Rapid changes in technology are providing major challenges to developers to ensure they do not deliver obsolete commercial and residential buildings, says Miguel Rodrigues a project manager with the award winning Rabie Property Group.
“Developers are having to adapt to accommodate the demanding needs of consumers, particularly the under 30s who, armed with their smart phones, ipods and ipads are quite literally mobile offices and their needs differ considerably to many older consumers.” Rodrigues says it is usually at least three years from the time a development is conceptualized to when it comes on stream. “What was perceived to be cutting edge at the time of planning, could well be outdated if not obsolete by the time the building is ready for occupation so we are having to change how we plan and design our developments in order to ‘future proof’ them.”
Rodrigues said that gone were the days of developers entering into long-term contracts on behalf of body corporate with technology service providers. “Five or so years ago it was common practice for developers to negotiate long term contracts for things like telephones, DSTV, internet at favourable rates with service providers for all purchasers within a development. The cost of these services would then be included in owners’ monthly levies for the duration of the contracts. At the time we believed we were providing our purchasers with hassle-free, cost effective, cutting edge solutions. However technology has advanced so significantly since then and purchasers’ needs are now different. A 30 year old with an IPAD, laptop with a 3g card, smart phone and the like does not need or want to be locked into paying for an ASDL line or other services he or she might not need but which less techno-savvy purchasers might still want. We don’t know what further technology advances lie ahead so to prevent new developments from becoming outdated we need to look instead at providing future proof infrastructure which enables future owners a greater choice and flexibility of technology services,” he said.