Predictions For 2024

Issue 95

By Neil Turner, Director, Howarth Litchfield

It’s perhaps a sign of age that the years whizz past but I think this year has gone so quickly. I’ve been busy across many projects with clients, working hard to achieve buildings and developments that assist their way of life, business, and teaching facilities.

So, it’s always fun to try looking into the future for trends, approaches, or ideas. I always promote style over fashion, as a building must last many years – nothing wrong with investigating the latest material or idea, but will it look so clever or relevant in ten years’ time?

So, what will be the trends for 2024? Here are my thoughts.

1. Ever more focus on energy consumption and net zero

This has become a political matter and it will be interesting to see how the parties push net zero as we head towards a general election and the social, political, and economic influences that surround this principle. In the North East we hope that the region can develop new technologies and industries to assist the move towards reducing energy consumption. The battery plant at Blyth would have been a great asset – let’s hope it develops.

2. Bio diversity

New rules come into the planning system from this autumn about biodiversity and achieving a 10% net gain across sites. This will have a major impact in 2024 on development and will influence design, layouts, landscaping and how we consider new development. No longer an afterthought, everyone will need to plan biodiversity in from the outset – it will be fascinating to see how this impacts architectural decisions.

3. Building costs

Over the last few years, building costs have risen, along with the energy costs required to make and transport materials, which in turn, have accelerated development costs. I think (and hope) we are at the top of the cycle and that gradually costs will come down. I don’t think this will be quick or particularly deep. Certainty of cost would certainly help as clients plan out their projects.

4. Housebuilding

It would appear to be no easier in 2024 than ever before as we try to solve housing issues across the country. The cost base is lower in this region, but we still need to be looking at building well designed, quality housing and affordable housing. I don’t envy developers trying to get their project moving with all the red tape.

5. Designs

Changes in building regulations in 2024 /25 with uplifts to Part L of the Building Regulations is designed to pave the way for the more stringent changes that will be introduced through the Future Homes standard in 2025. It will require at least a 31% reduction in emissions compared to current standards.

Extensions and new builds are seeing greater standards in performance for glass and the percentages of glass that can be used. I think this will affect house designs and I hope people will still look to create interesting and exciting solutions rather than ones that simply manage to ‘tick the box’.

6. Reuse, Renovate and Recycle

We will see more emphasis on using existing buildings to convert, alter and give a new lease of life – surely that is the most carbon friendly approach.

As ever in the region we have some great innovative architects, designers and building contractors that are able to serve this region and beyond, in whatever challenges are thrown our way.

Neil Turner, director, Howarth Litchfield can be contacted on 0191 3849470 or email

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