Max­imis­ing the value of real es­tate

EME Outlook - - Front Page - Writer: Matthew Staff | Project Man­ager: Tom Cul­lum

As a glob­ally-renowned real es­tate com­pany com­pris­ing more than 75,000 em­ploy­ees around the world, it would seem that, on the face of it, CBRE has ce­mented its po­si­tion among the in­dus­try elite; but for a mul­ti­dis­ci­plined spe­cial­ist that places con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment at the heart of its struc­ture, the job is never done.

CBRE Façade Con­sul­tancy is one of sev­eral spe­cial­ist ser­vice lines oper­at­ing within the UK build­ing con­sul­tancy, headed by EMEA Ex­ec­u­tive, David Hitch­cock, and it com­prises a turnkey of­fer­ing that en­tails as­pects of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tancy, me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal ser­vices, ver­ti­cal trans­porta­tion, ge­o­mat­ics and 3D, and plan­ning.

“CBRE is the only real es­tate con­sul­tancy to have its own in-house but in­de­pen­dent Façade Con­sul­tancy. This pro­vides a ‘one-stop’ ser­vice wherein all other ser­vices are fully- in­te­grated; the client be­ing the ul­ti­mate win­ner,” in­tro­duces Fa­cade Con­sul­tancy Di­rec­tor, Diego Alves. “Over­all, the Com­pany pro­vides com­pre­hen­sive val­u­a­tion, ad­vi­sory and con­sult­ing ser­vices for real es­tate own­ers, in­vestors and len­ders, com­bin­ing spe­cialised ex­per­tise and pre­mier tech­nolo­gies to de­liver in­dus­try-lead­ing ad­vice.

“We of­fer our clients unique per­spec­tives and ac­cess to the largest val­u­a­tion data­base and the most valu­able pro­pri­etary data in the in­dus­try. This is done with one key ob­jec­tive in mind: en­abling our clients to make con­fi­dent, in­formed busi­ness de­ci­sions.”

CBRE Ltd is among For­tune’s list of the top 500 largest Us-based pub­lic com­pa­nies, but closer to home in EMEA, a host of value-add of­fer­ings help to add fur­ther strings to the com­pany bow. These in­clude ad­vi­sory and trans­ac­tion ser­vices, cap­i­tal mar­kets, in­dus­trial and lo­gis­tics, sus­tain­abil­ity, as­set ser­vices

and Alves’ afore­men­tioned niche, Fa­cade Con­sul­tancy.

“In the UK we have fur­ther spe­cialisms in­clud­ing val­u­a­tion and ad­vi­sory ser­vices, global work­place so­lu­tions and in­vest­ment prop­er­ties,” he con­tin­ues. “And ul­ti­mately, across these pa­ram­e­ters, the as­pi­ra­tion of the Com­pany is to be a mar­ket leader, glob­ally, and par­tic­u­larly in re­gard to the qual­ity and breadth of com­mer­cial and tech­ni­cal ad­vice we pro­vide to our clients.

“This has made clients very suc­cess­ful in their in­di­vid­ual en­deav­ours and we ex­pect that that trust will con­tinue un­abated in the years to come. I have no doubt that in the fol­low­ing years, that goal will be achieved and hope­fully sur­passed.”

Qual­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism

CBRE Ltd as it is known to­day is a busi­ness heavy­weight and a renowned name in in­dus­try cir­cles, but its road to promi­nence can be traced back as far as 200 years ago, ini­tially as Richard El­lis be­fore be­ing in­cor­po­rated by US com­pany, Cold­well Banker to be­come CB Richard El­lis.

Later trans­form­ing into to­day’s guise, the jour­ney has been re­mark­able and CBRE now stands as a truly global en­tity with façade con­sul­tancy ser­vices that em­anate from as far afield as Mum­bai, Jo­han­nes­burg, and nu­mer­ous Euro­pean hubs.

“This can change day-to-day as well, de­pend­ing on the source of en­quiry,” Alves notes. “The Façade Con­sul­tancy ser­vices clients within CBRE but also those who ap­proach us di­rectly, ap­pre­ci­at­ing our wide range of tech­ni­cal and com­mer­cial ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge base.

“We there­fore, reg­u­larly, cover port­fo­lio work across EMEA and one of our strengths is the quick re­sponse and turn­around of such in­struc­tions, whether they re­quire ac­tual on-site pres­ence or in­for­ma­tion re­view.”

The abil­ity to act flex­i­bly and quickly as an au­tonomous strand of a gi­ant or­gan­i­sa­tion has proved to be a key ad­van­tage for each CBRE sub­sidiary, and es­pe­cially for its Façade Con­sul­tancy di­vi­sion. And it has also fa­cil­i­tated con­certed di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of ser­vice lines as a con­se­quence.

“We have evolved to re­spond to client-driven re­quests for façade- re­lated ser­vices in­clud­ing health & safety as­pects, and one ex­am­ple has seen CBRE im­ple­ment over­head glaz­ing in­spec­tions as stan­dard in own-man­aged prop­er­ties, but also as a stand­alone in­de­pen­dent ser­vice for ex­ter­nal clients,” Alves ex­plains. “Other new skills are re­lated to project man­age­ment or her­itage to name a few, which com­ple­ment core ser­vices which in­clude ex­pert wit­ness in le­gal cases, to prepa­ra­tion of planned pre­ven­tive main­te­nance in­spec­tions, and sched­ules to façade re­ports for ac­qui­si­tion or dis­posal of prop­er­ties.

“Across the board we have em­braced and re­sponded to each client’s de­mands.”

A more poignant re­cent in­stance has fol­lowed on from the tragic Gren­fell House Fire in Lon­don, whereby CBRE has sub­se­quently re­sponded to Gov­ern­ment’s and prop­erty own­ers’ calls for as­sis­tance in find­ing more ap­pro­pri­ate so­lu­tions to safe­guard against fire risks; a no­tion that show­cases CBRE’S rep­u­ta­tion in the mar­ket and re­gion, and its ex­per­tise across crit­i­cal do­mains.

Alves adds: “CBRE is heav­ily in­volved with a con­sid­er­able num­ber of high pro­file clients and their prop­er­ties, par­tic­u­larly with our in­volve­ment in ac­qui­si­tions or dis­posal of prime real es­tate in EMEA. We have been in­volved in some of the largest trans­ac­tions in the UK, in­clud­ing the largest Lon­don prop­erty trans­ac­tion in UK his­tory.

“The qual­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism of all our ser­vice lines is com­pounded by our vast ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­pert knowl­edge of the real es­tate in­dus­try.”

In­creased com­plex­ity

The façade team has worked on and mon­i­tored a va­ri­ety of iconic prop­er­ties both in Lon­don and abroad across de­sign and con­struc­tion op­er­a­tions; of­fer­ing ad­vice and con­sul­tancy ex­per­tise on de­sign is­sues, long-term per­for­mance, cost ef­fec­tive­ness, gen­eral ef­fi­cien­cies and le­gal ex­pert wit­ness.

And Alves sheds light on why such a seem­ingly sta­ple con­trib­u­tor car­ries so much im­por­tance: “A qual­ity façade rep­re­sents about 20-35 per­cent of the cap­i­tal cost of a project. The in­creased com­plex­ity and ar­chi­tec­tural ar­tic­u­la­tion of the façade im­poses a huge bur­den in the de­sign, spec­i­fi­ca­tion and de­liv­ery of a façade, so that it will pro­vide the per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics de­manded of it.

“At CBRE we go be­yond these stages and also ad­vise clients on the façade per­for­mance dur­ing its ser­vice life or up­grade/re­place­ment op­tions.”

Fa­cil­i­tat­ing such scope in a com­plex space is a se­ries of in­ter­nal im­prove­ments cour­tesy of the wider CBRE group, in­clud­ing a host of year- on-year tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments, soft­ware im­prove­ments - in­clud­ing e-fil­ing - and cloud plat­forms to en­sure the Com­pany’s in­ter­nal in­fra­struc­ture can keep ahead of the busi­ness’s own ex­ten­sive growth.

A niche within a niche

Per­haps un­der­stand­ably though, the key in­ter­nal as­set is at­trib­uted as the Com­pany’s work­force and driv­ing HR team which en­sures the suc­cess of op­ti­mum hir­ing, train­ing and re­ten­tion strate­gies.

Alves en­thuses: “CBRE has many long­stand­ing em­ploy­ees be­cause the Com­pany has cre­ated an ex­cel­lent work­ing en­vi­ron­ment, fo­cus­ing on proac­tive man­age­ment style, ex­tra­mu­ral ac­tiv­i­ties and di­ver­sity. It is part of CBRE’S CSR pol­icy to ac­tively en­gage em­ploy­ees in ac­tiv­i­ties with a so­cial as­pect.

“This has been a very suc­cess­ful ap­proach, demon­strated by our three- year part­ner­ship pro­gramme with Shel­ter, a UK char­ity, where we have raised more than £1M.”

Alves goes on to note that the unique skill-sets and the di­verse, mul­ti­lin­gual make-up of the staff com­pli­ment is what keeps CBRE in an en­vi­able mar­ket po­si­tion, as it fa­cil­i­tates be­ing able to cover the full spec­trum of client re­quire­ments, in­dus­try de­mo­graph­ics and ge­o­graphic re­gions.

“The Façade Con­sul­tancy team at CBRE has a real ad­van­tage in that we are the only real es­tate ad­vi­sors to pro­vide such a range and qual­ity of ser­vices,” he con­cludes. “It is said that façade en­gi­neer­ing is a niche pro­fes­sion and this may be true.

“How­ever the Façade Con­sul­tancy team at CBRE is a niche within a niche: we are façade ex­perts in the real es­tate in­dus­try, thus of­fer­ing clients a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ap­proach to their as­set or in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity.”

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