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2018 Event


The Build to Rent Forum Scotland, held on 11th October 2018, was a great success.

We attracted a cross-section of high calibre speakers from private and public sector leaders and key stakeholders. Over 200 delegates attended the Forum.


PDF downloads of the 2018 Presentations (please click an image to download the PDF).


Emily Alexander

Head of Reputation

Get Living

Emily leads Get Living’s strategic communication; promoting while protecting the reputation of Get Living and its UK neighbourhoods – existing and in development. Emily joined Get Living in 2014 and combines a passion for delivering an amazing resident experience, with more than 12 years’ experience in communications. Before her role at Get Living, Emily spent more than eight years agency side working with clients across property, finance and travel in the UK and UAE.

Amy Davis

Head of Asset Management

Odysseus Capital Management

Amy is responsible for overseeing the PRS Asset Management process at Odysseus, having managed and transacted over £100m of residential assets, including an Institutionally owned PRS platform for the last 4 years. Her experience has led to her having been instrumental in developing a full-spectrum Institutional Platform for PRS investment and development, currently under roll out. Amy’s specialisms include investment analysis and modelling, design optimisation and feasibility, financial reporting, and ongoing practical asset management. Amy is also running the ground-up optimisation and planning process on a bespoke mixed-use project with c260 Build to Rent units recently secured by Odysseus. Amy is a chartered surveyor and, prior to joining Odysseus was an Investment Manager at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. Amy is a member of the IPF and Heriot Watt Real Estate Advisory Committee.

Nigel Chapman

Fund Manager

Aberdeen Standard Investments

Nigel Chapman is a Fund Manager and is responsible for residential real estate investment at Aberdeen Standard Investments. Nigel joined Standard Life Investments in 2000 and prior to working in the residential team managed Standard Life Investments £1.5bn UK Property Fund for 10 years. Nigel graduated with BSc (hons) in Urban Estate Management from John Moores University. He holds an Investment Management Certificate, is an associate member of the RICS, sits on the RICS Residential Valuation Working Group, is a Mentor within the Urban Land Institute Mentor Programme and sits on the Board of Cairn Housing Association.

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.

Kevin Stewart MSP

Minister for Local Government and Housing

Scottish Government

Before his election to the Scottish Parliament, he was previously the Depute Leader of Aberdeen City Council and served as a local councillor for more than eleven years. As a councillor, he chaired the Finance and Resources Committee and the North East of Scotland’s Regional Transport Partnership, NESTRANS.

Kevin has served in the Scottish Parliament as the member for Aberdeen Central since 2011. He was the Convener of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee in the last Parliament and sat on the Welfare Reform and Justice Sub-Committee on Policing.

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


Fiona Morrison

Deputy Chief Executive

Hillcrest Group


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hazel Sharp Webb

Head of PRS & BTR Services

Rettie & Co

Hazel is as chartered surveyor and qualified marketer, and was Business Development Director with Allsop’s Letting and Management subsidiary for over 10 years, operating large-scale residential portfolios across the UK - over 10,000 homes under management on behalf of more than 25 investor clients. She has been actively involved in the development of the build-to-rent (BTR) sector, since joining the first ULI UK study tour of the US multi-family sector in 2013, and she co-authored the management chapter of the 2nd edition of the ULI UK’s Best Practice Guide to Build to Rent. Her hands-on experience spans product suitability, design and operations.

Hazel provided consultancy services to Rettie & Co. before welcoming the opportunity to join them permanently in 2017 as Head of PRS & BTR Services. She has been instrumental in introducing new and improved methods of service delivery, including PropTech, not only to support Rettie’s growth in the PRS/BTR/MMR sectors, but also with particular emphasis on helping and supporting renters, regardless of tenure. She is also a passionate advocate of collaboration in the industry – acknowledging respective strengths, bringing them together, and sharing opportunities (as well as risks) for the greater good (of both clients and residents) – together making BTR work in Scotland.

Hazel was a key spokesperson for the industry through tenancy reform in Scotland, as lead in this area of the PRS Working Party, and chair of the SPF Residential Investment & Management Committee. She is a member of the RICS PRS Forum, and a non-executive director of Link’s Group Board and member of their Development and Property sub-committees. She is also embarking on a project with the IRPM to develop their Build to Rent qualification, including authoring modules specific to BTR in Scotland.

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