RLB on MIPIM 2019

School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Wolverhampton – One of RLB’s projects

With MIPIM (12-15 March) nearly upon us, many of those working in the construction and property sector will be wondering what the next year ahead will mean to their industry.  With still no deal on the table for the UK and the 29 March deadline two weeks exactly from the end of MIPIM there will be much talk about how the UK continues to operate post its inclusion in the EU.

There are two pressing concerns. Firstly, the fact that 60% of all imported construction materials that presently are sourced from the EU could face tariffs and transportation barriers and secondly, the questions over the EU workers’ rights and the availability of EU labour on UK construction sites.

But what does this mean for those of us working within the West Midlands? An impressive number of tower cranes currently grace the skyline in Birmingham. Current activity across all the West Midlands is buoyant. Pipeline projects in planning are strong, but with Brexit looming, regional project starts are being stretched out. However, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and Coventry City of Culture are two fixed dates dictating project activity.


The level of activity on Build-to-Rent projects continues to grow, with a seemingly strong investor appetite for the new asset class. Site assembly currently appears one of the few brakes on realisation of the enthusiasm.

The challenged retail sector will undoubtedly have an impact on city centre projects in Birmingham as across wider West Midlands towns and cities. Proposals have already been announced for the re-purposing of Birmingham’s House of Fraser store.

Commercially, the industrial and logistics sector remains active, with a number of large new sites expected to come forward in the next couple of quarters, the secondary market and out of town locations are expected to be the next sub-sector growth areas.

Hotel projects are also expected to increase, with Birmingham hotels performing better than many regional cities but having lower quartile new openings forecast for 2019.

Supply Chain

Tier two contractors remain stretched in many trades. Tier ones may need to look beyond their established supply chains to meet demand; growth will be balanced against risk of supply chain expansion. Sustainable growth may not be able to be supported within existing chains.

Modern methods of construction have seen some increase in take up, but without significant impact on capacity.

A number of the RLB team are attending MIPIM including Birmingham’s Managing Partner Adam Ellis-Morgan, Matthew Brooker, Head of Commercial Sector, Paul Sambrook, Head of Residential, Dean Sheehy, UK Board Director and Andrew Reynolds, UK and Global Board Director.  We are keen to support all those working in the property and construction sector through Brexit and beyond and work collaboratively to bring longevity and resilience to the industry. To arrange a meeting during MIPIM, email [email protected] or email the team directly.

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