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New property consortia may be clients of future

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Finding ways to reach large numbers of us straightforwardly is the dream of many a would-be Internet enterprise.

So it is not surprising that the property sector is increasingly looking at opportunities on the Internet. Whether at home, at work or at leisure, we are typically regular users of the same buildings - a constant point of contact for those developing Internet services.

Last week's column noted one such Internet venture. A consortium of five UKproperty owners has come together to procure advanced telecoms services and deliver these in its buildings, keeping facilities at the leading edge throughout the lifetime of its buildings.

And with its combined floorspace ownership of 18 million m2, around one million occupants, it has new opportunities for delivering business, leisure and retail services over the web.

There are other new property initiatives. For example, property agents online and services around purchase and letting. Then there is property financing.

Plus various elements of facilities management - particularly if it is outsourced - and lifetime construction services generally.

Most of these bring together major property players, looking for quick wins through their bulk-buying power. As they move on to develop a diverse range of services the property owners will have a continuing stream of construction services to deliver. While the Internet and its potential for e-commerce is one trigger for these property consortia, the high-value construction services on offer are likely to be mainly familiar - financial advice, briefing, refurbishment, extensions, space planning, facilities management.What is changing for the architect is the emergence of these consortia as potential new types of client. Or maybe they will be looking for long-term partners, though working at Internet speed they are unlikely to impose the sort of heavy prequalification bureaucracy architects have suffered from the likes of BAA.

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