What’s the best height for a building?
There are a number of factors that have worked in combination to lead to the development of high rise buildings or as they are commonly called skyscrapers. Some factors include the need to live, work and shop together with the inadequate land available for housing projects in certain areas.
The majority of developers find motivation in the profits they could reap and therefore want to work on projects that produce the highest income in comparison to the total costs of construction and land. This is basically the most determinant factor at the moment when deciding the height of a building plus planning restrictions of course.
The connection between the price of land in proportion to the final cost is an important factor that generally determines how much space will be used to build on an estate. With Bangkok never before having witnessed the cost of land per square metre of sellable built area being more expensive than the construction costs per square metre. Put simply, this means that developers have to make the most of the space on the plot of land so as to increase the profits per sellable area.
In certain residential areas in Bangkok, where the land price is somewhat cheaper, it is not convenient to build skyscrapers, as the relation between construction costs and profits made per unit do not produce the desired returns. In comparison, shorter buildings are a lot more profitable in such instances.
When you travel to Bangkok by air, it’s possible to see a great number of skyscrapers, the heights of which have been determined mainly by economic factors and a bit of governmental regulations as well.
The answer to the question – Does a high-rise building produce more returns? is unfortunately not a straightforward one, since in the case of offices there’s not much evidence that proves that an increase in height results in more returns. The rent amount for an office of a specific size is generally the same regardless of the office floor.
There’s a wide range of prices when it comes to suburban areas with many developers tending to sell off-plan projects, with a price increase for each floor, generally making price adjustments in upper floor units so as to improve selling returns.
If you consider the resale market of units in completed buildings, things are somewhat different. In this case height is important, but there doesn’t seem to be a linear increase in resale directly connected to height.
Most of the times, the views of the unit are significant. A condo unit overlooking Lumpini Park, without chances of having a blocked view in the future, is a lot more expensive than another unit in the same area without a view.
The CEO of Southeast Asia. Meinhardt (Thailand) Ltd., an important engineering consultancy, John Pollard stated that a building with several storeys, above five to be more precise, has a fluctuating price per square metre until you reach the fortieth storey, since after that every unit gets more expensive gradually. After the fiftieth floor, costs of construction start to rise in a significant way and after the seventieth floor everything gets even more costly because you need better technology to match structural demands that follow the mechanical, engineering and plumbing requirements (MEP).
There’s no doubt that shorter buildings are a lot more efficient than skyscrapers and this is because the former does not require the use of machinery including lifts, or a stronger structure to withstand natural disturbances.
The higher the building, the more the returns diminish. Therefore, it’s important to reduce the ratio of construction costs in the area you wish to sell so that it makes sense to build a high rise building.
Height seems to be of importance, particularly in residential buildings; however, developers are yet to find the most profitable height taking into account the various challenges they have to face when creating something innovative and iconic that is financially operational and that will stand the test of time.
Keyword/phrase – Skyscrapers, Bangkok.