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live, work & play: the unique build concerns of a mixed-use project.

Developments that people can work, live and relax in make the best use of any space. They offer people convenience on a massive scale, which explains why more mixed-use projects are cropping up across Asia, North America and – particularly – the UK. 

But the way in which they’re designed and built is entirely unique, posing different challenges to the construction teams behind them. Bringing the best people on board is crucial if a project is to complete on time and on budget. So, what must they consider? 

We have some answers. 

Different environments have to function together
 

When someone enters a mixed-use site, they might work eight hours in an office, take a lunchtime gym break, head to a bar at 6pm and pick up some shopping on their way home – all in the same building. Apartments may even be waiting on the upper floors. 

From a construction perspective, that means ensuring that every ‘zone’ (residential, commercial and leisure) is laid out perfectly. Each area’s size and utility requirements have to be carefully considered, but the areas should also work together. 

Walkways and entry points have to be clear. Ceilings should be higher for public areas to give a greater sense of space. Transport, access and ventilation must be appropriate for each use. The size, location and distance between each part of the development can decide whether it meets its aims or falls flat.

Budgets need to be flexible and strictly managed
 

The cost of a mixed-use site can spiral if left unchecked – more so than most other build projects. There’s simply more diverse materials, specifications and infrastructure concerns. 

Glass and concrete could be used for an office section, for example, whereas MDF, stone and steel may be needed for apartments on the other side of the development. Again, with the right planning skills, a construction team can inform a robust budget by assigning precise material costs to every area of the build.  

Leaving room for unforeseen changes (such as last-minute redesigns to a retail outlet, for instance) gives that budget more security. Whether that’s 5% or 10% on top of the initial cost, it’s worth having a buffer. Developers and construction professionals need to talk openly about this whilst forming their strategy.   

Public engagement can’t be ignored
 

What are the objections to large mixed-use projects? Are they right for the area? Are they taking too much business from nearby brands? 

Mixed-use sites should add to the community, not take anything away from it. So it’s vital to encourage the public to make their opinions heard. They may have comments on the size, location, or use of sustainable practices. Construction teams have to have the compassion and respect to take these views into account as the project gets underway.

Whether these mixed-use developments are business parks or apartments with shops attached, construction leaders have much to think about… That’s why Build Space only source the perfect candidates for the job. 

Learn more about our construction management hiring expertise. We enhance any mixed-use strategy, backed by the experience and knowledge of all the forms a site may take. 

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