Be it in technology, processes, or simply mindset, consumers are frequently ahead of business in the adoption of new best practices and techniques.
This is evidently the case in commercial real estate, where change can be painfully slow to materialize and the amazing advancements we see in our personal lives seem to only gradually enter the working world.
Imagine for a moment the bewilderment of a young professional, fresh out of school, who enters a real estate office stacked full of paper . . . having never known a day when electronic communication was not his first option. This is the type of dissociation happening every day.
The next generation of young developer and owner is coming of age. They are the sons and daughters of established family firms – or new entrepreneurial entrants looking to transform and revitalize neighbourhoods anew.
Higher-quality, more-efficient product
They are keen to approach real estate in a new way that uses technology to create a higher-quality, more-efficient, and more effective product.
As agents of our clients, we are mandated to serve in their best interest and deliver solutions that are “outside the box” by the standards of our industry, but are in fact expected by this new class of client who has grown up with innovation as the norm.
“That’s the way it has always been done” is not an acceptable reason to avoid proposing progressive solutions with these clients.
Lags in construction methods
One of the most significant ways commercial real estate in Canada lags residential real estate is in construction methods.
For decades, modular buildings have provided beautiful accommodation to thousands of families – and in the past decade this construction technique has been applied to the commercial realm as well.
Yet despite the advantages of quality, cost control, and speed of delivery, builders today continue to return to construction methods that are little changed from the 1960s.
On a recent trip to a leading modular construction company in Canada – Industries Bonneville – I had the pleasure of touring a state-of-the-art facility producing hundreds of modules destined to form new apartment buildings across Canada and the United States.
The speed with which these units can be delivered, and the constant quality that can be produced in a factory setting is the type of innovative solution the next generation of developer expects.
When construction waste and delivery times can be reduced so easily, all while controlling costs and increasing quality – the question becomes: Why is adoption of modular construction not more extensive?
Speed of delivery and cost very important
From the early days of standardized buildings being used to house returning WW1 veterans, speed of delivery and cost have been of paramount concern.
In this. the modular industry still harkens back to its earliest days, but the sophistication and customization that has now been achieved with this building approach is truly astonishing.
As advisors, it is beholden on us to widen the horizon of our clients – to make sure they consider alternative methods of construction and not simply settle on the same-old approach. This is not just technology for technology’s sake, but a clear step forward in how business is done.
There is an opportunity here. An opportunity for agents with vision to guide their clients to better options – options that align with the expectation of excellence that developers have today.