THE ELEPHANTS IN THE BUILD TO RENT ROOM
How does efficiency help make a scheme viable? (part 1)
The difference design makes
3 insights in 3 minutes
Can you give us some examples of the sort of things people are building into their designs?
One of the things that the house building industry generally focuses on is it's gross to net area efficiency, so how much rentable or saleable area can they get out of out of an of a permitted envelope and they do this by squeezing all of the non-saleable or rentable areas. But in a Build to Rent situation that isn't always the optimal answer. So the an easy example is hallway widths. So the minimum standard hallway with in the UK is 1,200 mills, but that makes for a rather narrow hallway if you've got people moving in and out with any regularity that will begin to show itself quite quickly. So by moving the hallway width from 1,200 to say 1,500, you lose 300 mills, but you gain a better user experience, a better customer experience.
There's a big debate at the moment as to whether build to rent in the UK should offer furnished apartments or non-furnished apartments, what's your view?
My view is informed by the marketplace here is that about 70-80 percent of our customers want and expect their apartments to come furnished and they're willing to pay for that.
What would you say is has happened and changed just over recent months as you've gone from one building to another?
A lot of things have changed. We've completely re-engineered the heating system, so we've gone from an individual heating system from apartment to apartment to a central system. So we've got one system for up the entire block of apartments and that doesn't really affect the occupant or the customer, except that they all of a sudden got more space in their utility cupboard. But from a building management point of view we now have in this building one heating piece of heating equipment versus 120. On an amenity space aspect I think we've definitely evolved the thinking in terms of providing amenities in every block versus centralising amenities into sort of the common points of a group of blocks.
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: