Operating in living - Spring 2022

Welcome to our latest report, Operating in Living.

In the Autumn, we examined Investing in Living – focusing on UK residential property in its many different forms as tradeable, and indeed much coveted, assets for the investment market.

This time we thought we would share our experts’ views and insights into what the boardrooms of developers, investors, funders and operators in the UK living sector are currently dealing with.

A few years ago, I heard the acronym, VUCA. We were apparently living in a VUCA environment: volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. That was 2016, just after the Brexit vote.

The same sentiment prevails now. Those in the living sector are having to manage multiple different headwinds, including escalating inflation, materials shortages and an evolving legislative landscape, including for building safety and the environment.

In this latest report, we consider some of these matters, whilst also putting forward the case for how organisations can manage or help mitigate these factors.

Our experts call for new ways to begin reducing embodied carbon emissions during the construction of buildings, while also investigating how contractors are looking to address the risks posed by rising costs. This is alongside providing guidance on how to ensure fire safety is appropriately prioritised.

The challenges facing the living sector cannot be ignored. Despite this, it remains resilient and has major potential for growth. Indeed, Savills’ research reveals that residential property became the largest sector for investment globally in 2021, overtaking offices for the first time.

The living sector is now being seen as capable of delivering institutional-grade returns – a fact increasingly recognised by investors. This should give those operating in the living sector confidence, with its diverse, quality assets providing strong foundations and an opportunity to build on.

The word – opportunity – crops up several times in this report.

Whether with regard to how the private and public sector can partner together to deliver large-scale regeneration through joint ventures, or developers capitalising on the shift to higher quality, sustainable buildings – the living sector has the potential to not only transform the physical landscape, but shape society and accelerate the journey to net zero, remaining strong commercially.

It is critical that we maximise these opportunities and work together to deal with the current challenges. We hope the insights included in this report support this aim, while reflecting the grit and determination of those people operating in the living sector.

To access the report, please click on the link to the top right of this page.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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