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Developers more cautious after economic downturn

Clients see benefit of good design concept

Godwin Austen Johnson’s Jason Burnside.
Godwin Austen Johnson’s Jason Burnside.

The economic downturn has meant developers are taking greater care when commissioning projects according to Godwin Austen Johnson’s Jason Burnside.

Clients also understand the benefits that can come from a good design concept as they seek to ensure maximum return on an investment, he added.

“You are not going to see people spending stupidly now,” he said. “As developers look more thoroughly into a project they can see the benefit of a good design so that is a positive thing.

“Also, when we are looking to work with a developer what we want to see is a proven track record. We need to see that the client has a record of putting out projects we feel we can contribute to.

“An architect practice needs to work with people who share broadly similar aims.”

But the upper hand in the developer-design team relationship still rests with the client, Burnside, Middle East Architect of the Year 2012, said.

“I don’t think we, as part of a service industry, will ever be able to dictate terms to a developer,” he said. “We architects are players, not the team manager and they will always seek us out through a competitive process.

“But from our point of view, before taking on work, we do need to decide whether this is a project which is going to be carried through or just a concept which will be flipped-on.” 

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Construction Week - Issue 761
Mar 21, 2020