The Big Challenges for Commercial Building in the 21st Century

Written by  //  July 29, 2011  //  Home Construction  //  1 Comment

It’s already becoming obvious that commercial building in the 21st century is going to be a very different ball game from the “Malls R Us” concepts of the 20th century. The New Economy is turning commerce into a warehousing exercise, and “commercial building” can now be a very broad definition of any premises used for commercial purposes. If you consider the likely future for property development in Sydney or some other major city with a large amount of dedicated space for retail and other commercial properties, it’s a truly fascinating picture of what might be.

The New Commercial Building Ideas- The story so far

Technology is making a lot of different types of commerce obsolete. White goods manufacturers are saving themselves a fortune by warehousing and selling direct online. Retailers are phasing out expensive shopfronts. Meanwhile, the New Economy businesses, which are essentially business units which outsource their administrative and in many cases production, are spreading out across the commercial world.

That situation creates a few problems for commercial property developers, not least of which is a series of major shifts in commercial property demand and usage. The demand for space is changing, and the demand for traditional commercial properties is likely to change drastically. Malls could be a thing of the past, if the online trade continues to take huge chunks out of the retail market. Office blocks could also become things of the past, as technology allows people to do business more efficiently and much more cheaply from home.

So- Is this the end of the commercial building world? No, and definitely not. The commercial building world as we know it will undergo some major paradigm changes. However- there are a few less obvious indicators emerging already, and ironically the next generation of commercial building is likely to be on a very different basis and a much larger scale than ever before.

The current economy is in transition. What appears to be a mass movement away from commercial property conventions are in fact multiple movements towards specialized commercial space requirements. Technology and the New Economy are simply redefining commercial space usage. Commercial property owners and developers can benefit from this process.

People may not need huge shops and gigantic office spaces any more, but they do need business and production space. This means that demand for commercial space will be qualified by needs, but also means that the volume of demand will increase over time. Small business units like the New Economy businesses really need communications and operations centers. A lot of the new production types, like 3D printing, require dedicated space on the same basis as the old industrial estates. Commercial builders may find themselves building some quite advanced, “smart” buildings and some fancy project management issues, but the demand will be high.

Similarly, the reinvention of commercial spaces will affect everything from restaurant interior design and commercial flooring down to individual space designs on the CAD plans. Modular and customizable design is likely to become a standard design practice. The commercial building industry needn’t worry about its future. It should, however, worry about its ability to meet demand. The old commercial designs need to be replaced, fast, because the next wave of commercial development will be re-development of the old commercial zones. 

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One Comment on "The Big Challenges for Commercial Building in the 21st Century"

  1. NWSM Building Group November 9, 2017 at 12:20 am ·

    Wow! These are big challenges indeed. Thanks for this article, it’s just so right.

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