How is tech transforming the build-to-rent sector?


Despite the many challenges presented by Covid-19, BTR has remained profitable and continues to attract investment across the board. There are many possible reasons for this. One reason is that young professionals are striving to live in both a multi-faceted building and a great location. BTR gives them this option; they can have the luxuries of a hotel while being in an easy, commutable distance to work.

I recently attended a UKAA webinar presented by MRI Real Estate Software, titled ‘Why you should be connecting your build-to-rent technology’. Dan Foryszewski of Investor Solutions discussed the many benefits of using technology in a BTR scheme. MRI Software covers many areas including property management, task hubs and site surveys. This technology and data can make a significant difference to the investor, the developer and the resident alike.

Dan commented in response to a question on the importance of connectivity to the build-to-rent sector: “Full fibre is very important. If you are working from home and doing a job that requires you to be constantly on a webcam, it is absolutely imperative. For the solutions we’re providing, as they become more data rich and as there’s more inventory in them, they’re going to need faster internet speeds to be able to connect. If I was moving into a BTR development, I would expect fibre broadband.”

Installing BMS software will greatly improve any BTR development and will help enable it to reach smart building status. But a full fibre network must be in place for this to work well in the long term and to limit the cost for the client. Incorporating CCTV, door entry, electricity meters and air conditioning in one project can get expensive and complicated for developers. Without fibre, every add-on will need its own network and in 10 year’s time, copper cables will have to be replaced to comply with government regulations.

We provide a unique offering in that we design and provide an Open Access Network into each property, enabling you to run all of these services and systems across our single converged network. Furthermore, we provide a full-fibre network to the home. Unlike many other providers in the market, we do not use copper in our installations. This is now old technology and slows down services across the network. This will have a negative impact on residents’ upload and download speeds and their overall user experience. We provide a service and support report as well as logging all downtime queries for the landlord on a quarterly basis. We understand that developers want to know how well our broadband works, and we are more than happy to show you this data as often as you would like, which appears to be critical information for institutional investors and their stakeholders.

The key takeaway is: to ensure your building achieves its smart building potential, choose your internet provider wisely and use full fibre to your advantage.

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