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BSRIA launches White Paper on Generation Z and the construction industry

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Cement,

On 25 September BSRIA launched its White Paper on ‘Products and Systems for Generation Z in Reduced Carbon Buildings,’ written by Jeremy Towler, Senior Manager, Energy and Smart Technologies, BSRIA Worldwide Market Intelligence from data collected in the ISH in March 2015. The paper was developed for BSRIA’s Diamond Group Forum EU 3/2015 at the ISH exhibition in Frankfurt.

Generation Z, born from the mid-1990s to the present day, are described as smarter and more prudent that their Generation Y predecessors, and are sometimes said to be the ‘first tribe of true digital natives’. They have more job choices, seek greater freedom of movement and desire flexible working policies. In regards to heating and cooling systems, they expect them to just work without having to put in any effort themselves.

The paper focused on asking ‘what products and systems will be used in reduced carbon buildings in the future by the ‘smart’ generation?’ In doing so it explored what the industry needs to do in order to meet these expectations and achieve reduced CO2 targets.

What are the expectations of Generation Z?

Generation Z, when questioned on their expectation of buildings, prioritise both devices that were aesthetically pleasing, and the ability to quickly identify when something is wrong in the building and have the ability to fix it immediately. Choice is also desirable, and it will be important for them to be able to choose their providers based not on products and services, but instead on advice and transparency. They want simplified, flexible technology, with products that are easy to manage due to their own lack of skills to get involved in detail.

What does the construction and building industry need to do?

The construction industry needs to offer intelligent solutions that are both more modular and capable of being interconnected into a system to provide a global view. This is in response to the desire of Generation Z to keep it simple. Products will need to become standardized on how they communicate information between themselves, with intelligence being built into software and controls.

Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said: “Generation Z has also been characterised as the ‘sharing not the owning generation’”. This means there will be an increased need for renting and leasing options, with a decreased desire for buying options, due to higher capital costs.

What products and services will be required?

Julia added: “There was a general consensus that hybrid technologies would become dominant. Generation Z seem much happier to buy a service than own a product. This includes buying a solution to solve an energy-related problem, rather than the tangible product itself. Suppliers will, therefore, have to change their ‘modus-operandi’ to accommodate this stance.

It also was found that there is a need for smarter, more connected products that are simple for both contractors and end-users. Generation Z will want the latest technology, with quick, tangible results but with little or no additional costs. There should be a focus on service – it is big business!”

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