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My RICS: Lukasz Skowronski, green pioneer

My RICS: Lukasz Skowronski, green pioneer

At the age of 32, Lukasz Skowronski is the youngest RICS Fellow in Central and Eastern Europe and in CIS. He is managing director at Global Development LLP in the Kazakh city of Nur-Sultan (former Astana). Here, he shares his career experience and discusses the value of RICS membership to his career development.

Why have you chosen to work in Kazakhstan?

I’ve been in the real estate industry since 2006, combining work and studies. After getting my Master’s degree, I established my position in international real estate through projects in Poland, Germany and Slovakia. I also worked in Bulgaria in 2008.

Then, in 2012, I moved to Kazakhstan. I’ve always loved to travel, visit new countries and learn new cultures, but Kazakhstan was for personal reasons: my wife is Kazakh. We studied Real Estate Management and Investment together at Cracow University of Economics.

I often meet global real estate portfolio managers and workplace managers. In my opinion, it does matter when RICS membership is written on your business card. It’s proof of your experience, knowledge and transparency.

Lukasz Skowronski
Managing director, Global Development LLP

What do you focus on in your work?

As a managing director of a company that is an office premises landlord, I’m responsible for the full management of the office portfolio, totalling approximately 100,000m² gross leasable area. Our portfolio comprises seven business centres in Nur-Sultan and Almaty.

One of my career goals is to advance the real estate profession through developing the green building industry. We aim to promote green solutions in our property management approach. In March 2019, our Park View Office Tower won the BREEAM Regional Award: Asia arranged in London, becoming the first Kazakh building to win one of the highest international recognition.

How has RICS membership helped your career development?

RICS membership is undoubtedly a confirmation of a high standard of professional competence. During my day-to-day work activities, I often meet global real estate portfolio managers and workplace managers. In my opinion, RICS membership matters on your business card. It’s proof of your experience, knowledge and transparency.

People expect the highest standards of service and, for me, belonging to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is a guarantee and proof of my professionalism and desire to be an internationally recognised commercial property expert.

I’ve always seen my RICS membership as a recognition of what I have achieved and a motivation for further career achievement.

Talan Towers

One of Lukasz Skowronski’s recent projects has been Talan Towers in Nur-Sultan. It’s a mixed-use development with LEED Gold certificate and is an innovative complex featuring best practices for energy efficiency, sustainability and green building standards.

Within Talan Towers are an international business centre; a five-star luxury hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Astana; the exclusive The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Astana; and a shopping centre. The building has already become a significant new attraction in Nur-Sultan.

Why did you join RICS and then later decide to become FRICS?

My interest in joining began after taking part in the European Real Estate Challenge in Berlin in 2010, where I met RICS members from all over the world and experienced the influences of international students and property experts. We were able to take part in inspections of some of the best office developments in Berlin and Bratislava and to compare the German and Slovak markets to the Polish market.

I became a Chartered Member (MRICS) in 2014. That same year, I became a counsellor and I then trained as an assessor in 2015. Now, with RICS fellowship, I’m devoting myself to the hard work necessary to prove my Fellow status. I’m aware of the effort – as well as the level of responsibility – involved and it’s a career goal I’m proud to have achieved.

Fellowship is the highest status in the profession of surveying. I hope reaching it will help me make a real difference and to continue offering my clients the very best service.

How is the real estate industry changing?

Today, we have six generations living simultaneously: from the Greatest and Silent Generations and Baby Boomers to generations X, Y and Z. Each has different characteristics, aspirations and attitudes and their habits are reflected in the real estate market, especially office and retail sectors.

For example, typical business centres used to consist of 90% traditional office space, enriched by some retail and a car park. Today, it’s a combination of traditional offices, serviced offices, co-working areas, branded retail, food and beverage, gym/lockers/shower units and car parking. The traditional office is often less than 50% of the total area.

Similarly, in modern retail malls visitors are looking for experiences and that’s why entertainment zones and food courts have expanded significantly. Malls that don’t adapt to these trends face high vacancy levels.

Lukasz Skowronski
Lukasz Skowronski is the youngest RICS Fellow in Central and Eastern Europe and in CIS

How do you see the future of the profession?

Demographics will have a strong impact. By 2100, it is estimated that there will be 11.2 billion people with 82% living in cities, mainly in Asia and Africa. Average life expectancy will extend to 83 years with over 3.1 billion people aged 60 years or older. These demographic changes will transform buildings.

The importance of sustainability, energy efficiency and green buildings will increase. The evolution of functionality and flexibility in office spaces will continue, as will the importance of alternative work places: home, hotel, plane, train, café or anywhere outdoors…

I’m sure technology will have a huge impact on the market and the profession – we’re already seeing how digital transformation is changing real estate.

Facilities management is going to be revolutionized by exploring the value of BIM; the construction sector is being pushed forwards by 3D printing, robotics and cognitive automation influences. More and more deals are being closed by real estate agents using cryptocurrencies, and blockchain-enabled real estate start-ups appear daily. Peer-to-peer property transfer and rent or tokenization of real estate assets are creating trust and authenticating real estate transactions.

But, I’m sure that the core values and skills will remain unchanged. There are many important traits and characteristics you need to become efficient and successful: integrity, ethics, communication, adaptability (especially to new technologies), persistence and, of course, passion.

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