By Somluck Srimalee
“Innovative, green, and ageing” is an emerging design trend for residential projects as property firms respond to customer demands, according to property experts.
Such themes and concepts are being brought to market due to the nearly Bt10 billion being spent yearly on research and development by listed property firms. The R&D is aimed at improving architectural design, pursuing innovative development and investing in technology and startups to match the demands of customers.
The result has been improvements in architectural and interior designs to serve the ageing market, as well as design and construction innovations that reduce negative impacts on the environment and wrap residential projects in a green halo.
“We’re set up for Bt6 billion in research and development of innovative products and upcycling of waste used in building construction from the year 2018 till 2027,” Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Ltd (MQDC)’s chief executive officer, Visit Malaisirirat, said recently.
The company believes that the design trend for residential and other building is shifting as developers are forced to consider the quality of life and well-being of the people who buy or stay in the residences.
Sansiri Plc has set aside an average Bt600 million budget for its Innovation Department to research and develop technology to serve customer demand.
“We learn about what customers want and believe the behaviour of customers constantly changes. Meanwhile, technology and digital can influence change throughout all industries, including the property sector. We have to change from being property developers to providing living solutions,” Sansiri’s president, Srettha Thavisin, said in a recent interview with The Nation. “This means we have to develop residential to serve all demands by not only building residences, but also building more facilities to serve all of our customers’ demands. This will create satisfied customers.”
In following the market trend, Srettha said the company uses technology to support better architectural design of its buildings. It also designs residences to reflect concerns about the environment, under the concept of a design process that reduces construction waste, uses less harmful raw materials and is viewed as more “green” by its customers.
Property Perfect Plc has also announced it will this year bring to market less environmentally- destructive and more energy efficient residences in a collaboration with its partners, Sekisui Chemical of Japan, and PTT Plc.
“The trend now is to design residences that show concern about the environment, especially for the residence to be far away from pollution when people are concerned about their health,” Property Perfect Plc’s chief executive officer, Chainid Adhyanasakul, said recently.
“In this way, our business will move to develop residential that is friendly to the environment, saves energy under a green concept, designs the environment around the projects to fit a green concept, and also develops smart solutions and technology to serve customers’ demand.”
He said the company spent a budget of several million baht on research and development for residential design, and also collaborates with its strategic partners to find the best technology to serve customer demand. For example, it has collaborated with PTT to set up the EV Wall Charger at its residential projects, and to pursue joint research and development into smart energy monitoring management through use of artificial intelligence and solar PV to use in its residential projects.
“This is the way that we have to do it, following the customers’ behaviour change,” Chainid said.
AP (Thailand) Plc has spent an average of 1 per cent of its total yearly revenue –between Bt100 million and Bt200 million a year – for research and development of innovative technology for its residential projects, the company’s chief for corporate strategy and creation, Vittakarn Chandavimol, said recently.
“We spend the budget to develop technology to serve our residential design, and develop innovations to serve our customers’ demands under the concept of ‘intelligence residential’ for all generations of residents,” he said.
SC Asset Corporation Plc also spends about 1 per cent of its total revenues on research and development for its residential projects. With the aim of providing living solutions for customers, it focuses on innovation and design that serves the needs of all of its residents across the full spectrum of ages.
“Our residential design is concerned with meeting the needs of all generations of the family, including kids, teenagers, working members and senior members. Our residential uses raw construction materials that can be used by senior members. For example, we built a ramp for moving a wheelchair between a parked car and the 90-centimetre-wide entrance to the bedroom on the ground floor of our residential project, under the Grand Bangkok Boulevard brand,” said chief executive officer Nuttaphong Kunakornwong.
The design also used shock-absorption materials as floor-coverings and to avoid accidents, and ensuring the bathroom will be slip-proof with no steps.
According to the latest research by the National Economic and Social Development Council, Thailand will become a full-fledged ageing society in 2021 when the number of its senior citizens is expected to reach 13.1 million or 20 per cent of the total population.
Property developers are expected to design residences that meet the needs of all people, using technology, innovation, and “green” design. To achieve that, most are devoting more of their budgets to research and development in order to provide the best technology to serve the customers’ demands.