machines, genomics, and DNA analysis for targeted precision medicine  in their process development labs, because of that they’re now building enhanced expertise in bioinformatics which is woven into their process. A lot of people are looking at translational science and a lot more focus on the commerciality of science as well. The labs are geared towards moving the process through as quickly as possible, and reducing the vein to vein, bench to bed time by actually thinking about how do we commercialise this product and make it viable and make it cost effective, and that is driving a much more efficient way of using technology, specialist science equipment, and not paying for huge amounts for real estate as well, because actually you can do quite a lot in a smaller space now.

Martino Picardo: Thank you Rob, as a current customer I found that really informative, and I hope you found it challenging and interesting, and we look forward to more success for 3PM in the future.

Rob Burborough: Thank you very much Martino, and I do like being grilled by somebody who can really grill me as well! I really appreciate the questions and the time you’ve given us, thank you very much.

Martino Picardo: You’re very welcome.

 

To continue the conversation please get in touch.

11 Nov 2020

Remembrance – Lest We Forget

Remembrance - Lest We Forget

by 3PM

3PM were pleased to support the Normandy Trust in their project arrangements for this truly inspiring memorial overlooking Gold Beach.

Due to open in June 2021 unique projects like these need unique solutions and we are proud to have played our small part. The memorial will be dedicated to the British men & women, who lost their lives in Normandy. We will remember them.

Memorial Construction Update: The Final Stages