For any real estate project to be successful it must achieve success in three distinct areas: financial, environmental, and social. Only with a collaborative approach involving architects, engineers, planners, and all stakeholders can economic viability, ecological responsibility, and social benefit be guaranteed.

Economic viability, isn’t simply the financial rewards upon exiting or fully tenanting a project it also includes designs that are cost effective to build, operate, aren’t wasteful and are simple to maintain. They should be designed with an emphasis on long term value and minimal operational costs.

The key elements of ecological responsibility are energy efficiency, sustainable materials, media efficiency and contextual impact. The design teams’ goal should be to reduce the environmental impact of the building during its whole life cycle, construction, operation and potential demolition or adaption. All materials used should be checked for their individual sustainability credentials including, its source extraction, manufacturing, delivery, operational impact, and recyclability. The designers should be specifying resource efficient solutions, minimising building demands, waste whilst minimising its impact on local ecosystems.

Social success has both internal and external facets that are critical for success. All buildings should be inherently inclusive and fully accessible with the inclusion of features such as ramps, lifts and facilities to accommodate diverse needs. The design team should endeavour to include the local community in the design process and the ongoing life of the building, considering their needs, preferences, and concerns. This will encourage a sense of ownership and build positive communities. Well-designed spaces with good indoor air quality, that encourage physical activity are proven to enhance productivity and mental well-being. Social success also mean cultural integration, ensuring buildings serve their users and community sympathetically and are a positive addition to the communities they serve.

It used to fall on the shoulders of the design teams alone to act as the stewards of minimizing environmental impact and maximising social potential in their projects. Thankfully this is now changing, not only through recent regulatory changes and sustainability certification systems but also through the genuine concerns of building investors, owners, users and the wider public to produce higher quality, more responsible buildings, and communities.

Thankfully investors, building owners, operators and users are starting to agree that successful buildings make money but equally contribute positively to the overall well-being of individuals and communities while minimizing their environmental footprint.

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