Birmingham Crane Report: The 64 new building developments under construction, including the tallest yet

Deloitte’s Birmingham Crane Survey has identified the 64 new building developments currently underway in the city
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Now in its 22nd year, the latest Birmingham Crane Survey is part of Deloitte’s Regional Crane Survey series, which monitors construction activity within four UK cities, across a range of sectors including office, residential, hotels, retail, education and student accommodation. 

Despite strong economic headwinds which have seen heightened levels of construction inflation and higher than average interest rates, the study has found that it was another record-breaking year for the residential sector as it drove development activity across Birmingham with 31 schemes under construction and 11 new starts - and the legacy of the Commonwealth Games has been credited for the strong performance.

Completions were down 20% in 2023, the report found. But despite this dip, the city recorded another record-breaking year with the number of new homes under construction, meaning 8,848 new homes are set to come to market over the next three years - an uptick of 36% from the 6,487 homes in the survey area in 2022. The report has also analysed office builds and student accommodation along with the healthcare sector.

Whereabouts in Birmingham are most of these new residential developments?

The Jewellery Quarter recorded the highest number of residential completions at 558 homes. Tracking slightly behind, the Gun Quarter delivered 420 homes, and Eastside 375 homes. Southside saw the most construction activity in the residential sector in 2023 with 2,743 homes under construction.

The housing pipeline is further bolstered by five sites undergoing active demolition and seven cleared sites which are ready to break ground. Additionally, 20 residential schemes have been granted planning permission in the survey area but have not yet started.

Which building development will see the tallest building? Is it the Octagon?

Birmingham also witnessed its skyline change for the second consecutive year as One Eastside started on site. Topping out at 51 storeys once complete, it will surpass Octagon’s 49 storeys.

Paradise’s Octagon building – designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects – is set to be the “world’s first” purely octagonal residential tower.The Octagon is expected to be a 155m skyscraper in the heart of Birmingham. Construction will continue throughout 2024, and it is expected to be completed by 2025.Paradise’s Octagon building – designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects – is set to be the “world’s first” purely octagonal residential tower.The Octagon is expected to be a 155m skyscraper in the heart of Birmingham. Construction will continue throughout 2024, and it is expected to be completed by 2025.
Paradise’s Octagon building – designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects – is set to be the “world’s first” purely octagonal residential tower.The Octagon is expected to be a 155m skyscraper in the heart of Birmingham. Construction will continue throughout 2024, and it is expected to be completed by 2025.

What about office space in Birmingham?

Despite challenging economic conditions, this year’s report indicates that Birmingham is still very much open for business with the report showing that the city is successfully attracting and retaining new office occupiers, securing its status as a thriving commercial hub.

New office starts more than doubled in 2023 with five breaking ground, a stark increase when compared to the two new starts in each of the three previous years (2020-2022).

New start Three Chamberlain Square is set to contribute a further 189,000 sq. ft. of office floorspace to the market and will be the first net-zero carbon development within the Paradise Masterplan.

Additionally, 591,134 sq. ft. of office floorspace was completed in 2023, across three schemes in the City Core and Westside – John Cadbury House, One Centenary Way and 10 Brindleyplace. This is over double the quantum delivered in 2022.

The phased Paradise development continues to add to the office floorspace figures in the City Core, with the completion of One Centenary Way contributing 335,134 sq. ft.

Within the survey area, 785,981 sq. ft. of office space is currently under construction, largely in the City Core but reaching out to new office hotspots such as Digbeth. This is close to the 866,969 sq. ft. of office space under construction in 2022, representing a drop of just 9%.

2023 was also a great year for office refurbishments. Six of the nine schemes under construction are undergoing regeneration. This reflects the increasing recognition of embodied carbon, and a continuing post pandemic trend where the office sector is striving to adapt to new ways of working and occupier demands for collaborative and flexible spaces.

Birmingham skylineBirmingham skyline
Birmingham skyline

What about student accommodation?

The student residential and education, and healthcare sectors have also seen a notable uptick in activity during 2023. 

This year’s survey shows that three new student residential developments started on site, which together will deliver 1,562 student beds within the City Core and Gun Quarter. 

Meanwhile, in the City Core, construction began in late 2023 on a major redevelopment of Birmingham Children’s Hospital to deliver 47,511 sq. ft. of improved healthcare facilities.

How have Birmingham developments benefited from the Commonwealth Games and how does the city compare to the other four English cities in the survey?

Providing a snapshot of developer activity, this year’s Birmingham Crane Survey shows that the number of projects which broke ground during 2023 maintained similar levels to 2022 with 20 new starts across 19 schemes, and 44 schemes currently under construction, both up from the previous year.

Of the 20 new starts, residential led the way with 11 schemes, five office developments, three new student accommodation schemes and one in the healthcare sector.

Across all surveys – Belfast, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester - 60 new construction starts were recorded in 2023, with a total of 151 schemes currently on site.

Whilst the residential and office markets remain strong, accounting for 16 of the 20 new schemes, it has been a mixed picture for other sectors, some of which have seen little or no activity.

The legacy of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 has left a definitive spirit of sport in the city, according to the analysts, acting as a catalyst for further development and economic uplift focused on visitors to the region.

Despite no new hotel schemes breaking ground in 2023 they say that there is future activity and activity outside of the survey’s boundaries. For the fifth consecutive year, there were no new retail-led schemes.

Zoe Davidson, added: “2023 was a phenomenal year for Birmingham against a backdrop of economic uncertainty both at a national and local level, and a need to live up to the expectations set by the success of the Commonwealth Games.

“The legacy plan is in place and whilst attracting investment is a marathon not a sprint, the planning pipeline for core sectors is strong both within and outside of the survey’s boundaries.

“Birmingham City Council’s framework is anticipated to redefine the city’s core geographical boundaries which will incorporate major developments not currently recorded in the survey.

“Looking forward, 2024 could be another record-breaking year for the city although we are yet to see the full impact of those headwinds steering the economy.” 

Eleanor Bird, assistant director at Deloitte Midlands, says: “There is every expectation that the boundary of this crane survey will expand beyond the ring road and into four quadrants with activity likely to pick up in inner city areas such as Bordesley Green, Edgbaston and Ladywood. 

“These areas are already benefiting from investment and better transport links into the city centre.  Connectivity and regeneration go hand in hand, which is evident in the number of planning applications submitted from across all areas of the city – the future is bright for Birmingham if all of these applications are successful.”