All the fun of the Fayre – Part One

BTR News caught up with Dave Butler, CEO of the UKAA to talk about the upcoming Build to Rent Fayre this month.

UKAA Build to Rent Fayre 2021 | BTR News

BTR News caught up with Dave Butler, CEO of the UKAA, ahead of November’s UKAA Conference and Dinner to find out what’s getting him excited as he prepares for one of the highlights of the Build to Rent calendar.

We started off by asking about the unusual name ‘The Build To Rent Fayre’. Dave explained: “We wanted to keep that feeling from last year’s Festival of being part of a community but to make it intimate and personal. So we went back and copied Glastonbury which was known as a Fayre when it started.”

Which part of the event is he looking forward to most? Dave: “That’s a really hard question. It’s vital for us to deliver great content at our events and I want to make it difficult for our delegates to choose what to miss. Every topic is one that I am personally interested in but I’m probably keenest to see the sessions that report on the work that we, our members, and our friends have been working on over the last year.

“The UKAA is all about sharing knowledge to raise standards and the sessions on ‘Who Lives In Build To Rent’, and ‘DMR Best Practice in Affordable BTR Homes’ are great testament to the spirit of cooperation within the sector; to our work with the BPF and London First and the increasing willingness of members to share information. There’s much more to come on this but we’ve made some great starts. There’s more great research being shown in Jason Hardman’s session on ‘The Value of Operational Excellence – The link between Opex and Rent’ and in ‘Happy People Pay to Stay’ which is all about making people the centre of the deign brief.”

Dave also wants to highlight the headline speaker, Sophie Hine, Innovation Lead for BTR at John Lewis and Partners (JLP). He says forcefully: “As someone who spent many years in retail, I’m really keen to hear ‘From Retailing to Renting’ from JLP about what they can bring to the sector. Understanding brand and delivering operational excellence are key areas that I think we have lots to learn about.”

Operations are right at the heart of the UKAA’s activities and Dave is keen to highlight the content in this area too, pointing to the session entitled ‘Help, How should I employ my operator?’ as one where sector expertise will come to the fore, exploring different relationships between investor and operator and how these can affect the success of a scheme. Dave also remarks on the popularity of anything to do with lease-up, with the regular feature Stories from the Front Line and this year, a new session on ‘The Power of Mystery Shopping’, plus details on how UKAA members can access the $8bn corporate and government lets market.

Importantly, there are a number of sessions looking at different aspects of ESG – from the best Frameworks for Residential to the Living Wage, all vital reminders of the context in which Build to Rent operates.

Perhaps the sessions that are most eagerly anticipated in the industry are the HomeViews Residents’ Choice National Awards for the best BTR schemes and the Building Talent Recognition Awards for the team members who have gone above and beyond.  

Dave is keen to keep talking about the Fayre’s content, but we want to ask about the Build to Rent Best Practice Guide, which is being ‘road-tested’ at the Fayre and what this actually means.

Dave: “We want to show that reality of what we’ve built and get people’s reactions to it. This will help us iron out any problems and also encourage members to contribute their knowledge. The BPG is quite a lot of tech and a bit of content now – in 2022, we and our members will turn this into an infinitely scalable and valuable resource to reduce risk and improve outcomes for everyone in the sector.”

In Part Two of this article we’ll look at what else is happening at the Fayre, from Resident Experiences and Juice Bikes to a Free Lunch in Manchester.

The UKAA Build To Rent Fayre 2021 study tours take place on Monday 15 November across London and Manchester, with the conference and dinner on Tuesday 16 November at 131 Houndsditch and a satellite session at Material Source in Manchester.

Find out more and book your tickets here.