THE ELEPHANTS IN THE BUILD TO RENT ROOM
How does efficiency help make a scheme viable? (part 2)
Scaling a scheme
4 insights in 3 minutes
What sort of scale do you think people really need to make the most efficient use of Build to Rent?
That's an interesting one because it's not infinitely scalable. My experience running properties in the US leads me to believe that below a hundred you really struggle, between two and five hundred is probably the sweet spot. Schemes of over six, seven hundred you start to lose a little bit of the efficiencies that you thought you might be getting, because you start to have staffs that require shifts. You start to, you know, have problems with the concierge not necessarily being able to remember things, remember people's names. So there's definitely a limit.
One of the things that you've mentioned to me is your pod approach to Build to Rent building management. What exactly do you mean by that?
So here at Wembley Park Tipi is currently developing approximately 3,500 units, and what that means is that it's not a 3500 unit scheme it's seven five hundred unit schemes, if I've done my maths right. And each pod will have its own staff, its own on-site team, and each pod will have its own special features and slightly different design unit layouts - amenities and so forth. So you have to take a bit of a diversified approach to developing large sites.
Do you think developers are starting to design more specifically for Build to Rent now, rather than just Build for Sale?
I do I definitely see that, not just us at Wembley Park but other developers in the space are doing it. They're starting with the small things, slightly wider corridors, amenity spaces on the ground floor, more well designed and thought through customer journeys through the building and through the leasing process.
If you’re going to sum up some of the key messages to a developer newly going into the Build to Rent market, what would you be saying to them?
Start with the customer, not with the planning permission. I think we get confused too easily on who the client is in this business and we've been focused I think for a long time on regulations, compliance and the planning system as being the client as opposed to the actual occupant - who is our customer.
There’s another elephant in the Build to Rent room!
Michael Allen, Managing Director at Tipi, shares his opinion on the difference design efficiency can make to viability.
Market insights include: