Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

About Steve Watts

Steve Watts, Cost Consultant, is a Partner at Alinea Consulting. He was previously a Partner at Davis Langdon LLP, heading their global Tall Buildings Specialist Group. This group captures knowledge and information from the company’s numerous high-rise projects around the world, including the majority of the landmark tower schemes that are currently in various stages of development in central London.

Steve led Davis Langdon’s team on the HSBC Tower at Canary Wharf from inception to completion, an appointment that covered all aspects of a ‘turn-key’ project, and successfully moved 8,500 employees into a new headquarters building on time and on budget.

He has worked on many tall building proposals at feasibility stage, both in and outside the public domain, and is currently closely involved in The Leadenhall Building for British Land and The Shard at London Bridge for Sellar Property…


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About Steve Watts

Steve Watts, Cost Consultant, is a Partner at Alinea Consulting. He was previously a Partner at Davis Langdon LLP, heading their global Tall Buildings Specialist Group. This group captures knowledge and information from the company’s numerous high-rise projects around the world, including the majority of the landmark tower schemes that are currently in various stages of development in central London.

Steve led Davis Langdon’s team on the HSBC Tower at Canary Wharf from inception to completion, an appointment that covered all aspects of a ‘turn-key’ project, and successfully moved 8,500 employees into a new headquarters building on time and on budget.

He has worked on many tall building proposals at feasibility stage, both in and outside the public domain, and is currently closely involved in The Leadenhall Building for British Land and The Shard at London Bridge for Sellar Property Group.

He also led one of Davis Langdon’s Commercial Offices Teams in London, and co-wrote the company’s Central London (low Rise) Office Cost Model, and his CV includes a number of high profile city schemes.

Steve has contributed to a number of studies and publications, including Davis Langdon’s latest High-Rise Cost Model (published in Building in April 2007) and the recent British Council for offices book: Tall Buildings – A Strategic Design Guide (for which he wrote the ‘Cost’ section). He is regularly asked to present on the economics of tall buildings at conferences.

CTBUH Involvement

  • Board of Trustees, Treasurer (2011 – Present)
  • Country Executive Committee (2015 – Present)
  • Country Representative, United Kingdom (2009 – Present)
  • Expert Peer Review Committee (2014 – Present)
  • Past Roles:
  • Advisory Group (2008 – 2011)
  • Working Group: Finance & Economics, Chair (2009 – 2014)
  • Conference, Co-Chair (London 2013)
  • Conference, Speaker (Mumbai 2010; Shanghai 2012; London 2013)
  • Conference, Session Chair (2016)
  • Conference, Steering Committee (London 2013)
  • CTBUH Journal, Editorial Board (2008 – 2014)
  • International Research Seed Funding, Peer Review Panel (2014)

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Initiatives Involving Steve Watts

CTBUH Board of Trustees Travels to Costa Rica

23-25 Mar 2017, Event Report – The CTBUH Board of Trustees was in Costa Rica for their twice annual meeting and…

CTBUH Board of Trustees Set the Agenda for 2017

16 Oct 2016, Event Report – The Board of Trustees held their second meeting of the year in conjunction with the…

2016 CTBUH Leaders Meeting Report

16 Oct 2016, Event Report – The Annual Leaders Meeting was held this year in conjunction with the 2016…

Initiatives Involving Steve Watts

CTBUH Board of Trustees Travels to Costa Rica
23-25 Mar 2017, San José – Event Report
The CTBUH Board of Trustees was in Costa Rica for their twice annual meeting and to support a chapter event and a signboard ceremony for the country’s tallest building.
CTBUH Board of Trustees Set the Agenda for 2017
16 Oct 2016, Shenzhen – Event Report
The Board of Trustees held their second meeting of the year in conjunction with the 2016 Conference to discuss the Council’s plans for 2017.
2016 CTBUH Leaders Meeting Report
16 Oct 2016, Shenzhen – Event Report
The Annual Leaders Meeting was held this year in conjunction with the 2016 Conference in China, bringing together the Council’s leaders from around the world.
CTBUH Board of Trustees Gather in Venice for March Retreat
11 Mar 2016, Venice – Event Report
The CTBUH Board of Trustees held its first meeting of the year, reviewing 2015 accomplishments, 2016 plans, the upcoming China Conference, and more.
Motorsport Technology Transferred to the Design of Towers
10 Feb 2016, London – Event Report
A discussion on the application of Computational Fluid Dynamics, a successful technology in motorsport and aerospace, to architecture and tall buildings.
October 2015 Trustee Meeting Report
25 Oct 2015, New York City – Event Report
The second CTBUH Board of Trustees meeting of 2015 took place before the 2015 Conference. The Board discussed Council strategy for the upcoming year, as well as welcomed new Trustees.
Does London Need Tall Buildings?
7 Oct 2015, London – Event Report
The CTBUH UK Chapter hosted a successful panel discussion posing the question "Does London need tall buildings?" at Grimshaw's Clerkenwell studio.
CTBUH United Kingdom Chapter Launches in London
17 Jun 2015, London – Event Report
The CTBUH UK Chapter launched with an event at London’s BT Tower. Topics of discussion included a surge in high-rise construction in the city, and sustainability.
Trustees Meeting Heralds Bright Future For CTBUH
9 Mar 2015, Chicago – Event Report
The CTBUH Board of Trustees held its first meeting of the year, reviewing 2014 accomplishments, 2015 plans, the New York Conference, and more.
Trustees Meeting Reflects CTBUH’s Momentum
28 Feb 2014, Chicago – Event Report
The CTBUH Board of Trustees met February 28, setting the course for a number of strategic Council initiatives, including the Strategic Five-Year Plan.
Activity at the CTBUH London Conference: Day Two
12 Jun 2013, London – Conference Activity
See the highlights from the second day of the CTBUH 2013 London Conference including The Shard Networking Reception.
2013 London Conference: Height & Heritage
11-13 Jun 2013, London – Conference
In the midst of two decades of unprecedented tall building development globally, Europe has increasingly embraced the skyscraper, even in cities seen as “anti-tall.”
Activity at the CTBUH London Conference: Day One
11 Jun 2013, London – Conference Activity Report
See the highlights from the first day of the CTBUH 2013 London Conference including the Opening Plenary and Conference Dinner.
Activity at the CTBUH London Conference: Pre-Conference
10 Jun 2013, London – Conference Activity Report
See the highlights from the pre-conference activities including the networking reception held at the top of 30 St Mary Axe and the launch of UltraRope.
World Architecture News Interviews Conference Speakers
May 2013, London – CTBUH In the Media
Fifteen architects, engineers, and industry experts, set to speak at the CTBUH Conference in London 11-13 June, talk to World Architecture News about building tall.
London Conference Steering Committee Meeting
20 Mar 2013, London – Event Report
The Steering Committee for the 2013 CTBUH London Conference convened to discuss and confirm the final details of the Conference including the speakers, sponsorship, and tours.
Trustees Meeting 2013, Chicago
4 Mar 2013, Chicago – Event Report
The board of trustees of the CTBUH held its annual meeting at IIT in Chicago on March 4. As a first order of business, the board welcomed three new trustees.
London 2013 Steering Committee Meeting
4 Dec 2012, London – Event Report
Thirty members of the London 2013 Steering Committee, representing developers and a wide range of industry disciplines, met to discuss themes and strategies for the upcoming conference.
Shanghai Congress News Day Congress: Day Three
21 Sep 2012, Shanghai – Conference Activity Report
See the highlights from the third day of the CTBUH 2012 Shanghai Congress including the plenary on the past, present, and future World's Tallest Buildings.
Sustainability Workshop, Shanghai
18 Sep 2012, Shanghai – Event Report
The CTBUH Tall Buildings and Sustainability Working Group convened the day before the start of the Shanghai Congress to review recent progress and focus on goals for the future.
Trustees Meeting 2012 Report, Chicago
19 Mar 2012, Chicago – Event Report
After one of the most successful years in the 43-year history of the CTBUH, the Board of Trustees gathered to review recent initiatives and discuss the Council’s long-term strategies.
Trustees Meeting 2011, Seoul
11 Oct 2011, Seoul – Event Report
The second Trustees meeting of 2011, which welcomed new Trustees Dennis Poon and Steve Watts, took place during the Seoul Conference.
2011 CTBUH Leaders Meeting
9 Oct 2011, Seoul – Event Report
Tall building industry leaders from around the globe met at the seminal Dongbu Financial Center tower for the 2011 CTBUH Leaders Meeting.
CTBUH Makes New Leader Appointments
14 Sep 2011, Chicago – CTBUH News
The Council is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to the Board of Trustees, Dennis Poon and Steve Watts, and one appointment to the Advisory Group, John D. Nipaver.
London Report: Bucking a Western Trend?
Jul 2011, London – Tour Report
Executive Director Antony Wood visited the UK in July for the inaugural meeting of a future CTBUH UK Chapter and other endeavors.
Shard London Bridge Visit
23 Jan 2011, London – Tour Report
While in London, CTBUH’s Jan Klerks took the opportunity to visit the city's future tallest building; the Shard London Bridge, currently rising next to London Bridge Station.
CTBUH 2010 Annual Leaders Meeting
22 Oct 2010, Chicago – Event Report
Following the CTBUH 9th Annual Awards Dinner & Ceremony, the CTBUH Leadership team met again bright and early on the campus of the IIT in Chicago for their annual Leaders Meeting.
Tall Buildings and Sustainability Working Group Update
Nov 2008, Chicago – CTBUH News
Two meetings channeled the efforts of the Sustainability Working Group into an anticipated 80,000 word, 200-page, richly illustrated book.
Height Committee Meeting, 2007
24 May 2007, Chicago – Event
Attended by 27 representatives from 5 countries, this meeting typified the complex factors involved in the determining of height, and the title of ‘The World’s Tallest.'

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Steve Watts Related Resources

Transformative Skyscraper Technology Discussed by CTBUH Treasurer and UK Chapter Chair

Transformative Skyscraper Technology Discussed by CTBUH Treasurer and UK Chapter Chair

18 Mar 2016, – The World Economic Forum conducted an interview with CTBUH Treasurer and UK Chapter Chair Steve Watts, who…

Read more Global Tall Building News

Panel Discussion: Future Cities: What are the Biggest Threats and Opportunities?

17 Oct 2016 – CTBUH 2016 China Conference
Steve Watts, Alinea Consulting; Jianping Gu, Shanghai Tower C&D; Rui Gu, CAPOL; Ray Shick, Gensler; Chris Yoshii, AECOM;

What are the Major Factors Influencing Tenant Choice Right Now?

Jun 2013 – Monthly Video Series
William Murray, Wordsearch; Robert Pratt, Tishman Speyer; Eugene Seah, Langdon & Seah Singapore Pte; Steve Watts, AECOM

Session 1: Market Fundamentals Q&A

11 Jun 2013 – CTBUH 2013 London Conference
Panel Questions & Answers

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Cities to Megacities: Perspectives

Oct 2016 – CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue IV
CTBUH 2016 Conference Speakers

The Vertical Master Plan

26 Oct 2015 – Global Interchanges: Resurgence of the Skyscraper City
Temoor Ahmad & Neven Sidor, Grimshaw Architects; Steve Watts, Alinea Consulting; Adam Miller, Thornton Tomasetti

Office vs. Residential:The Economics of Building Tall

May 2013 – CTBUH Journal, 2013 Issue II
James Barton & Steve Watts, Davis Langdon

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Press/Media Related to Steve Watts

Transformative Skyscraper Technology Discussed by CTBUH Treasurer and UK Chapter Chair
, – The World Economic Forum conducted an interview with CTBUH Treasurer and UK Chapter Chair Steve Watts, who discussed transformative…

Read more: Global Tall Building News / CTBUH in the Media Articles

Steve Watts Related Videos

Panel Discussion: Future Cities: What are the Biggest Threats and Opportunities?
17 Oct 2016 – Presentation at CTBUH 2016 China Conference; Steve Watts, Alinea Consulting; Jianping Gu, Shanghai Tower C&D; Rui Gu, CAPOL; Ray Shick, Gensler; Chris Yoshii, AECOM;
Monday, October 17, 2016. Shenzhen, China. A panel discussing the challenges of growing urban populations throughout the globe.
What are the Major Factors Influencing Tenant Choice Right Now?
Jun 2013 – Monthly Video Series; William Murray, Wordsearch; Robert Pratt, Tishman Speyer; Eugene Seah, Langdon & Seah Singapore Pte; Steve Watts, AECOM
Industry leaders answering this question include: William Murray, Wordsearch; Robert Pratt, Tishman Speyer; Eugene Seah, Langdon & Seah Singapore Pte; and Steve Watts, AECOM.
Session 1: Market Fundamentals Q&A
11 Jun 2013 – Presentation at CTBUH 2013 London Conference; Panel Questions & Answers
Session 1 panelists including David Glover, Chief Executive, Building Engineering, Aecom; Nigel Smith, Managing Director, Landlord Office Agency Asia, CBRE; Nigel Biggs, Head of Global Premier Properties, CBRE; and Steve Watts, CTBUH Trustee /…
Vital Signs, Vital Statistics – The Impact of Shape on Tower Economics
11 Jun 2013 – Presentation at CTBUH 2013 London Conference; Steve Watts, Alinea Consulting
Shape, more than anything, drives the cost of tall buildings; but to what extent does cost drive shape? The particular constraints of historic environments like London can make this an uneasy relationship, and one that is quite different to the…
Interview: BREEAM and LEED
21 Sep 2012 – 2012 Shanghai Congress Interviews; Steve Watts, Davis Langdon
Steve Watts of AECOM Davis Langdon is interviewed by Jeff Herzer during the 2012 CTBUH Shanghai Congress at the Jin Mao, Shanghai. Steve discusses the value of different design choices including the use of BREEAM and LEED in skyscrapers.
Track 9: Economics & Marketing Q & A
19 Sep 2012 – Presentation at CTBUH 2012 9th World Congress, Shanghai; Panel Questions & Answers
Track 9 Panel consisting of: Steve Watts, AECOM; Judit Kimpian, Aedas; Nigel Smith, CBRE HK; & William Murray, Wordsearch took questions from delegates.
Effective & Sustainable Tall Buildings: A Blueprint for the Future
19 Sep 2012 – Presentation at CTBUH 2012 9th World Congress, Shanghai; Steve Watts, Davis Langdon; Judit Kimpian, Aedas
This presentation discussed the “Future Office” study focusing on the principle of exploring simultaneously the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of a tall building (i.e. planet/people/profit). The study underpins a new methodology…
Seoul Conference 2011 Track Session 16: Q&A
Oct 2011 – Presentation at CTBUH 2011 Seoul Conference; Timothy Johnson, NBBJ; Kyung Wook Seo, Kyonggi University; Robert Mankin & Jonathan Ward, NBBJ ; Steve Watts, Davis Langdon; Paul DeSantis, Principal & Travis Soberg, Goettsch Partners; Philip Oldfield, University of Nottingham; Michael Wiener, Gensler
Question & Answers session for Track Session 16.
The Office of the Future
Oct 2011 – Presentation at CTBUH 2011 Seoul Conference; Steve Watts, Davis Langdon
Steve Watts is a Director of Davis Langdon, an AECOM company, based in London, UK. He is a cost consultant by profession and leads the firm's global Tall Buildings Group. Steve presents about the impact of tall buildings on capital cost, long term…
The Economics of Sustainability & Mixed-Use
22 Oct 2009 – Presentation at CTBUH 2009 Chicago Conference; Steve Watts, Davis Langdon
Davis Langdon’s cost model for tall buildings is a seminal reference tool in the industry. In addition, a complimentary reference for sustainable-economics in the context of tall is being developed as part of the CTBUH Sustainability working group.…
Session 2 - The Changing Economics of Tall Sustainability Q & A
22 Oct 2009 – Presentation at CTBUH 2009 Chicago Conference; Panel Questions & Answers
The Session S2 speaker panel consisting of: Steve Watts, Partner / Tall Buildings Leader, Davis Langdon, London; Dan Probst, Chairman Energy and Sustainability, Jones Lang LaSalle, Chicago; and Garrett A. Miller, President, Hill International Real…
The Economics of Sustainable Tall Buildings
3 Mar 2008 – Presentation at CTBUH 2008 8th World Congress, Dubai; Alastair Collins, Steve Watts & Mark McAlister, Davis Langdon
Alastair Collins & Steve Watts of Davis Langdon LLP presented sustainability within the tall building sector through the framework of the Triple Bottom Line at the CTBUH 8th World Congress in Dubai. They discussed the integration of sustainability…

Steve Watts Related Papers/Research

Cities to Megacities: Perspectives
Oct 2016 – CTBUH Journal, 2016 Issue IV; CTBUH 2016 Conference Speakers
The CTBUH 2016 International Conference is being held in the three cities of the Pearl River Delta, the world’s largest “megacity,” projected to have 120 million inhabitants by 2050. The conference brings together some of the leading thinkers on…
The Vertical Master Plan
26 Oct 2015 – Global Interchanges: Resurgence of the Skyscraper City; Temoor Ahmad & Neven Sidor, Grimshaw Architects; Steve Watts, Alinea Consulting; Adam Miller, Thornton Tomasetti
With over half of the world’s population now living in an urban environment, major world cities (especially) will always grow in population over time. To avoid city sprawl, urban densification will be required. This will need to happen at a steadier…
Office vs. Residential:The Economics of Building Tall
May 2013 – CTBUH Journal, 2013 Issue II; James Barton & Steve Watts, Davis Langdon
When it comes to tall buildings in London, the sky’s the limit, and not necessary in terms of height. With rents among the highest in the world and investors eager to see strong returns, the incentive to maximize floor plates, as well as the…
Effective & Sustainable Tall Buildings: A Blueprint for the Future
Sep 2012 – CTBUH 2012 9th World Congress, Shanghai; Steve Watts, Davis Langdon; Judit Kimpian, Aedas
The ‘Future Office’ Study responded to the challenge of creating a tall office buildings in central London for half the current benchmark – without compromising design credentials and while ensuring true sustainability. The principle of exploring the…
Tall Buildings in Numbers: The Economics of High-rise
Oct 2010 – CTBUH Journal, 2010 Issue III; Steve Watts, Davis Langdon
Includes comparative studies of high-rise construction costs based on location and building function. Key high-rise cost drivers = shape & geometry, size & regularity of floor plate, structural solution, façade specification, environmental strategy…
The Economics of Sustainable Tall Buildings
Mar 2008 – CTBUH 2008 8th World Congress, Dubai; Alastair Collins, Steve Watts & Mark McAlister, Davis Langdon
In this paper drivers, opportunities and barriers to sustainable tall building development are described.
The Economics of Supertall Towers
Nov 2007 – CTBUH Wiley Tal Journal, 2007; Watts, Steve ; Kalita, Neal and Maclean, Michael
This paper addresses global economic factors infl uencing the decisions leading to the development of super-tall towers, including population growth and urbanization, economic cycles and the ‘Skyscraper Index’, regulation and ‘regulatory tax’, and…