The BTR Awards 2020

The Inaugural Build to Rent Talent Recognition Awards - an amazing showcase for the great people and teams involved with this sector.

Bedroom with wall frame - BTR Awards 2020 - The Property Recruitment Company | BTR News

By Kevin Redman, Founder, The Property Recruitment Company

On Thursday 19 October we had the absolute honour of hosting the inaugural Build to Rent Awards, as part of the wider Festival of Built to Rent hosted online by the UKAA.

With a remarkable number of nominations our judging panel – consisting of Liz Peace, Chair of LandAid and ex-CEO BPF, Rebecca Lovelace, Founder and Chief Dot-joiner at Building People CIC, Alex Notay, Placemaking and Investment Director at PfP Capital, and Andrew Bulmer, CEO at IRPM had the unenviable task of shortlisting those nominations to five in each category, then drilling down to the final winner.

The show kicked off with a welcome from Dave Butler, CEO of The UKAA  who then handed over to our very own Matt Halfpenny – proving that even from the comfort of his dining room, style is still important by wearing his best black-tie dinner suit.

Our first award was for ‘Team of the Year’ – in this category the judges were looking for a team that has really stepped up the level of care to try and make living in 2020 as easy as possible despite the circumstances. There were so many excellent examples of outstanding customer service, champions of resident engagement and some remarkable feedback from our final five nominees.

The nominees were: Get Living – New Makers Yard, Moda – Angel Gardens, Way of Life – The Lansdowne, GreyStar – Charter Place, Moorfield/Allsop – The Forge.

We are thrilled to announce the winner was… Get Living: New Makers Yard!

They wowed the judges with the breadth of achievement that they were able to demonstrate, including:

  • They had a world-class net promoter score with a 2020 year to date NPS of 56, peaking in August at 80. 
  • The team also supported local businesses through Get Living’s ‘Live Sessions’ online event series, funding virtual workshops with Seven Bro7hers, and fitness classes with resident Personal Trainer Jared Berndt. The team continued to support Our Parks to run free outdoor classes safely.
  • The New Maker team also supported August’s Pride in Manchester through their own series of online ‘Speak with Pride’ events. The team also have big hearts and, as well as The Dogs Trust, this year they have supported Mind in Salford and Salford Foodbank through donations totalling more than £5,000.
  • Looking forward, this Christmas the team are planning a Mind in Salford partnership decorating a tree with positive affirmations and reminding people that they have the support of the community over the festive period.

Well done to the New Makers Yard team!

Next up was the ‘Team Member of the Year’ – this award recognised the outstanding work of a team member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty – to provide excellent care for their residents, building or community in the wake of Covid-19. 

The judges will be looking for evidence of this sustained excellence before, during and after Covid-19 lockdown.

The nominees were: Serina Maiolo – Fizzy Canning Town, Paul Phipps – Dandara Living, Avril Portch – Amro, The Green Rooms, Andrew Wadl – FirstPort, Landsby, Alameda and Beton, Angel Stoyanov – Get Living, East Village.

The judges had a hard time choosing between the amazing nominees and their incredible individual contribution, but decided that ultimately the award should go to Serina Maiolo from Fizzy Canning Town.

Serina wowed the judges by really going that extra mile – her personality, enthusiasm and commitment to her customers shows through. The judges said, “Consistently exceptional and clearly giving a really personal touch that makes an impact.” 

Examples of Serina’s great work include:

  • Setting up a foodbank in the building’s reception area, encouraging tenants to both take and donate items as needed, reducing food waste, and often removing the need for a trip to a store.
  • She also kept residents informed and included with the weekly ‘Tenant Time’, a two-hour slot in which tenants can approach Serina with anything they wish to raise or talk about, Fizzy-related or not.
  • Keeping residents entertained with her weekly roundup emails each Friday – containing updates from the Fizzy team, often including jokes and/or poems which are greatly appreciated by the residents.
  • Finally a piece of feedback from a resident which really helped to solidify the judge’s decision:  “Another day, my daughter was delighted by the random visit of a Disney Princess (our BoB Serina really goes the extra mile!), who was waiting at the door with a present, a balloon and a chocolate. All to make Fizzy’s children’s lives a bit happier!”

What a worthy winner – well done Serina!

Next up was an important award and one that takes on a different meaning in 2020 and truly an award that makes us so proud to be working in this sector. The award for ‘Community Initiative’. This award strives to recognise a company who has delivered an initiative that has benefitted the scheme’s community during Covid-19.

The judges were looking for evidence and great examples of teams that had innovative idea which enhanced the community, as well as an approach and plan that made the initiative successful – and finally evidence of the lasting impact of the initiative within the community.

We had some really amazing  and powerful submissions in this category and the judges managed to narrow the shortlist down to the following: Get Living – East Village Community Pantry, Greystar – Covid Community Initiative, HPS Services – Protect, Moda – Combating Covid with Smart Tech, and Way of Life – Protecting our Key workers & safeguarding our Residents.

The judges decided that the winners were Way of Life for the ‘Protecting our Key workers & safeguarding our Residents’ scheme.

The judges said: ‘The winning entry from Way of Life “protecting our key workers and safeguarding our residents” stood out for a number of reasons. Lots of schemes offered accommodation to NHS workers. Way of Life are rolling this out as a permanent form. Lots of BTR companies talk about Health & Wellbeing – Way of Life delivered on this through their partnership with Mind, delivering Pause boxes to residents each month to help them focus on and improve personal wellbeing. They are making a tangible and permanent difference’.

Congratulations to Way of Life and thank you for this amazing initiative!

Our final award was a very special one. Nominations for the ‘Judges Award’ were decided by the UKAA board and committee members. The award is intended to recognise an industry figure who has made an outstanding contribution during the pandemic. As with our other awards, the final nominees were all outstanding and we do not envy the judges in having to decide the ultimate winner.

The final nominees were Ian Fletcher, BPF, Debra Yudolph, creator of ‘Do Some Good’, Adina David, Ladies in Real Estate and Lesley Roberts, for her role as President of the UKAA.

Our judges ultimately decided that the most deserving winner was Ian Fletcher!

The judges summarised that ‘everyone on the shortlist had made a tremendous contribution to the BTR sector and beyond for many years, three are powerhouses whose drive and energy has really made a difference, whether in founding Do Some Good, leading the UKAA as a force for changing the industry, or as a long-standing champion of collaboration and support of women and diversity in the real estate sector.

One of these would shrink at the description of a powerhouse, but in the words of the judges – “the BTR sector would not be what it is today without him. During lockdown he worked even harder, championing the sector tirelessly to government ensuring recognition of the sectors resilience and its ability to look after its customers. He is the epitome of someone who works behind the scenes with no expectation of recognition. It is fitting therefore to give the judges award for 2020 to Ian.’

We wanted to say congratulations once again to Ian, and everyone nominated for this very special award!

The BTR awards were born to celebrate and recognise the talented, hard-working, and committed people who make up the Build to Rent sector and we were blown away by the volume and the quality of those nominations. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting the awards and to see through our screens exactly how passionate the great people that work in our sector are! Our aim was to highlight the contribution that these great people in our sector make, and to really make the BTR awards the most celebrated people recognition in the industry – and we feel we succeeded with that on the day!

One final congratulations to our nominees and of course our incredible winners. We cannot wait to see you next year – hopefully in person!