Property industry will innovate amid Covid-19 according to East Mids professionals

Wayne Oakes, director at Dice.

Innovation will be key to helping the property and construction industry navigate a post COVID-19 world according to a panel of experts from the East Midlands speaking at a virtual round table event this month.

Seven industry experts met online to take part in the inaugural Dice Connect event hosted by civil and structural engineering practice, Dice. The event looked in detail at how the industry is responding to lockdown and opportunities in the short and long term for innovation within the sector.

Director at Dice, Wayne Oakes, who initially proposed the event said: “The theme of the first Dice Connect was very much about what is happening now within the property and construction industry as a result of COVID-19 with a view to what happens next.

“We discussed a range of challenges facing the industry at the moment, but also considered some of the opportunities that are presenting themselves both now and into the short- and longer-term future.

“As a panel, I think we all agreed that we are going to see quite a lot of innovation in the industry. Businesses are going to have to look at the way they do business and we know that the way we develop business opportunities is going to change. We might also see a shift in terms of how we use space – whether that be through less densely populated office floor spaces or a move towards people wanting more outdoor space at home.”

The discussion highlighted areas including the housebuilding industry which ground to a halt almost overnight with major housebuilders pausing works on site and halting progress on numerous developments across the country – as well as those areas where demand has increased, such as the logistics sector and certain retail, such as supermarkets.

Wayne added: “It became clear through the discussion that while we are all adjusting to social distancing measures and how we adjust to working on site safely, there are areas of the industry where there is opportunity at the moment and innovation will be really key.

“Whether that be through thinking creatively about sites which may now be able to come to market given potential challenges for local authorities in terms of their five-year land supplies, or a shift towards modular construction to stimulate the market, there are definitely some potentially interesting shifts to the industry ahead.

“Innovation really will be at the heart. While there is no doubt this is a challenging time for everyone, we firmly believe there could be some real positives to come out of it as we assess how we work in the most agile and sustainable way possible.”

The event was attended by: Wayne Oakes at Dice, Nick Grace from planning consultancy Grace Machin, Jenny Clarke from developer Tungsten Properties, Martin Valentine from Positive Homes, Gerard Toplass from framework provider Pagabo, Aiden Bell of Joe Player Architects, Geoff Tindsley from Edge and was hosted by Annie Brafield from Cartwright Communications.