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  • Listen and learn; from Private and Public leaders in the Build to Rent market...

  • Network with the Industries key players and stakeholders; make new contacts and connections

  • Understand the challenges and opportunities in the Build to Rent market in Scotland

  • Listen and learn; from Private and Public leaders in the Build to Rent market...

  • Network with the Industries key players and stakeholders; make new contacts and connections

  • Understand the challenges and opportunities in the Build to Rent market in Scotland


The Build to Rent Forum Scotland is organised by Movers & Shakers and supported by Scottish Futures Trust, Homes for Scotland and The Scottish Property Federation. This is an established, authoritative one-day event that brings together private and public-sector leaders and key stakeholders to debate and exchange ideas.

Movers and Shakers also organises the and real estate networking events and conferences around the UK.

“Build to Rent Forum Scotland 2018 – Living with Build to Rent”

Building on the conferences in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and the ongoing progress in the market, this year’s theme “Living with Build to Rent”, reflects the fact the BTR buildings are now being occupied, schemes are being built and the development pipeline is growing.

We will explore what is happening on the ground, what is in the pipeline and what challenges remain in terms of developing BTR on scale and delivering products that meet the needs of the Customer. There will be a focus on the ‘Renter’ to understand their drivers and agenda, picking up on the experiences and lessons learned by seasoned operators.

We will have presentations from leading BTR Developer Operators on the schemes they are building, and we will consider whether BTR can deliver ‘Family Housing’ with presentations form two key players in this arena.

There will be plenty of opportunities to interact, to challenge, to ask questions and learn from leaders from both Public & Private sectors.

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This Conference will appeal to key players in Public and Private Sectors involved in Build to Rent in Scotland:

  • Organisations and individuals looking at the emerging Build to Rent marketplace, interested in understanding the market, identifying opportunities, making the right connections
  • Investors, Developers, Pension Funds, Banks, Housing Associations, Government & Local Authorities, Surveyors, Property Lawyers, Consultants and Contractors

A one-day event that will deliver value on multiple levels:

  • Be informed; understand the challenges and opportunities in the Build to Rent market
  • Listen and learn; from Private & Public leaders in Build to Rent
  • Gain valuable insights into the market; latest thinking; best practice and emerging models
  • Network with the Industries key players and stakeholders; make new contacts and connections

Event Speakers

David Jennings


Movers & Shakers

David started his career in Construction and Property. In 1990 he jointly founded and was a Joint Managing Director of the Salisbury Consulting Group; he sold his interest in 1995. In 1996 he formed Business Vantage, a business and research consultancy which specialises in property and construction and advises major UK plc’s.

David is the Founder Director and Chairman of Movers & Shakers formed in 1996 the UK’s most successful and popular networking forum.

He is also a Founder Director and shareholder of Stonemartin plc, an AIM listed serviced office business; founded in 1999.

David is Founder Director and shareholder of ResourceFull Ltd formerly Nice4Work Ltd

Tracey Menzies

Real Estate Partner

Brodies LLP

Tracey has over twenty years’ experience across a full range of real estate disciplines and is also head of Brodies’ Housebuilding group. Brodies’ real estate practice comprises 26 partners, and over 100 lawyers who focus purely on the real estate investment and development market in Scotland. Tracey specialises in commercial and residential land acquisition and development work, with particular focus on development construction and funding. Tracey’s clients include Bancon Group, Mactaggart & Mickel, Andrew’s Homes and Knight Property Group and she has been involved in substantial strategic land and developments across Scotland. She is regularly sought out by house builders and landowners to negotiate and implement complex option arrangements and promotion agreements.

Tracey is listed in the Legal 500 independent legal directory as a lawyer who is commended for her “ability to mix a strong commercial thrust with pragmatism and the personal skills needed to do property deals” and displaying “excellent awareness of the market”. She has proved herself popular with clients for her ability to focus on and explain key issues.

Thomas Ashdown

Chief Executive


Thomas founded Citylets in 1999 shortly after University as one of the UK’s earliest property portals. Since then he has steered its progression through to and maintained its position as Scotland’s certified leading lettings site attracting up to 4 million visitors per year. With over 18 years experience at the forefront of the sector, he is the one of the original dot-com pioneers and an early stage technology Investor.

Eve McCurrich


Whiteburn Group

Eve is the Director responsible for the expansion and delivery of Whiteburn’s residential for sale and build to rent VOX businesses. Whiteburn focus on regeneration of urban spaces and redundant buildings. Whiteburn are Scotland’s only developer focused on upcycling of buildings to deliver unique homes for people to rent. Eve started her career as a Laing Civil Engineering sponsored student and has a wealth of experience managing the delivery of a variety of projects in the UK and Dubai. Eve has spent over 15 years working in residential development for both PLC’s and Strategic Land Developers.

Eve sits on the Scottish Property Federation’s consultation panel on PRS/Build to Rent investment and delivery and is also a member of St Andrew’s University Court.

Rick de Blaby

Executive Deputy Chairman

Get Living

Rick de Blaby is Executive Deputy Chairman of Get Living, the UK’s leading owner operator of private rental homes, with 6,000 homes under management or in the pipeline across the UK, including sites in London, Glasgow and Leeds.

Managing 1,439 homes at East Village E20, the former London 2012 Athlete’s Village, the company has developed a revolutionary model for rental housing. Get Living is the only landlord that doesn’t charge fees, does not require a security deposit and offers longer three year tenancies, with a resident-only break clause, to give security combined with flexibility. Within tenancies, annual rent increases are set at CPI. From first viewing and throughout a resident’s stay, Get Living is responsive, flexible and attentive.

Rick has over 37 years’ experience in development and investment in both the residential and commercial sectors and has a particular interest in regeneration and design. Rick is also Non-Executive Chairman of Miller Developments, Non-Executive Director of Altitude Real Estate, Non-Executive Direction of Curo Housing Association and Chairman of the Kinetic Foundation Charity. Prior to Get Living, Rick was CEO of United House Group and prior to that, CEO of MEPC.

Matthew Benson


Rettie & Co

Matthew is a Director at Rettie & Co, heading up the Investment and Development teams, with particular focus on Build to Rent and affordable housing in Scotland. He was awarded the Saltire Award for Innovation in Housing Finance, which was delivered through the Resonance® funding model developed by Rettie & Co. Matthew works closely with the Scottish Government, local authorities, SFT, regeneration agencies and others to look at new ways of stimulating housebuilding and delivering affordable housing, and developed much of the thinking behind the National Housing Trust initiative. Matthew is a Non-Executive Director of Springfield Properties plc and is a member of the advisory board of Kleinwort Hambros private bank, a trustee of ProjectScotland which assists 5,000 Scottish volunteers, and is a board member of the Edinburgh Arts Festival. Mathew was the founding Chair of bio-tech businesses EctoPharma Ltd and Ryboquin Ltd.

Andrew Bruce

Head of Project Finance

Scottish Futures Trust

Andrew spent seven years working for a small merchant bank as a financial adviser and investor in infrastructure projects. Since 2009 he has worked for Scottish Futures Trust where he has had responsibility for sourcing and negotiating financing across several workstreams – especially the hub programme, the NPD programme and housing activities. On the latter, he was heavily involved in the set up of the LAR Housing Trust (a new charitable organisation for mid-market housing) and has been supporting Scottish Government’s efforts to promote the build to rent sector.

Iain Murray

Managing Director

Liv Consult

Iain has 30+ years of emerging sector Property experience in Facilities Management, Retirement Living and PPP/PFI before joining Criterion Capital in 2014 where he was Director of PRS establishing the Miflats business, delivering 2600+ units, now completed and fully let. Establishing LIV Consult in 2016 he continued to advise on large BTR schemes including the Grosvenor Springside development, which he subsequently introduced and brokered the sale to MODA. Iain’s team works beside MODA in Edinburgh and Glasgow to deliver over 1000 units. Iain is currently working with Cartwright Pickard on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Project to introduce Lifecycle to BIM Level 7D.

Robin Blacklock

Managing Director

Dowbrae Property Consultancy

Robin has been at the forefront of the Build-to-Rent market in Scotland since 2012 when he introduced the concept at Grosvenor’s Springside development at Fountainbridge in Edinburgh. Following a trip to the USA in early 2013 to better understand their equivalent market, Robin returned with an energy and enthusiasm for the sector which saw him lead a successful planning consent for a mixed use project anchored by 400+ build-to-rent units at Springside. He has also been instrumental in raising the profile of Build to Rent in Scotland, both in terms of introducing the concept to the industry, but also in the political arena around planning, promotion of the sector and tenancy reform.

Following the successful sale of the Springside site to Moda Living in early 2017, Robin set up Dowbrae Property Consultancy and splits his time between leading the development of the £250m mixed-use scheme, The Haymarket Edinburgh, and consulting on Build to Rent.

Dr John Boyle

Director, Research & Strategy

Rettie & Co

John is a property economist and chartered surveyor. He leads the Rettie & Co. Research Team, providing a cutting-edge research and consultancy function that informs clients on sales, lettings, investment and development opportunities as well as analysing where property markets are at and likely to be going. Over the last 15 years, he has built-up a wealth of experience from involvement at all stages of property projects, from small-scale developments through to major master-planned schemes of new towns and suburbs. He works for all of the major house builders in Scotland, the Scottish Government, many local authorities and investors. He sits on Homes for Scotland’s Policy Advisory Group and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Society of Property Researchers.

John is a regular media commentator on BTR in Scotland and he has presented at a number of events recently on BTR including for RICS and the Investment Property Forum. He has co-authored Rettie & Co.’s reports on BTR in Scotland and has acted as an adviser on a number of the country’s current BTR schemes, including Moda’s at Springside (Edinburgh) and Holland Park (Glasgow), Whiteburn’s at VOX (Dundee) and Inhabit’s at Broadford Works (Aberdeen). He regularly undertakes viability analysis of BTR schemes and his work informs the pricing, mix and absorption rates of schemes. He also undertakes appraisals of Mid Market Rent schemes for a range of providers, including developers and housing associations.

David Smith-Milne

Founder/Managing Director


David is the founder and managing director of Placefirst, an award-winning build-to-rent developer with offices across Manchester, Salford and Liverpool. The company designs, builds and manages a growing portfolio of aspirational rental communities aimed at low-to-middle income families looking for a better rental experience. Recognising that families with children were underserved in the private rental sector, Placefirst completed its first BTR community in 2015, comprising 120 homes and a new park in Accrington, Lancashire. The overwhelming market response to this pioneering scheme has provided a platform for the company’s growth which currently includes BTR communities in Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Greater Manchester. Working closely with councils that understand the public benefits of high quality, affordable PRS, Placefirst currently has over 1000 homes completed or on-site, and is actively exploring new opportunities in Scotland as part of its wider business plan to deliver 4,000 new homes by 2022.

James Pargeter

Senior Director

Greystar Holdings Europe Ltd

James is a Senior Director in the Development team at Greystar, where he is focused on the delivery of new ‘Build to Rent’ / multifamily rental communities and raising awareness about how this can help to address the UK’s housing crisis. He also leads Greystar’s involvement with central and local government at a time when policy around Build to Rent and multifamily housing is emerging strongly, as well as engagement with key local stakeholders on each of our projects. With 20 years’ experience of delivering homes across the whole tenure spectrum, James brings a broad understanding of the priorities for residents, local communities and policymakers in delivering long term rental developments that are purpose-designed, purpose-managed and have placemaking at their heart. James currently sits on the MHCLG Build to Rent Joint Committee, the British Property Federation’s Build to Rent sub-committee and the Urban Land Institute’s UK Residential Council. James is a Chartered Structural Engineer and, prior to joining Greystar, led the Residential Projects team at Deloitte Real Estate in London for 12 years.

Duncan Sutherland

Regeneration Director

Sigma Capital Group plc

Duncan Sutherland is the Group Regeneration Director for Sigma Capital and has been key in developing the overall partnership model, working with local government partners, and has been at the forefront in setting up the successful partnerships currently on the company’s books, such as in Solihull, Salford, and Liverpool. Duncan works closely with the government promoting this innovative approach to achieving regeneration.

Duncan is also a Non-Executive Director of Scottish Canals and has recently been appointed in a similar capacity by the Secretary of State for Transport to the board of HS2 Ltd. Previously, Duncan was Director of City Development for Coventry City Council.

Richard Jennings

Managing Director

Castle Rock Edinvar

Richard was appointed Managing Director in January 2017. He was previously Head of Property from October 2014 handling our capital investment and commercial activities. Before joining Castle Rock Edinvar Richard was Head of Development at East Lothian Council. Richard has strong public and private sector experience, having worked in local and central government, as well as for KPMG and PwC. Richard has a PhD in Geomorphology from the University of Wellington and a BSc in Geography from the University of Glasgow. Richard is a Board member of Volunteer Scotland and chair of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

Alex Greaves

Head of Residential Investments

M&G Real estate

Alex heads the residential capability at M&G Real estate. He has built the team from inception in 2013, and to date has invested circa £950m across 3,750 Private Rented Sector and Build-to-Rent units in the UK. Prior to joining M&G REal Estate, he spent seven years at Grainger with responsibility for the Schroders ResPut fund and the Grainger Geninvest JV with Genesis housing. He also set up Grainger’s Ramp platform and managed its partnership with Lloyds Banking Group for distressed borrowers. Alex is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), of the Investment Property Forum (IPF) and the deputy chair of British Property Federation Residential Committee.

Jean-Marc Vandevivere

Chief Executive


Jean-Marc has 20 years of experience in the Property, Retail and Consumer Goods industries. Prior to PLATFORM_, he spent 7 years at the Executive Committee of The British Land Company PLC, joining as Head of Strategy in 2009 to set up the new department, and later on becoming Head of Residential. Jean-Marc started his career at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), spending time across the Paris, Washington DC and London offices as a Principal. Jean-Marc sits at the IPF Strategic Board and the BPF Residential Board. He holds an MBA from Essec in Paris.

Cllr Lezley Marion Cameron

Vice Convener - Housing and Economy Committee

City of Edinburgh


William Astor


Long Harbour

William is a Board Director and a member of the Investment Committee. He has been instrumental in building the business and his primary responsibilities include the sourcing of finance, and management of Long Harbour funds and strategy. He is also actively involved in the origination and execution of transactions undertaken by the business.


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