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Meet us at the London Stand during MIPIM 2017


Holly Porter on MIPIM 2017

This week I was asked to be guest blogger over on the ‘Maximising MIPIM’ blog, where I was tasked with predicting what will be ‘hot topics’ of conversation at this year’s event. These were my thoughts:

MIPIM is a melting pot for the world’s property industry. Once delegates from the UK cross the channel and converge in Cannes, events from the past year get boiled down and conversations – whether with old contacts or new connections – tend to revolve around a few select themes. Here are my predictions for what will be the “hot topics” at this year’s MIPIM:

Brexit: the London stand is an established feature at MIPIM, but this will be first time when it will present itself while preparing to depart from the EU. It’s unquestionable that Brexit will feature heavily at MIPIM – both in general conversation and at the various formal talks and panel discussions. We should use it as an opportunity to show that, despite the outlook back home, London and the UK is still attractive to a global market.

The housing crisis: With the Housing White Paper only recently published, and the UK in the midst of a serious housing shortage, how we can make meaningful change in this area will certainly be a hot topic at this year’s MIPIM. With developers, financiers, city leaders, agents, local authorities, architects and planners all in one place at one time, MIPIM will provide the perfect platform to get to heart of this issue and hold genuine talks on how to solve it.

PRS: The new kid on the block or an old acquaintance that we’ve only recently reconnected with? Rewind to 1917 and the private rented sector accounted for around 90% of all UK homes. A change in mind-set is desperately needed here; the property industry is ahead of curve compared to the average homeowner so discussions about how we reverse misconceptions and instigate a step change in thinking back home should be high priority at MIPIM.

The weather: We Brits can’t resist the opportunity to moan about the weather – too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy. Last year it was so varied we’re still remembering it one year on – who could forget “Wet Wednesday”!? At least if you exhaust all other topics and find a lull in conversation, you can always play up to the stereotype and fall back on this old reliable. Let’s just hope that this year the climate in Cannes gives us little to complain about!

Holly Porter, Founding Director of Surface to Air

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Read Holly's comments on the recent housing white paper, focusing on 'offsite' housing

Modular housing will be the key to unlocking the housing crisis so, while it is good to see the Government making reference to it in last week’s Housing White Paper, it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. We needed to see more commitment to delivering housing through modern methods of construction.

The Government’s recommendation that both traditional and modern methods of construction receive the same access to funding is right, but it’s use needs to be actively encouraged – or indeed enforced – if we are to build the number of homes necessary within the short timeframe needed. There needs to be a fundamental shift in mind-set - modular housing must be a natural consideration for the design and delivery of every scheme, instead of an after-thought or novelty component. 

Offsite construction cuts time to housing delivery, improves design quality and can in the end be cost-effective when delivered at scale. Industry game-changers, such as Laing O’Rourke and L&G, are starting to systemise the modular housing build process at scale, which is delivering more security and normalising the approach for funders who have hitherto been cautious about its success rate.

The announcement was a step forward, but to maximise the full potential of modular housing, the method needs to be totally integrated into the wider house-building process. What we would like to see is offsite construction becoming a guaranteed element – or at the least a consideration – in any development.

Holly Porter, Founding Director, Surface to Air

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