The Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) rating is expected to play an important role in Qatar's major office lettings in the future as international occupiers are seen increasingly demanding accommodation that meets minimum sustainability targets and energy-efficient buildings, according to Cushman and Wakefield Qatar (CWQ).
Corporations’ responsibility towards climate change and sustainability is increasingly evident in 2023, with international occupiers demanding accommodation that meets minimum sustainability targets, it said in the latest report.
"The number of options available to global corporations in Qatar is reducing, as many will not consider occupying older buildings that don’t meet energy efficiency standards," the report said.
With little demand for older office space, retrofitting has become a hot topic among some of Qatar’s developers and landlords, it highlighted.
"We expect GSAS ratings to play an important role in any major office lettings in Qatar in the coming years. Ultimately, it may be the shortage of high-specification energy efficient buildings that drives new office construction, despite the availability of older office space," CWQ said.
GSAS is the first of its kind performance-based sustainability rating scheme for the construction industry in the Middle East region developed by Gulf Organisation for Research and Development in collaboration with TC Chan Center at the University of Pennsylvania, USA.
The primary objective of GSAS is to create a sustainable built environment that minimises ecological impact while addressing the specific regional needs and environment of the region.
The report highlighted that the Qatar Free Zone Authority, Qatar Financial Centre and Invest Qatar have been taking strides to boost private sector demand and encourage inward investment; however, significant new office demand from the private sector is only likely to become evident in the medium term.
Finding that the availability of office accommodation and the relatively slow take-up has resulted in a fall in construction activity in the commercial office sector in 2023; it said "we expect this trend to continue until a significant portion of existing prime office accommodation is absorbed."
The current oversupply of office space in Qatar will continue to be a drag on office rents, moving towards 2024, it said, adding the supply of purpose-built office accommodation in Qatar has now surpassed 5.3mn sq m, with an estimated 1.3–1.5mn sq m of vacant space available.
Grade-A stock is now typically available to lease for between QR100 and QR120 per sq m per month, exclusive of service charges. Shell and core office space can be leased from QR65 per sq m in areas such as Lusail and West Bay, while this type of accommodation is available for QR50–60 per sq m per month in some of Doha’s older office districts.