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  • Writer's pictureJustin Bishop

Building a Bright Future: UK Life Sciences Real Estate Soars Amid Challenges.

The life sciences sector is not slowing in terms of interest levels from developers, investors and landlords, according to a recent report.

Gleeds, the independent global Real estate and Construction consultancy specialising in cost management, project management, building surveying and strategic advisory, has produced The UK Construction Market Report 3Q 2023.

The report found that whilst the take-up for science-related real estate was up 36% above the 5-year average, there remains a significant supply versus demand imbalance within what is considered the “golden triangle” of London, Oxford and Cambridge.

In response to this supply issue there are then a number of government-led initiatives to bring together multiple strands of government policy to boost the UK life sciences sector.

One such initiative, “Cambridge 2040” - plans for increased investment in the area as ‘Europe’s Silicon Valley’ and looks to identify large swathes of land for business parks, laboratories and science hubs alongside proposals for sustainable public transport.

From within the industry, Constructing Science, a first-of-its-kind consortium including the report author Gleeds, amongst others, partnered in June 2023.

They did so in response to a lack of accessible and universally agreed design and construction standards guidance. This dynamic tool and standards aim is to expediate building feasibility studies from months to minutes, critical given increased demand.

Galvin Tarling, Gleeds Global Head of Life Sciences, proposed that this knowledge-share will enable decision makers to quickly determine whether an existing, or proposed, lab building is suitable for the type of scientific work they have planned for the space.

“Constructing Science is expected to play a key role in facilitating provision of fit-for purpose laboratory space that has not existed before. By making our collective knowledge available in this dynamic format; it will speed up the process of non technical investors understanding the outline scope for laboratory development.”

Indeed, Tarling is emphatic, “This should be a huge step forward and will propel growth in the UK life sciences sector.”

Despite demand for space and developers working hard to fulfil needs via new build or repurposing, the report found ‘a cautiousness’ within the sector – citing increased interest rates and construction costs.

Gleeds also identified the need for improved insight utilising real-time data as project risks constantly evolve and are subject to external market forces.

They chose to adopt fu3e to help mitigate such risk by providing live dashboards offering a comprehensive view of projects and portfolios.

Real-time data utilization, exemplified by tools like fu3e, is essential for managing evolving project risk and helps expedite vital commercial viability decisions.

Dave Corbin - Senior Direct or & Head of Client Accounts at Gleeds explained,

fu3e has developed an excellent business tool that will change the way we manage our operations across the UK and beyond. The team at fu3e have demonstrated their commitment to their clients through their agility and adaptability. It has been a pleasure working with them to develop our bespoke solution.”

The life sciences sector's good health and promising growth prospects are underpinned by these innovative approaches and collaborative initiatives.

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