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RealCorp PM Moves East Capital

On 30 Sep 2014, RealCorp Project Management helped client East Capital move from the XXIst century building in Cents to 11 rue St Zithe in Luxembourg.

East Capital OutsideProject Management Services required

Account Manager Aurélie Vanaudenhoven of our Agency team recommended our Project Management services to East Capital when she found the new premises for them. They needed someone to manage works, and to arrange and supervise the move.

We accepted their appointment on 5 August 2014. Our team immediately swung into action to deliver the new accommodation according to their requirements.

A diverse team of experts coordinated by RealCorp PM

The works programme involved:

  • creating a partition wall
  • installing lighting
  • providing an attractive and functional kitchen area
  • installing and checking electrical fittings and connections
  • and purchasing and installing furniture.

We arranged and supervised work by the following contractors: Carte Blanche, Cofeley Solelec, CSlux, Inside, Ambiente and Design F. ISP did the final cleaning and Socotec performed the final regulatory check.

East Capital’s new home now includes an open-plan office for six people, a lobby, an individual office and a meeting room, as well as facilities such as kitchen area and toilets.

East Capital meeting room

East Capital new partitionEast Capital kitchenette

East Capital warm wooden floor

Post updated 16 June 2015

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To Lease or Own Commercial Real Estate?

The commercial real estate industry has been slow to embrace social media. However, many useful articles appear online if you know where to look. One blog post recently discussed at RealCorp is “The Pros and Cons of Leasing vs Owning”, from LeaseMatrix. Our RICS chartered surveyors added comments on whether to lease or own commercial real estate, including observations specific to Luxembourg. We have paraphrased the points here to facilitate reading and commentary. To read them as originally expressed, please visit the original article. Responses from the RealCorp team (RC) are in purple.

To Lease or Own: Advantages of Leasing

These capital buildings are some of the huge number of properties available to lease or own in Luxembourg City.

  • Liquidity & Cash Resources: Leasing often requires less cash than ownership, leaving more capital to invest in core business and expansion. RC: Extra capital could also fund other projects and property investments, yielding returns beyond the firm’s weighted average cost of capital.
  • Financing Source: Leasing may be an attractive source of financing, if the cost of leasing falls below that of ownership. Small or low-profit-margin firms struggling to get traditional financing might find a commercial landlord to lease to them. RC: For comparison, the cost of ownership must integrate the benefit of loan amortisation and capital allowances.
  • Cost Stability & Predictability: The long-term occupancy costs of leasing are often easier to forecast and budget. While some leases expose tenants to minor capital costs, most commercial leases enable tenants to avoid unforeseen items. These include replacement of mechanical systems, structural repairs, and roof or parking lot replacement. RC: In Luxembourg, capex (capital expenditures) are generally landlord’s costs. Landlords cannot recharge these to tenants, but specific lease contracts may contain different conditions.
  • Tax Benefits: The occupancy costs of leasing are fully deductible, which can shield the business’s operating income from income taxes, whereas an owner must depreciate the property’s improvement costs. RC: However, owners can also benefit from a tax shield provided by the deduction of mortgage interest expense.
  • Flexibility & Mobility: A lease’s expiration date gives users a specific date by which to plan and re-evaluate real estate needs. This gives greater flexibility to users who need to expand, contract, or relocate. RC: Yes. This is one of the main reasons that companies prefer leasing to owning.
  • Location: Leasing enables users to occupy space at premier or strategic locations which they could not afford to own. RC: Yes, another good reason for leasing.
  • Focus: Leasing enables tenants to concentrate on primary business without ownership’s property management distractions. RC: This is related to the capex – it’s not just about cost. The party paying must also manage the issues.
To Lease or Own: Disadvantages of Leasing

Luxembourg's beautiful old buildings, such as this Abbey, give a special settled character to the city. There is a wide range of modern as well as period property available to lease or own.

  • Control: Tenants have little control over the types of other tenants that lease space in the building. These other tenants can adversely impact parking, operating hours, use and compatibility, or building services. RC: The lease may also contain restrictive use covenants, such as premises to be used as an Office only, or a limit on the the lease term.
  • Cost: For an established business with easy access to capital, leasing could be a more expensive alternative to ownership. RC: It also depends on the strategy. Some major companies have even found that acquisition followed by a sale and lease-back created better value.
  • No Appreciation or Equity Accumulation: Leasing offers no opportunity to profit from property appreciation, or for equity accumulation by reducing the property’s underlying financing. RC: One must keep in mind that this reasoning does not hold in declining markets with falling capital values. Then, lease may be a better option until the market rebounds. Deciding “to lease or own?” depends on economic context.
  • Contractual Obligations: If a leased property becomes less desirable or unsuitable, or the tenant’s business becomes unprofitable, the tenant must still pay rent or face penalties for default. RC: In our experience, this is seldom a problem. Why? a.) Landlords are usually willing to refurbish properties to avoid losing rental income, unless market conditions change substantially.  b.) The tenant may sublet or assign the lease.
  • Loss of Salvage Value: Most leases stipulate that certain improvements by the tenant become the landlord’s property at lease end. Alternatively, the landlord may require the tenant to remove improvements made at the tenant’s
 expense. RC: If equipment “touches and concerns” the demised premises, e.g. is a fixture, the landlord may own it at lease end. Reinstatement and improvements clauses define whether amenities belong to tenant or landlord.
To Lease or Own: Advantages of Owning

Luxembourg Architecture

  • Appreciation: Owners can benefit from asset value appreciation, whereas tenants cannot. RC: Keep in mind that property can depreciate as well.
  • Debt Reduction: Under an amortizing loan, an owner accumulates equity in the property as mortgage principal is paid down. RC: Correct unless property values fall.
  • Control: Property ownership enables direct decision-making and control, whereas leasing does not. RC: Yes, in theory. But tenants often have greater control in single-tenanted buildings, especially regarding building management and appointing service contractors.
  • Income: If a portion of the property is leased, the rental stream from tenants can help pay the mortgage, or be reinvested or distributed. RC: It might be strategic to “save” a part of the revenue to set up a sinking fund for capital expenditures or debt repayment.
  • Tax Advantages: Ownership enjoys interest and depreciation deductions that shelter income from taxes. Also, on sale of the property, the gains tax is usually at a lower marginal tax rate than ordinary income. For example, in the USA, the capital gains tax rate is currently 20% and depreciation recapture is 25%. RC: Another example: In Luxembourg, the buyer pays registration duties at either 7% or 10% of the property purchase price. However, often a “share deal” transacts the SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) holding the property via the sale of its shares. This sale of shares does not attract registration duties as an “asset deal” would. This tax saving is beneficial to both seller and buyer.
To Lease or Own: Disadvantages of Owning

Luxembourg medieval buildings

  • Time Frame: Transactional costs of acquisition and disposition can offset or eliminate the benefits of appreciation over a short-term hold. RC: Save for a general property market downturn, transaction costs do not preclude achieving adequate net returns. Careful initial analysis and planning should determine whether to lease or own.
  • Inflexibility: When a business (or a related party) owns a property, relocating for business purposes may be difficult. The property must be relet or sold, which can take months or years. RC: This is why any acquisition must be thought through, considering exit scenarios such as letting the property or outright disposal.
  • Capital Requirements: Commercial property usually requires a down payment of 20 to 30%. This consumes capital which could otherwise be invested in a user’s business. RC: Unless cash is needed immediately, the business could invest in projects such as property acquisitions that yield more than the firm’s weighted average cost of capital.
  • Management: Commercial property management issues are complex and can be distracting and costly. They cover areas such as legal compliance, health and safety, and contractor management. RC: Most landlords appoint asset and property managers to manage buildings, freeing themselves to focus on other business. However, buying time costs money.
  • Financing: Sources and availability of debt may be limited during economic recession or depression. Rising interest rates may make refinancing difficult or impossible. RC: The wave of recent non-performing loans has shown that the higher the leverage, the more vulnerable the property is to market downturns.
  • Debt Covenants & Restrictions: Most commercial property loans require personal or corporate guarantees, with a liquidity requirement. (E.g. a minimum deposit balance with the lender). Alternatively, non-recourse fixed-rate financing may come with other stipulations, such as yield maintenance or a break-up fee, should the loan be retired early. RC: Agreed. Some debt covenants often found in loan agreements are the Interests Cover Ratio and the Loan to Value Ratio.
  • Downside Risks: As with every investment, ownership carries numerous risks. These include decline in property value due to the economy or market, financing risks, and unanticipated repair and maintenance expenditures. RC: Banks and shareholders require property valuations to update market value for lending and accounting purposes. External chartered valuation surveyors undertake these valuations at least once a year.

To contribute your thoughts on whether to lease or own commercial real estate, please Leave a Reply below.

To Lease or Own: How can RealCorp help you?

In conclusion, there are good reasons to consider either Leasing or Owning. Your specific circumstances will likely point clearly in one direction or the other, if you’ve done your analysis homework! However, this type of analysis is complex and may be time-consuming. RealCorp has the expertise to help.

Contact Michael Chidiac MRICS, Managing Director, now, to talk through your options:

Sources

Post updated 16 June 2015.

Posted in Acquisition, Asset Management, Financing, Laws and Regulations, Newsletters, Rental | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Side Village HVAC Refurbishment

Thermic camera check at West Side VillageOn Saturday 13 September, after a final thermic camera check, RealCorp Project Management completed another successful delivery, This project, in West Side Village, Capellen, Luxembourg, involved the complete refurbishment of the HVAC cooling and heating system.

HVAC refurbishment sorely needed

Due to the poor installation of connecting elements in 2006, the existing system had been rusting and struggling to cope. As evidence of the decay emerged, it became clear that significant intervention to prevent water incidents would be required at some point.

On the advice of RealCorp’s Asset Management team, the owner wisely decided to take action now to prevent further deterioration.

West Side Village rusted cable

Many metres of cabling; many hours of work!

Working with contractor Martin Weber of Trier, and RealCorp’s Christophe Daudigny as Project Manager, we removed and replaced 7 670 metres of cabling.

This HVAC refurbishment was a challenging project, not only due to its scale, but also because West Side Village is an occupied site.

Most of the buildings are rented to other companies (Creatrust, Sopra, WSR, Nizi). These tenants needed to continue their daily business with as little disruption as possible.

This required 17 night operations during the 890 hours worked on site over four months (May to August 2014).

HVAC refurbishment benefits tenants and landlord

We are pleased to report that we achieved the refurbishment goal and also enabled these tenants to continue working. They will now enjoy a workplace free of unexpected water problems.

The owner is happy too, because a major factor affecting the current and future value of the asset has been addressed.

West Side Village cables in ceilings

Post updated 16 June 2015

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Real Estate Due Diligence – Yes We Can!

What is Due Diligence?

Christophe Daudigny Head of Project Management RealCorp Luxembourg

Investing in real estate brings great rewards… partly because there are great risks. But you can protect your investments in advance. A Due Diligence assessment (known in the industry simply as a “Due Diligence”) is the process of systematically researching and verifying the quality of a real estate asset. This includes addressing and ticking off a check-list any point with a risk (technical, financial, legal). The final result is a report or series of reports presenting the findings to the commissioning client. Christophe Daudigny summarises:

Why do you need a Due Diligence report?

Due Diligence helps prevent unnecessary problems and claims from either party involved in a transaction, or from the tenants of the Asset. It is often the most appropriate and best way for the owner to obtain a sustained global view of the asset, including quality, risks and expected costs.

The goal of the process is often to ensure that all stakeholders associated with a Real Estate transaction have the information they need to assess risk accurately. In real estate, due diligence is performed in the period between the acceptance of an offer and the closure.

What’s in a Due Diligence report?

A Due Diligence report by RealCorp usually contains the following elements:

  • Legal report: An examination of the validity and implications of any applicable authorisations, whether existing or expected, and an analysis of the statement of the asset with regard to impending laws and regulations, e.g. sustainability requirements.
  • Financial report: An assessment of the quality of the tenants and the asset’s financial efficiency, including maintenance efficiency, and the quality of existing contracts with purchasers providing maintenance elements.
  • Technical report: Based on an exhaustive visit to the asset, this is a complete report on all technical elements, such as heating, ventilation, structure, fire security, windows, insulation, roof equipments, lighting, etc.
  • Final report: This includes a refurbishment proposal with scheduling and cost estimation.
  • Sustainability report: If requested by the client, we can assess the cost and the potential Return on Investment of creating a sustainable asset from an old building.
What does a Due Diligence assessment cost?

Asset managers are required to perform Due Diligence with the standard of care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property. When the assets are large, the amount of care required increases. RealCorp teams manage the entire due diligence process for any Real Estate asset under the supervision of the Head of Project Management. He is assisted by the Project Management technical teams and the company’s financial experts.

The cost of a complete Due Diligence, with all technical, legal and financial items, is related to the area and the number of buildings of the asset (for example, visiting two buildings of 10 000sqm takes longer, and is therefore more expensive, than visiting one!). As a guideline, a range of €30,000-50,000 is normal for an office building of 5,000-10,000sqm.

How long does a Due Diligence take?

Two or three months are normally necessary to process a complete Due Diligence including :

  • getting the basic elements from the As Built files
  • performing and processing all the visits and enquiries
  • creating a final report, in three parts: non-technical short conclusions with costs, complete report, technical appendix.

The most recent Due Diligence delivery by RealCorp was in June 2014. We performed a Due Diligence assessment for an asset of three buildings in Capellen. After 11.5 days of on-site visits and 2.5 months of work, the team produced a comprehensive report covering structural and other defects, technical data and building history, replacement of inadequate or missing documentation, costings, etc.

Due Diligence: The rewards

The benefits of avoiding or minimising risk to assets or the people inside them via Due Diligence are mostly obvious. Another benefit usually less well articulated is the capacity to make long-term cost-savings. One can sometimes even make asset-enhancing, profit-maximising decisions based on the findings.

The above-mentioned comprehensive report enabled the client to prioritise and budget for repairs over the coming years, with a clear understanding of where to focus first. The projection of likely capital expenditure and the updating and organisation of all legal and technical documentation are also valuable in gearing up for a possible future sale. A clear assessment of the state of the buildings and easy access to all related documentation increase the project’s desirability because they are very useful to a potential purchaser.

Post updated 16 June 2015

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Quick Refurbish and Move for Fund Solutions

Fund Solutions logoFund Solutions moved on 11 July 2014 to 1, côte d’Eich, in the CBD, Luxembourg. Their new home consists of a reception area and meeting rooms on Level 3 and offices on Level 4. After the RealCorp Agency team had finalised the contract, RealCorp Project Management was employed to complete a light refurbishment project, to be completed in five weeks (deadline 14 July).

Project Manager Audrey Laudet, who is also an Interior Architect/Designer, was responsible for the initial design that secured the contract. She followed this up with efficient project management (drawings, quantity evaluation, finding contractors, scheduling, realisation and follow-up) of the following works:

  • Refurbishment of sanitary facilities on Levels 3 and 4 (sinks, worktops and toilets replaced)
  • Laying vinyl flooring over the convectors on Level 3, to remove damage and present a clean, pleasant appearance
  • Technicals (CSLux)
  • “Fund Solutions” lobby signage, from the entrance to the reception at Level 3
  • Painting walls (SLP)
  • Cleaning of all the premises including the ground floor entrance hall.
  • Final cleaning before move.

Audrey Laudet, Project Manager and Interior Architect at RealCorp LuxembourgIn summary, RealCorp completed in three weeks:

  • Tender
  • Customer decisions
  • Schedule
  • Business Action
  • Receptions
  • Turnkey.

… and Fund Solutions were able to move in three days ahead of schedule, on 11 July. Well done, Audrey!

Fund Solutions Premises Before Renovation

Painting in progress at Fund Solutions' new premises

Fund Solutions Premises After Renovation

Fund Solutions' new premises after renovation

Post updated 16 June 2015

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Agency Head Now an RICS Chartered Surveyor

Tehdi-Edouard Babigeon, Head of Letting and Sales, RealCorp LuxembourgCongratulations to Tehdi-Edouard Babigeon!
Our highly experienced Head of Letting and Sales has put another feather in his cap with his recent qualification as a Chartered Surveyor through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

We asked Tehdi why he did it…

What benefits does the RICS qualification offer?

“The RICS status is a prestigious and internationally recognised professional qualification with commercial benefits:

  • People respect its assertion of high standards of excellence and integrity.
  • Governments, financial and commercial organisations recognise RICS as a trusted mark of excellence, giving it a high media profile.
  • It provides a global passport because RICS members anywhere in the world are known to follow its professional, ethical and practice standards. It therefore has broader impact than other qualifications which are only recognised in specific countries.
  • RICS CPD (Continuing Professional Development) will enable me to stay updated with the latest practice standards.
  • RICS has a worldwide network of over 118 000 members and an extensive programme of local, social and inter-professional off-line and on-line networking events.”
Logo of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)Why were you motivated to do it?

“After approximately 10 years’ experience in Real Estate services, RICS accreditation was a must-have because I wanted to:

  • belong to a recognized professional institution
  • increase my professional network
  • enhance my knowledge.”
Was it challenging to study for?

“Yes! Despite my existing experience, I found that staying abreast of day-to-day business, while doing the specific training for the RICS assessment, was challenging.

It felt like a long journey, as I started specific training and study eighteen months before my assessment, with Valuation courses at CEM, real estate courses at LSC, regular preparation with my counsellor, and then intensive preparation one month before the final assessment.”

How do you feel now that you’ve achieved it?

“Well, I am sort of proud to be considered now as an RICS-accredited surveyor! I do also feel that it confirms the level of my experience and skills, so it was definitely worth it.”

What difference do you think it will make in your work?

“I expect it will increase clients’ perception of my credibility. The number and quality of my professional contacts have already begun to increase. It will also contribute positively to my everyday business, because I now have continuous access to evolving general and specific guidance, best practice, and professional and ethical standards.”

In your industry, what type of person or job profile would benefit from doing it?

“RICS offers training to people involved in Land, Property and Construction, at every level of responsibility. I think all these disciplines could benefit. There are even niche RICS professional groups for specialist areas relating to property, from residential property through commercial property to fine arts and antiques.”

What other courses did you consider before choosing RICS?

“There wasn’t really any other choice, as RICS has the most international exposure for members.”

RICS at RealCorp Luxembourg

RealCorp’s management team now includes three Chartered Surveyors:

Update 5 December 2014: Our experienced Manager – Corporate Real Estate Services, Laurent Pedrini MRICS, has now also earned his MRICS qualification, bringing to four the number of Chartered Surveyors in our team!
Update 16 June 2015: Tehdi-Edouard Babigeon MRICS has now moved on to a new post.

For more information on the value of the RICS standard, see these posts on our blog:

Valuing the new RICS Valuer Registration Scheme
Do You Need a Valuation?
The Valuation Process in Luxembourg
Global measurement standard for Luxembourg?

How can RealCorp’s Chartered Surveyors help you?

Contact Michael Chidiac MRICS re Valuation and Advisory or Search and Selection.
Contact Erwan Varron MRICS re Asset Management.
Contact Laurent Pedrini MRICS re Acquisitions and Disposals, Landlord Rep., Tenant Rep..

Posted in Certification, Laws and Regulations, RealCorp Team, RICS, Standards | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

New Lobby for Munhowen Bofferding

Munhowen LogoThe well-known Munhowen company is famous for Bofferding, Erdinger, Battin and other beers and many other drinks, including San Pellegrino water, illy coffees, Delamotte champagne, etc. They are refurbishing their main industrial and logistics site, a building in Ehlerange, Z.A.R.E. Munhowen Bofferding is a new client for RealCorp’s Project Management team.

Real Corp AUDREY 300x200cRealCorp performed the interior design of the lobby, using the skills of our in-house Interior Architect, Audrey Laudet.

The work included the specification and positioning of more visible signage from the exterior to the Reception area, false ceilings to include integrated lights for a natural lighting effect, attractive, modern equipment and layout to replace the old sanitary facilities, instituting a system of TV screens and mirrors, repainting all walls and retained existing furniture, specification and positioning of new reception desk and waiting room furniture.

Munhowen Bofferding Luxembourg lobby sketch by Audrey Laudet RealCorp Luxembourg

Design 3D Drawing

Munhowen Bofferding Luxembourg lobby layout plan by Audrey Laudet RealCorp Luxembourg

Post updated 16 June 2015

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Global measurement standard for Luxembourg?

Yellow measuring tape to represent global measurement standardsA recent article in The Real Deal about the proposed new global measurement standards for property* announced that New York City is not keen on the idea. Writer Hiten Samtani summarises the purpose of the initiative thus:

The hope is that a common set of standards will function as a sort of lingua franca across different office markets — which often have drastically different measurement methods — and allow investors, landlords and tenants to more accurately compare spaces and buildings. … Those backing the standards tout the potential for increased transparency. …

Several large organisations have already supported the standards, but some New York representatives apparently believe that they would make no difference to transparency, while reducing rentable areas and therefore asset value.

The initiative to create a universal measurement system for the worldwide office market comes from The International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMSC). This is a wide-ranging non-profit group of 45 influential national and international real estate organisations, including the USA’s National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), the UK’s Royal Society of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the European Council of Real Estate Professions (CEPI), The International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) and several other high profile members.

Erwan Varron RealCorp TeamWouldn’t the opinion of such a group sway even a leading city like New York? Not so, it seems. RealCorp’s investment and agency teams include three Chartered Surveyors (RICS). We asked Asset Manager Erwan Varron RICS what impact the proposal might have for a city like Luxembourg? He responded:

“Measurement is always a tricky issue. In general, the RICS requires Chartered Surveyors to comply with local regulations or practice when measuring assets. In the UK, we use the Measurement Code issued by the RICS, so there is little room for interpretation, although a 10% margin is acceptable.

“Universal standards can be useful. The RICS is currently working on a new guideline for the cost management of construction projects, called New Rules of Measurement (NRM), that is being discussed regionally. They claim that “Our new rules of measurement are based on UK practice but the requirements for a coordinated set of rules and the underlying philosophy behind each section have worldwide application.” This valuable 3-volume suite of documents includes:

  • Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building works
  • Detailed measurement for building works
  • Order of cost estimating and cost planning for building maintenance works.

“Regarding property measurement, in Luxembourg, we commonly use the Belgian Association for Chartered Surveyors (BACS) code for lease up and valuation. However, administrative authorities use the Vertical Cadaster (cadastre vertical), which varies from the BACS code. As Samtani’s article indicates, issues arise when variation occurs.

“If the new code favours the tenant, it would be worth assessing the positive impacts on services charges and rent. We could even push further and get the property tax recalculated. There might be some arguments about the enforceability of the code, e.g. when will the changes to rent occur?

“As for landlords, if they decided to remeasure buildings, they obviously could not change rent or service charges during the course of a lease. This could only be done during renegotiation of rent terms at expiry or break. Inevitably, points of discord and friction would occur, jeopardising relations between tenant and landlord.

“One issue not yet clearly defined is building types. For instance, take two different kinds of office accommodation: The first is a refurbished residential terraced house let to multiple tenants; the second an office building. The converted house may be redeveloped, but it still has thicker walls than an office building. The demised premises, i.e. the net area, is smaller than that of a comparable office building. In this instance, I cannot easily see how to establish new standards of measurement, given the nature of the assets.

“Additionally, I do not believe that raising the rent enough to offset a lower measurement is an option. This would definitely distort the market. We deal with measurements, but must also be conscious of market-driven values.

“Nevertheless, I do see some merit in agreeing a common method of measurement, as long as the different types of properties are considered and provided for in the code. Also, the code should be enforceable and not only used as a guideline by some practitioners.”

What do you think? Let us know via Comments on this post.

Sources:
*A global standard for measuring property? NYC’s not buying in: City’s real estate industry dismisses universal system for assessing office building size by Hiten Samtani, The Real Deal, July 09, 2014 09:00AM
Header image: Measurement.jpg found at UNDP, used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO licence.

Posted in Financing, Laws and Regulations, Rental, Standards, Valuation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sustainability leads at DGNB Consense 2014

Christophe Daudigny Head of Project Management RealCorp Luxembourg

Christophe Daudigny is all revved up! He is a certified DGNB Consultant, so of course he’s convinced about the energy and cost savings that sustainable buildings can achieve. But since he represented RealCorp at the Consense 2014 conference (1-2 July) organised by Messe Stuttgart and DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), he’s been unstoppable. He came back armed to the teeth with inspiring statistics, new technologies and great new partnerships to take us to the next level in creating a more human-friendly built environment.

DGNB Consense 2014 Christophe Daudigny nametagAs a DGNB Consultant, and as Head of Project Management for RealCorp Luxembourg, Christophe Daudigny has exposure to buildings new and old that are challenged by the new sustainability requirements of the 21st century.

In the first role, he advises clients which elements enable a new or renovation project to claim a high level of sustainability. He helps them to estimate the costs of compliance with regulated and voluntary standards, and also the all-important ROI. In the second role, he manages the providers, materials, technologies and processes that enable clients to achieve these goals.

Consense is a great event for keeping abreast of the latest tools and methods in sustainable construction via workshops and seminars.

It is also a good place to “Meet the Leaders of Sustainability”, which was the theme of Consense 2014, and to get up-to-date facts and figures on the sustainability agenda. DGNB is originally a German label and Christophe is inspired by the rapid progress Germany has made towards practising what it preaches.

DGNB Consense 2014 Investment Forum Agenda“Did you know,” he asked, smiling with satisfaction, “that, in Germany, sustainability initiatives are already having a huge impact?” He quoted the following statistics from Consense 2014:

  • There are 147 new purchasers of sustainable buildings, representing 2000 people, every two years.
  • 80% of new buildings are DGNB-certified this year (as opposed to 10% five years ago)
  • The average market value of a DGNB building in 2013 was 24% more than that of other buildings (based on 2013 transactions for similar areas and locations)
  • 73% of people working or housed in a DGNB Building in 2013 confirmed in a survey that they had experienced “a really important change in the quality of indoor life” in their new building. (For 97% of these, it was a positive change. Only 0,5% claimed a negative change.)
  • 50% of DGNB buildings have a high level of performance without any extra costs.”

Christophe is convinced that all European countries will soon follow suit and he intends to be leading the charge in Luxembourg!

He will also be working with several new partners for RealCorp Project Management: FURAL Decken, DGNB, Green Building Council, CSD Engineers, SBA, Elsässer Innovations and Hübner.

Christophe is passionate about this. He says, “RealCorp wants to be part of the move for top quality construction. Whenever possible, we want to participate in studies everywhere in Europe aimed at achieving quality buildings with high-level performance. We want to help our clients to avoid or to renovate old buildings with old standards, such as low air quality and high energy expenses, that are unfriendly to human work and life.

Consense 2014 Agenda with RealCorp Luxembourg company brochure“Our goal is to promote sustainable buildings which use modern intelligence to consume less energy and cost less, while creating more human environments.”

For more information on DGNB or RealCorp’s green advisory service, read these posts:
Green Certification: Do You Need It?
Tenants and Investors Demand Green Certification
DGNB: The Highest Green Standard in Luxembourg

Post updated 16 June 2015

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Belair House Luxembourg Exterior Transformation

Side View of Belair House Luxembourg

On 8 May 2014 we announced the start of RealCorp Luxembourg’s new refurbishment project for Belair House Family Office at 2 boulevard Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, Luxembourg. RealCorp Luxembourg’s project management team had managed the internal works last year. This enabled the company to move in and start work in February 2014. They were up and running and could host an official inauguration on 31st March, but the exterior works were still outstanding.

Under the supervision of RealCorp’s Head of Project Management, Christophe Daudigny, the work on the façade of Belair House Luxembourg began on 12 May 2014. We anticipated that it would take two months.

Belair House Luxembourg workman with hard hat and company signAfter validation by the VDL (Luxembourg City) administration in June, and two visits by the Head of City Buildings Administration, we were authorised to proceed to Stage 2 of this renewal of the façade and other external works.

Christophe says, “We are on track to complete this project at the end of July.”

The work includes cleaning the facade, detailed renovation of natural stones, painting, and roof renewal.

The Before and After pictures of the exterior stonework (below) give you some idea of the challenges of the work required and the very pleasing results achieved.

Assisting with the project are specialist companies S.L.C.P. (Société Luxembourgeoise Chanzy-Pardoux) Sàrl and Tralux T-S-M (Travaux-Services-Maintenance), while E3C is providing security.

Belair House Luembourg Facade Before and AfterS.L.C.P. has teams specialized in the restoration of the built heritage of individuals, businesses and local authorities.

This is one of the few companies still using the traditional techniques of masonry, plaster, restoration framing, and stone carving, as well as decorative painting such as trompe l’oeil, and stucco plastering.

For nearly 10 years, Tralux Construction has offered a range of maintenance and services in addition to its work on historical projects. Today, Tralux T-S-M serves customers in industry, commerce, communities, telecommunications, energy and transportation.

We are delighted to be working with equally experienced partners.

The Belair House Luxembourg villa will be completely restored by the end of July, after a substantial but worthwhile investment from the owner Crown Properties.

Post updated 16 June 2015

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