Space Race Hots Up Thanks to Oil Boom

by Scott Douglas

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Workplace experts say their business is booming as Aberdeen faces up to a space shortage.

Record oil prices are keeping the local economy buoyant, with many Granite City businesses escaping the worst of the credit crunch.

But with commercial property at a premium in the city, experts expect more businesses will need to creatively renovate existing premises to cope with growth.

Since it was founded in Aberdeen in 1997, Space Solutions has become Scotland’s leading independent specialist in the design, build, fit-out, refurbishment and relocation of modern and productive business environments.

Steve Judge, Managing Director

Managing Director Steve Judge believes it is inevitable more companies will be looking to redesign existing bases over the coming months.

He added: “There is limited good quality commercial property in Aberdeen, which is ironic because the city is one of the few places that is escaping the worst of the credit crunch and there is still a high demand.

“With oil prices at a record high the reality is that the economy here is healthy and businesses are thriving. Frankly, there isn’t enough commercial property to accommodate the kind of growth we are seeing. Because of the demand, what property is available is expensive.

“Aberdeen is not immune to the world economy, albeit the oil sector is shielding us somewhat. Developers are less likely to build commercial property speculatively which is fueling demand.

“We believe businesses should start to look more carefully at what can be achieved in their existing premises. The good news is that we can usually help them make dramatic improvements to solve challenges with provision and use of space.”

During the last major economic slowdown of the 1990s, when oil prices hit rock bottom, Space Solutions witnessed a surge in demand for its services with companies looking to reduce property overheads. During that 18 month period companies enlisted Space Solutions for moving premises and rationalising space.

Steve added: “We provide services that allow companies to cope with change from an accommodation perspective. Companies are likely to look at this when upsizing, downsizing or merging – the market conditions clearly have a bearing on this.

“The oil sector in Aberdeen has always involved large numbers of itinerant contractors, so we have worked with many businesses which need to contract or expand their workplaces quickly and efficiently.

“That means we have unrivalled expertise in this type of work and we expect that to be crucial in the coming months. We are very much looking forward to helping businesses adapt to meet the challenges of the current market and doing our bit to ensure Aberdeen’s economy continues to thrive.”

Companies are often amazed by just how much they are under-utilising their space. Properly planned workplaces can accommodate more people, increase efficiency and productivity, streamline storage.

The Space Solutions team boasts expertise in architecture, space planning and design, construction, project management and commercial relocations. These are available as individual services or as start-to-finish solution.

The company, that has five bases in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Peterborough, has noticed a marked difference between the needs of the North-east and Central Belt markets.

It recently launched a Sustainability Service, advising businesses how to reduce their carbon footprint while also reducing energy costs. Businesses which are altering their premises can take advantage of many fuel, waste and water efficiencies.

Space Solutions had a turnover of £12 million last year and employs 130 people.

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