Rising to the Challenges of 2022

The focus on Net Zero and Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) will become even sharper over the next 12 months, says Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) managing partner David Robinson.

He believes businesses that rise to the challenges of those issues will have an added edge when it comes to securing business moving forward.

The acceleration towards net zero and the pressure to hit national targets will increasingly impact on building design and construction.  David says: “COP26 in Glasgow at the end of last year has brought the issue firmly into focus.

“Businesses want to do the right thing when it comes to the environment and the construction sector must rise to that challenge.

“It means a continuing focus on sustainable design and construction strategies. The challenge begins during the design stage and the work needed to reduce embodied carbon in buildings. The government is really driving this agenda forward.”

David adds: “Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) is another subject that we will continue to hear more about.

“Growing numbers of businesses are starting to be aware of the role they need to play when it comes to issues like employee welfare and the environment.

“With ESG playing an increasing role in pitching and tendering for projects businesses that don’t have policies in place will find themselves out in the cold.”

FWP is on several key local authority and public sector frameworks and David says: “You have to demonstrate that you are not just paying lip service but that you actually believe in ESG, and you are actively working to make a difference.”

Architecture, design and masterplanning practice FWP is looking forward to a positive 2022, with a number of major projects in the pipeline.

Preston headquartered FWP, which also has offices in Manchester and London, has a successful track record of project delivery in sectors that range from hospitality and leisure to health.

And David sees both of those sectors continuing to grow and develop over the next 12 months, with the trend for staycations and ongoing NHS investment driving new projects. Education is another area set to expand, with some ambitious projects in the North West.

David says: “The public sector outlook is very positive. The NHS is continuing its work to improve facilities, as it has done throughout the pandemic. We’re also seeing more investment in education.

“In the private sector, we’re seeing rising investment in hospitality and tourism as businesses look to the end of the pandemic and work to take advantage of the rise in demand for ‘staycations’ in the UK.

“Overall things are looking very positive. We will be working with a number of hotel groups this year on projects that will create new venues and refurbish and refresh existing ones.

“The sector has had a tough time during the pandemic, but people have been looking to spend money, so they are ready to take full advantage of the forecast boom in UK holidays and that trend looks set to continue.”

However, there are challenges to be faced. They include the rising cost of materials and shortages in key skill areas in construction.

David says: “All the indications are that material costs will continue to rise throughout 2022 and that will be a challenge.

“Resources in terms of people, in areas such as bricklaying, are also in short supply, with the boom in the housing market and all the demands that brings in terms of recruitment, adding to the pressure.”