The UKAA Conference 2019 – the BTR event you couldn’t afford to miss
Thursday 31st October was an auspicious day - Halloween, “not-quite-Brexit” and the day the BTR game came to life. There are lots of Build To Rent events but the 340 delegates to the UKAA annual conference were once again reminded why this is one of the must-attend events for the industry.
From the invitation only Captains of Industry networking breakfast to the last encore from Beatr, the atmosphere was buzzy, welcoming and full of sharing of experiences, opportunities and fun.
The conference opened with CEO Dave Butler thanking the UKAA founding sponsors, the NAA and the exhibitors. He talked about the maturing of the BTR sector – building on the learnings gained since the East Village opened in 2013, innovating in design, construction and operation – epitomised by the Mace Jump Factory and focusing on the needs of customers and other stakeholder involved in delivering and operating a successful BTR scheme. He also talked about the growth and ambitions of the UKAA moving towards a strategic focus on operational best practice, growing careers in the sector, increasing knowledge and understanding of the sector, and ultimately creating consumer recognition of BTR as a lifestyle choice.
These themes were echoed by keynote speaker and entrepreneur Greg Marsh, who challenged the audience to understand what was involved in creating a consumer brand both for customers but also for staff. His anecdote about instructing hosts at One Fine Stay, his pioneering short stay business, to talk to guests like they would talk to friends of their parents struck a chord with the audience and brought home the practical cultural aspects of placemaking. Delegates responded by voting Greg’s session one of the highlights of the day.
The first session of the BTR game, the Investment Pitch followed, with the three teams explaining their Financial, Design, Planning & Construction decisions around each scheme and trying to persuade the delegates to invest in their scheme. Team Goldilocks explained how everything was just right with Parc, their sustainable suburban scheme in leafy Harrow. Team Cultivate sowed the Seed with some great designs for Acton and Team Brickin’ it showed how the strong public elements of the Smithy would work hard against the Hammersmith flyover.
After a quick break for breath, coffee and a tour of the exhibition, delegates dispersed to the breakout sessions. The latest news from the US on rent controls and on trends in amenities brought by the NAA’s Paula Munger, and multifamily experts Rick Snyder and Jenette Cox, was eagerly absorbed by private and public sector listeners alike. Elsewhere, holistic thinking on Health and Wellbeing from JLL’s James Kingdom and Hannah Avery and on how behavioural psychology could change our understanding of residents from Steve Byrne of 90 degrees and Katharina Wittgens of Innovation bubble opened minds and will hopefully lead to a research project. Meanwhile in the main hall, Henry Pethybridge of WiredScore took a deep dive into the digital future of buildings. This was followed by the ever-popular topic of lessons to be learned on lease-up. Lendlease’s Stephanie Barbabosa led a star-studded panel covering the UK and US, London and the regions, owner, operator and agent and the private sector and RP providers. A never-ending stream of questions form the audience meant that the session even extended into lunchtime.
More networking over the lunch sponsored by Canopy, led into the second BTR game session, where the emphasis switched to the teams persuading delegates to live and work in their scheme. Presentations were led by the marketing gurus; Steve Edge Brickin’ it laterally not literally; Matt Ede Cultivating the expert panellists and Connie Jaggard promoting the Parc with a rubbish brochure.
Click on the image to see presentations:
Team Goldilocks – Low Density (South Harrow)
Team Cultivate – Medium Density (Acton)
Winning Team Brickin It – High Density (Hammersmith)
The conference wrapped up with two awards sessions; Hannah Marsh presented the HomeViews awards for the Top 10 National, Regional and London BTR schemes and the Top 5 Complete Landlords. Essential Living, Allsop, Greystar and Savills were among the big winners on the day - Click on the images for full details of the report and awards:
View top rated developments
Dave Butler announced the results of the BTR game and UKAA president Lesley Roberts then presented the trophy to winning team Brickin’ It who took the popular vote in every category. Closing the conference, Dave thanked everyone who contributed to the conference, particularly the teams for their amazing efforts, the firms who made the game possible as well as the day’s moderator Sam McClary and event sponsors Bo Concept. He finished by re-emphasising a key theme of the conference – the need for the industry to share data to reduce risks and raise standards.
After the conference, 300 delegates stayed behind for a drinks reception sponsored by Mint Commercial, a great dinner and some fine entertainment from Beatr, the best band in the sector.
Feedback received from delegates has confirmed the impressions on the day, more than 85% positive rating overall and some great testimonials.
"Many thanks to the UKAA for a great event. We met many new and existing clients thanks to great pre-event promotion and a healthy footfall. The collaborative nature of the BTR sector is reflected well by the UKAA and we look forward to exhibiting again at February’s Expo.” - Exhibitor
"The UKAA conference was well executed by a friendly and bubbly team. With a packed out full day schedule, it was both insightful and engaging. It’s encouraging and positive to see a high level of collaboration between companies - who all have a unified mission to evolve the BTR sector." - Property Editor
"The UKAA conference differentiates itself from other BTR events because it is all about promoting and improving the industry. It's not an organisation running conferences just because residential investment is a topical money spinner. It is aiming to promote sharing of knowledge with a view to enhancing the sector. You know your attendance fee is contributing to UK multifamily in a positive way." - Lawyer
Next year’s event will no doubt be even better but if you can’t wait then the UKAA 2020 Expo takes place on 13th February and its free to attend! Book your ticket here: UKAA Expo 2020
View all the slides from the conference sessions:
Keynote speaker - Greg Marsh
Tech Talk - The future of technology in buildings, Wired Score
Think differently- Health and wellbeing in BTR - What can we learn from other sectors?
Rent controls in the USA - expert views from the NAA and R A Snyder
Trends in amenities and residents experience in the US - expert views from the NAA and Oddo Developments
What are your residents really thinking and feeling? Insights from 90Degrees and Innovation Bubble