Covid-19 and the future of buildings

What will the future hold for many of our buildings as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. One of the first factors already taking shape, is that many people are now working from home. This may call for seeking Planning Permission to increase space within their homes, so as to facilitate this. Remote working has its advantages of potentially greater work efficiency and reducing time spent travelling as well as increasing our time with family. For some this transition can be difficult and the need for interaction will colleagues remains an important aspect, as does the separation of splitting time between work and family life.  

The impact of online shopping is continuing to have a major impact on our retail centers. As more customers shop online, the demands for physical retail space for shopping reduces and more and more, we are seeing retail space either advertised 'to let' or left simply empty. The revival of retail centers is a tough challenge and we are now seeing changes in Planning Policy to look for new ways in which empty buildings can be adapted for new use. Many town centers still remain important in our local communities and also form important centers for both shopping, leisure, arts and social activities. Whilst we see a shrinkage in demand, there are likely to be new opportunities in how we revive these centers and a continuing change in who and what we will see on our high streets, over time.


As the world of work continues to change, so will how we operate in our buildings for work, be they commercial offices, warehouses or industrial premises. Business is adapting to the new normal in so many different ways. With greater numbers of employees working from home in certain office based services, the need for physical office space is likely to reduce for some businesses, however for others this may be offset with greater spatial need due to social distancing requirements and may increase the need for office space. The need across all industries to adapt to this new situation is leading to re-organising building space and working practices.

Covid-19 has and continues to have a major impact on our lives. In turn, this affects how we use buildings and the need for certain buildings.