New London Architecture (NLA) published the results of the 2021 edition of its annual Tall Building Survey, showing both the impact of the pandemic on the construction industry of the UK's capital and the prospects of future development. Since launching in 2014, the report has provided a comprehensive review of London's skyline.
The survey is an annual snapshot of London's high-rise development, with the analysis focusing on buildings over 20 storeys in planning or under construction at the time of research. As this year's report indicates, London's development, although hindered, has shown unexpected resilience in the face of the pandemic, or slowdowns caused by lockdowns and uncertainties regarding the future of work and living. However, the impact of COVID -19 is doubled by the repercussions of Brexit on London's construction industry.
Among the key findings, the report highlights that in 2020, only 24 tall buildings began construction, a decrease from 44 the previous year. The number of planning applications also fell; however, the majority were submitted in the second half of 2020, indicating a boost in confidence following the Spring Lockdown. The number of planning permission granted increased, illustrating that local authorities are more willing to accept tall buildings proposals. According to the survey, the city's skyline received 35 new tall buildings last year, and 52 more are to be completed in 2021. London currently has 587 tall buildings in the pipeline, up almost 8% from 2019.
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The report also provides an insight into the typologies of London's tall buildings, finding that 90% of these developments are residential. Collaborating with HomeViews, NLA found that tall buildings' residents rate their homes higher than those in non-tall schemes due to the facilities, design and location. The report also shows an increasing percentage of tall buildings in outer London, which now make up to 37% of the overall pipeline. Peter Murray, Curator in Chief at NLA, said: "If London is to deliver anything like the number of homes the city needs, there will be an ongoing pressure to build taller buildings."
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