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BTR best practice guide shows how to future-proof assets

Australia 14 September 2022

International engineering design and ESG/Zero Carbon advisory Cundall, has released a Build-to-Rent (BTR) best practice guide that shows why ESG thinking is essential for long-term project viability. The guide responds to the signals from global finance as capital shifts to preference all-electric, highly efficient and net zero-ready developments with impeccable ESG credentials.

Reimagining The Future of Home: a best practice guide for Build-to-Rent” outlines a practical roadmap to achieving reliable long-term investor returns whilst delivering high quality assets. It explains the megatrends developers and investors need to address, and cost-effective and achievable ways to deliver competitive, high value and de-risked BTR assets.

Authored by a team of Cundall experts – headlined by sustainability associate, Hannah Morton – The Future of Home clearly articulates the key to lasting real value and operational success in BTR is not building down to a budget, but rather building up to a standard.

While some BTR developers are focused on the ‘experience’ bells and whistles of hotel-style rental living, and others are advocating for simplification and dilution of state government apartment design guidelines, the real value in BTR is full realised when developers prioritise operational sustainability and social value within all design, delivery, and operational considerations

“The recent announcement from the Australian Building Ministers Forum of strengthening of energy efficiency requirements in the National Construction Code to mandate minimum 7 Star NatHERS for residential buildings is a clear signal that the industry needs to aim high for quality and performance,” says Cundall Director, David Collins.

“In coming years, as the wider economy progresses further towards full decarbonisation, we can expect further uplifts to minimum performance standards. What this means for Build-to-Rent projects is they need to aim for better than code minimum, or owners and investors may find their assets are stranded within 10 years or even sooner.

“If BTR aims to provide a long-term and reliable income stream for operators and their stakeholders, the prospect of needing major retrofits in the near future should raise some major risk flags.”

Reimagining The Future of Home also explains the importance of passive thermal comfort, lighting design and acoustic design for supporting long-term occupancy. It maps out the role of digital engineering to streamline project design and delivery and lay the groundwork for enhanced asset management. Experts also explain the role of smart building approaches in reducing operational costs – a vital consideration for ensuring the investment delivers optimal returns.

“The net zero milestone of the Paris Accord is not negotiable and is less than 30 years away – that means any BTR project being designed and delivered now needs to be net-zero ready from the outset,” explains lead author Hannah Morton, Cundall Associate, Sustainability. “Developers and project teams also need to address the major megatrends of circular economy, eliminating hazardous toxins in materials and protecting biodiversity.”

“BTR is an opportunity address the triple challenge of housing supply, affordability and sustainability for our growing population. It also has the potential to demonstrate a level of excellence in design, delivery and operations that delivers tangible wins for all stakeholders, including those who will call BTR developments home.”

Download Reimagining The Future of Home – a best practice guide for Build-to-Rent here.