New regulations introduced by the government could dis-courage office refurbishment, leading to wasteful demolitions and new build in the region, warns workplace transformation specialist Morgan Lovell.
More than 75 business and property professionals attended a Morgan Lovellsponsored seminar in Birmingham's Radisson SAS hotel to discuss the implications of new building regulations designed to make build-ings more energy efficient which were introduced last month.
The new regulations, named Part F (Ventilation) and Part L (Energy Efficiency), apply to new and existing commercial buildings that undergo any form of change.
That could include extension, alteration, and revision of a controlled element such as air conditioning or change of use.
Paul Downing, managing director of Morgan Lovell's Birmingham office, says: "As a result of this new legislation, the process of redesigning an office has become more complicated.
"Some office occupiers who believe it is too onerous to refurbish existing property could now consider new build-ing options instead.
"Longer term, this could make a significant impact on the property industry as a whole.
"Opening up older buildings to new and multiple uses is often crucial to their survival and encourages the vitality of the surrounding area.
"Without the energy or patience to undertake this sort of work, there is an uncertain f uture for this type of character-rich building."
Energy consumed by build-ings is estimated to account for 40 per cent of the total energy consumed in Europe, and these regulations aim to improve inefficient buildings and promote a more eco-friendly agenda.
Cutting down on energy consumption could provide a quick win for the EU, which has estimated a 22 per cent saving in energy consumption by 2010, just by focusing attention on this area.
Mr Downing says: "We are urging facilities managers and all others involved in delivering an office for the future not to panic.
"Sustainability has moved from the fringes to being a desirable feature in a property, and the next one to five years will see it become an essential.
"As with any legislation and change, it simply takes time to adjust and is easier than most people think to accommodate."
Keynote speakers included approved inspector Peter Shattock and Riccardo Rizzi, environmental manager for Morgan Lovell.