What are Australia’s office building trends for 2024?

Report reveals how office buildings are evolving and the challenges developers face

What are Australia’s office building trends for 2024?

Office space developers are increasingly incorporating versatile layouts and amenities to accommodate both in-person and virtual collaboration in response to the rising popularity of remote and flexible work arrangements.

In the latest Herron Todd White monthly review, commercial director Greg Mullins (pictured above) said open-plan designs, modular furniture, and adaptable partitions are becoming staples, fostering creativity and interaction among employees while allowing for transitions between individual tasks and group activities – a trend that has been strongly influenced by working experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the context of the Australian office sector, the year 2024 marks a significant juncture in the evolution of office buildings,” Mullins said. “As businesses adapt to changing work patterns, technological advancements and sustainability imperatives, the construction and refurbishment of office spaces in Australia is undergoing a transformative phase, characterised by innovation, flexibility and environmental consciousness.

“One of the most notable trends shaping the construction of new office buildings is the emphasis on multifunctional spaces that cater to diverse work styles and collaborative needs.”

Mullens added that sustainability has emerged as a central focus in the construction industry, driven by growing awareness of environmental concerns and regulatory pressures, particularly for major corporations with stringent ESG policies.

“In 2024, green building practices have become standard, with developers integrating energy efficient systems, recycled materials and renewable energy sources into their projects,” he said.

“From solar panels adorning rooftops to rainwater harvesting systems and passive design principles, new office buildings in Australia are striving to minimize their ecological footprint while enhancing occupant comfort and well-being. There are also benefits in terms of operating expenses associated with heating and cooling as a result of these sustainability measures.”

There was also a notable rise in refurbishment projects as property owners sought to revitalise existing office spaces to meet contemporary demands.

“By repurposing existing structures, developers not only reduce construction waste but also contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage while meeting the evolving needs of businesses and communities,” Mullins said. “However, the significant escalation in construction costs in recent times is undermining the viability of such refurbishments in a number of Australian CBDs.”

According to Mullins, technology is playing an increasingly integral role in the design and operation of office buildings, revolutionising the way people interact with their work environments. However, he pointed out that the future of office construction and refurbishment in Australia is not without its challenges.

Economic uncertainties, regulatory complexities, persistently high construction costs and evolving market dynamics continue to influence decision-making processes, requiring developers and stakeholders to remain agile and adaptive in their approach,” Mullins said.

“Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped perceptions of workspace design, health and safety, prompting a re-evaluation of spatial layouts, hygiene protocols and remote work policies.

“As the built environment continues to evolve, collaboration, creativity and forward-thinking will remain essential in shaping the office spaces of tomorrow.”

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