Will Waller
Will Waller
Build to Rent Market Leader
+44 7787 152097

The Build to Rent sector is relentlessly focused on providing a great customer experience and operational excellence, and indeed, both these aspects are at the heart of the business model. But to hit net-zero carbon, beat the competition in an increasingly competitive market and accelerate post-COVID recovery, a fundamental shift is needed. What role do intelligent buildings have to play in accelerating this shift?

What are intelligent buildings?

An intelligent building has dynamically connected interoperable smart systems that deliver specified benefits by normalising, analysing, and acting upon collective data. This goes beyond smart buildings, which contain any number of smart systems, but that don’t work together.

Through our work with clients developing intelligent buildings, now in partnership with ICONICS, we know the value from an intelligent building does not stem from the technology solution itself, but from the impact on users.

Key benefits of intelligent buildings include:

Enhancing user experience

An intelligent building can help meet and exceed the evolving expectations of its users, whether that be enhancing their experience of amenities, the concierge, or the environment in the building through heating, lighting etc. An intelligent building can help people be happier with their space, healthier, more productive and eager to be there.

Increasing operational excellence

User experience starts with a high performing building. Driving that with automated workflows and tools to optimise efficiency will also lead to environmental benefits and financial advantage for operators.

Informing future plans

The learnings and benefits from intelligent building systems and results can be fed back into how buildings are organised and developed in future. This creates a positive feedback loop for continuous improvement in an everchanging market.

Intelligent buildings in the Build to Rent sector

Intelligent buildings are not currently ubiquitous in the Build to Rent sector in the UK and Ireland, but there are clear signs that things are starting to change. Moda recently announced its partnership with Utopi, which will see them jointly build and optimise intelligent technology across Moda’s development portfolio.

There is a clear opportunity for Build to Rent players to move quickly in this space to deliver an enhanced customer experience and improve operational management. This will ultimately give an edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Build to Rent investors, developers and operators who are considering their intelligent building strategy should think about:


Identify customer needs and align them to desired outcomes. Use this to develop an intelligent building blueprint, which is based on measurable benefits.


Develop a detailed brief that clearly explains the use cases to be addressed. This should cover the level of building integration for both hardware and software, and crucially also encompass user behaviour.


User acceptance and testing will be the cornerstone of successful execution. Optimise delivery in line with testing to ensure long term benefits are realised early on.


Once operational, evaluate performance and ensure that benefits are being realised and maximised.

What makes intelligent buildings a success?

In our experience of developing intelligent buildings with clients, the top three critical success factors we see are:

Be outcomes led.

Engage the same organisation for an end-to-end solution.

Be agile in responding to user feedback.

We all know that happier tenants stay longer. Intelligent buildings are all about boosting the experience of the people who use, live and work in a building. Build to Rent operators will want to place tenant needs at the core of their intelligent building vision and blueprints.


Investing in intelligent building technology – and implementing it successfully – will result in happier tenants. Furthermore, intelligent buildings will likely make a greater contribution to strategic environmental objectives and realise financial efficiencies too. Depending on the pace of implementation, there may also be benefits in helping with the management of COVID-security.


As we enter the next phase of the fight against COVID-19 and renewed economic headwinds, now could be the time for Build to Rent operators to consider their intelligent building strategy to boost competitive and operational advantage.


Contact Will Waller at


Will Waller
Will Waller
Build to Rent Market Leader
+44 7787 152097

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