Category: Uncategorized

18 Jul 2023

Never has the need to validate Life Sciences data been more crucial

Never has the need to validate Life Sciences data been more crucial

by Rob Burborough, Partner at 3PM


What do these statements all have in common?
The Great Wall of China can be seen from Space.
Humans have five senses.
We only use 10% of our brain capacity.*

The answer is that they are all false but widely believed to be true. Why? Because enough people have presented them as facts over
time and people never really researched the original presentation source.

We are at a critical point in the Life Sciences evolution where there is a lot of the same data flying around – the highest demand for
lab space, no space available, too much space in the pipeline.

Is there really a lack of R&D space or is it more the wrong kind of space in the wrong areas? Or is there, however, a lack of
understanding and experience propagating this statement as fact because it’s too complex to imagine space being freed up from
other sectors to plug the gap?

When it comes to conversion and retrofitting, Life Sciences is really no different from other sectors: it seems difficult but, coupled
with genuine insight into the sector at a macro level, the right building and adaptable /flexible fit-out is possible. On the flip side,
some are oversimplifying the conversion of offices to labs – a large proportion simply wouldn’t work for the sometimes unique and
intricate requirements of different science occupiers future undefined needs.

Thus – on the occupier requirement need – the smart thing to do is question where the data comes from, validate it and question how
it is captured in a timely manner and deployed successfully as an investment decision making tool.

For example on the demand side an agent may be looking for lab space of between 50,000 sq ft to 100,000 sq ft for a tenuous client over
18 months to 3 years but the client isn’t fully bought in to moving and the initial demand requirement may of course change, disappear,
shrink or grow as technology adapts. If those compiling the total demand figures have, say three or four of these included in their figures,
the demand total – presented as research – could be as much as 50% inaccurate. But, as it’s research, the market takes it and uses it again
and again thereby validating the need as fact. When in fact the need is a culmination of many moving parts held by many different organisations.
It’s not a unified approach.

While on the supply side, we may have a scheme with a variety of tenure sizes, complete with ancillary services and common areas. Generally,
these are marketed as spaces available to suite the science need from 1,000 to 50,000 sq ft but some might not include the total of shared or
flexible space and some will which leads to confusion over the common baseline. To an agent or researcher crunching figures over total supply,
that’s quite a discrepancy to factor in when assessment total independent validatable demand.

These examples work the other way around too of course: I’m not implying that demand isn’t there and supply is but pointing out that it’s
important to check the data when financing, developing and determining the strategy is important along with more tangible business case
and projects decisions involved.

We must also challenge what is being included and how it is being measured in these requirements: gross vs net, core vs common areas,
plant v floor plate, what is the chargeable structure for tenants on this basis?

The truth is, there are few genuinely experienced professionals in life sciences who see all the data from all sources with many experts entering
the market post-Covid. Usual real estate knowledge doesn’t automatically translate, and it takes a tried and tested practitioner in both science
and property to know what to ask and how to plan for any number of workspace idiosyncrasies different SciTech or bio pharma firms want
incorporated in their bespoke space.

And that’s without the curve ball of balancing conflicting needs of, for example, a biological occupier who needs constant and regulated
environment for part of the space, against operational sustainability that will ultimately deliver net zero.

That’s not to say that it’s too complicated to convert existing property into lab space for example. But suffice to say that it’s more complicated
than designing standard commercial space and expecting a one size fits all for a variety of lab fit out needs.

Those who recognise this will be the ones who question the data. It’s crucial that they do to facilitate the evolution of the sector to accommodate
the right space being delivered and avoid market dislocation.

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

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.