Market trends

To find out more about the direction the market is heading, we sat down with Ronnie Myatt (Business Development Manager).

How is the industry changing in terms of the style of buildings being built and does this suit us?

The architecture of today is an ever-changing and evolving piece. There is a continual drive by architects and clients to create buildings that are more sustainable and more efficient. Where we see the effect of this, is that there is far more focus placed upon BREEAM and increased thermal efficiencies needing to be achieved across the façade.

In addition to this, clients are not satisfied with mediocrity when it comes to the design of their buildings which as a result, architects are continuing to push-the-boundaries of what has been achieved before. This in a way, is great for Colorminium because we are known for Engineering the Exceptional when it comes to façade design.  With our focus on innovative design, we can bring great ideas and advice to clients and architects during the early design stages in assisting the development of the façade design.

What’s your favourite project?

That’s a hard question, having been involved with well over 100 schemes, each one is different. But I think personally I would have to say the Emily Wilding Davison Building – Royal Holloway University has to be one of the best. When you look at the building, it really amplifies everything that Colorminium is about. A highly complex façade with numerous interfaces and complexities – to name a few, we had:

  • Inclined front entrance screen with glass panels 7m high by 2m wide
  • Pure folded, perforated, copper cladding
  • Extruded unglazed, Terracotta Baguettes – some 8000m of them!
  • Ceramic Black Granite Cladding
  • Bronze Anodised Cladding forming projecting pods
  • 3 or 4 large rooflights with automatically operated blinds for solar shading
  • Aluminium Anodised Curtain Walling incorporating brise soleil solar shading and opening vents
  • Fire-Rated Facades – the list goes on

It was a project that truly showcased Colorminium’s motto – Engineering the Exceptional. We were given the concrete frame by Osborne the main contractor and we took control of the whole building envelope. The complete façade was Colorminium’s responsibility which is where we score best. All interfacing and design coordination was limited to as fewer trades as possible resulting in us having greater control of the envelope.

Having been involved with the project for some 18 months prior to the project being issued for tender, there was little we didn’t know about the project. We worked closely with Associated Architects in developing the façade design and assisting Faithful + Gould in ensuring the cost plan was aligned to the façade design throughout the Stage 2 & 3 design. When the project finally came out to tender to the main contractors under a two-stage, we provided advice and tender support to all of the main contractors who in return named us in their tender submissions. The process worked well, and we were able to bring value to all the parties involved.

Where do you see the current procurement trends for clients in the industry?

There appears to be a drive from clients at the moment to gain greater insight into project costs far earlier in the design process. Clients are continually getting more frustrated by great aspirational designs that fundamentally cannot be built for the budget. As a result, we are seeing more and more clients wanting façade contractors like ourselves involved during the design process to ensure the cost plan and the façade design are fully aligned.

Why is relationship building so crucial to your role?

As you know, people buy from people and we are continuing to build upon relationships that were created well over 20 years ago with some of the founders of Colorminium. Only the other day, I was speaking to a good friend and client and he shared how he had enjoyed working with Colorminium ever since 1993.

We are in the business of helping people realise their dreams, fulfil their aspirations and achieve their ambitions. The more relationships we can create and the wider the sphere of influence we create, the more people we can help.

What is the biggest macroeconomic factor affecting the market currently?

There are two macroeconomic factors

  • Brexit
  • Change in Government

Both of them we have virtually no control over. Brexit is upon us and there is nothing we can do to change it, however, it would appear that although there was an initial tremor in the industry with a few schemes being delayed or put on hold, in most cases, these schemes are now fully live, and investors are beginning to see past Brexit and realise that the UK and London marketplace in particular is still open-for-business.

A change in government is the one factor which is of most concern, and appears to be the case for a lot of investors and clients we have spoken to. Again, we have little control over if this happens or not, but the outcome could be catastrophic for the industry.