Viability analysis: High rise in Birmingham


Key design metrics of tall residential buildings in Birmingham and how to optimise viability

01 / Introduction

Tall buildings are complex, risky and visible, so it is imperative that the right team are in place to deliver any high-rise project. At the time of writing, there are 17 projects either in planning or on site that exceed 25 storeys (see figure 2), as well as many more residing in drawing format on the desks of consultants across the city as densification gathers pace.

Yet, despite the appetite for reaching up to the city’s sky, the conversion rate is low. It is not a question of endeavour, but of commercial viability coming under increasing pressure from land values and the fine margins of building tall in a regional city. Ultimately, success is reliant upon achieving a balance between revenues and cost. This requires careful consideration of quality and meeting key metrics for an efficient design.

With sales/rental values, planning requirements and end user expectations providing constraints before the design of a tall building is even considered, figure 3 (below) shows the key design metrics that should be targeted to optimise viability during the feasibility, design and construction stages, and their relative importance. This article reviews each stage, alongside commentary from industry voices.

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