Shortlist announced for The Pineapples awards for place

The shortlist has been announced for the inaugural Pineapples awards for place, as fresh pineapples were delivered to the offices of successful entrants across the UK to celebrate their success.

This week, the shortlisted built projects will be visited by the judges, who will be assessing the quality of these places using methodology by the Gehl Institute.

The Pineapples, sponsored by the Design Council, celebrate the urban life of developments and places where people want to live, work and play. The four categories include completed place, place in progress, contribution to place for individual buildings and meanwhiles, and future place, for masterplans.

The awards are unique because all shortlisted built projects are visited by the judges, as well as presented to a live audience of delegates at the Festival of Place.

The Festival of Place is a one-day event that transforms Tobacco Dock in east London into an HQ for makers of place, bringing together speakers and delegates from across the built environment who care about building cities that thrive.

The awards are also unique in requiring completed projects to be in use for a minimum of two years before being assessed, supporting the importance of post-occupancy evaluation in the built environment.

Projects shortlisted for The Pineapples:

The Pineapples for place in progress

Battersea Power Station, London, Battersea Power Station Development Company

Blackwall Reach, London, Swan Housing Association, London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Greater London Authority

Broadgate, London, British Land, Arup

King’s Cross, London, Argent

London Dock, London, St George City, Patel Taylor

Park Hill, Sheffield, Urban Splash and Places for People, CUBED

Smith’s Dock, North Shields, Urban Splash and Places for People, CUBED

Wembley Park, London, Quintain

The Pineapples for completed place
Balham Town Centre, London, Wandsworth Borough Council, Metropolitan Workshop
London Wall Place, London, Brookfield Properties and Oxford Properties, Make Architects
One Tower Bridge, London, Berkeley Homes and London Borough of Southwark, Squire & Partners
Italian Gardens, Weston-super-Mare, West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, BDP

The Pineapples for future place
8 Albert Embankment, London, U+I, Pilbrow & Partners
Culture Mile, London, City of London
Inner North West Masterplan, Belfast, Belfast City Council
Kirkstall Forge, Leeds, Leeds City Council, CEG
Oakfield, Swindon, Nationwide, Metropolitan Workshop 
Port Loop, Birmingham, Urban Splash, CUBED
South Bank, Leeds, Leeds City Council, CEG
The Chocolate Factory, London, Haringey Council, Barton Willmore
West End Project, London, London Borough of Camden, LDA Design
Wickside, London, McGrath, CEG

The Pineapples for contribution to place

Merchant Square Footbridge, London, European Land & Property, Knight Architects
Revealing the Charterhouse, London, The Charterhouse, Eric Parry Architects
Television Centre, London, Stanhope, Mitsui Fudosan, AIMCo and BBC Studioworks, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
The Department Store, London, Squire & Partners
Waltham Forest Walking and Cycling, London, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Commonplace Digital

The judges include:

Yolande Barnes, chair, Bartlett Real Estate Institute, UCL

Roisin Willmott, director of Wales and Northern Ireland, Royal Town Planning Institute

Akeel Malik, fund manager, Urban Splash Residential Fund

Brian Ham, executive director – development, Home Group

Peter Martin, group director – development, Sanctuary Group

Sue Morgan, director of architecture and the built environment, Design Council

Ben Adams, founding director, Ben Adams Architects

Piers Taylor, founder, Invisible Studio Architects

The judges will make their final deliberations at the festival and winners of The Pineapples will be announced at the cocktail party at the close of the Festival of Place.

The Design Council says, “We are proud to sponsor the Festival of Place and the Pineapple Awards, which will be the summer’s leading event in the built environment calendar. Our experience and evidence shows that well-designed neighbourhoods can have a transformational impact on us all, improving health and well-being, enhancing the environment and stimulating the economy.”

Brought to you by The Developer, the Festival of Place takes place at Tobacco Dock on 9th July 2019

Book tickets for the Festival of Place.

@festivalofplace #ThePineapples


The Developer is backed by Ocean Media Group (OMG), publishers of Inside Housing and Social Housing.  OMG also organises the industry leading events - Housing 2019 and HOMES 2019.



A Month's Worth of Rain in One Day

Malcolm Frodsham, Real Estate Strategies

I’m not sure if it is my advancing years or having three teenage children, but some expressions cause me late night irritation. “A month’s worth of rain has fallen in one day” we are reverently told, but what is this statistic intended to imply? Has this amount of rain ever fallen in one day before or does this happen quite often?

Expressing rainfall, as with many other measures, with reference to an average is not necessarily helpful without further clarification. How often does the average monthly rainfall total fall in one day? What impact will this amount of rain have on the transport infrastructure?

Measuring portfolio risk is similarly subject to the tyranny of averages. The average vacancy period for a particular unit might be 6 months, but what is the likelihood of a longer vacancy period?

Are such events likely to be isolated or are similar units also likely to be affected? Understanding the vulnerability of portfolio income to such events is the key to risk management and measuring the empirical history is the key to estimating the risk. If you are interested in such a study please get in touch.

As with the weather, we may not be able to predict extreme events, but we can at least understand their likelihood and make the necessary preparations and contingencies.

NB: the portfolio affect is amply demonstrated by daily rainfall totals for the South east as a whole for which no single day’s rain has exceeded the monthly average since records began in 1931.

Pluto Finance funds 26-unit residential new build scheme in Milton Keynes

Pluto Finance has closed a new £8 million stretched senior residential development loan to Paul Newman New Homes for a new 26-unit scheme in Milton Keynes.

The Monkston Park development will comprise 18 houses and eight affordable apartments, located on the south side of Milton Keynes on the edge of the Ouzel Valley. The site is part of the Council’s broader strategic development plan for Milton Keynes.

This is the second scheme Pluto Finance has funded with Paul Newman New Homes, following the development of a 34-unit development in the New Bradwell area, also in Milton Keynes.

Greg Dunne, Pluto Finance’s Lending Director, comments: “We are delighted to be lending for a second time to such an experienced borrower. Paul Newman New Homes has a great reputation for unlocking complex development sites by working in close partnership with housing associations, landowners and financial institutions.”

Paul Newman New Homes was established in 2004 and has since built over 1,000 new homes in the UK.

Paul Newman says: “To have the backing of a no-nonsense funding partner, such as Pluto Finance, with a quick turnaround, enables our team to deliver much needed new homes in the Milton Keynes area and further afield.”

Milton Keynes is a popular commuter town, with a 30-minute train time to London Euston. The population, currently 250,000 is growing more quickly than in most parts of the UK making it attractive to a variety of household name employers such as Deloitte, Santander, Red Bull racing, Network Rail, John Lewis Distribution and The Home Retail Group. Between 2010 and 2016, the business base increased by over 34%.

Bracknell Forest Council offers major development and investment opportunity to market

Avison Young instructed to seek JV partner for further Bracknell regeneration

Avison Young has been appointed by Bracknell Forest Council to find an investment and development partner to form a 50:50 Joint Venture (JV) to deliver key elements of the on-going regeneration of Bracknell town centre and the immediate area.

The multi-site opportunity is initially for residential-led mixed use development across three central sites, with capacity for circa 700 residential units over six acres of land. There will also be the potential for additional sites to be added within the borough and new opportunities to be identified by the JV over time.

The ongoing regeneration follows the successful and nationally applauded first two phases, which culminated in the launch of The Lexicon – a £270m retail and leisure development which saw visits exceed expectations by 1 million in the first year.

Bracknell is the first post-war new town to be comprehensively masterplanned, demolished and redeveloped. The Lexicon is one of the largest urban regeneration schemes created in the UK over the past decade. This success can be attributed to the drive of the council and its partners (Bracknell Regeneration Partnership) in the central phase, and to the strong partnership between them.  The Lexicon has won a number of industry and peer awards for its committed focus on regeneration, and a strong collaborative approach with determined development partners.   

The council is now seeking to appoint a partner for other phases of regeneration using an OJEU Competitive Dialogue process.

 Charles Trustram Eve, Director at Avison Young, comments: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a forward-looking and proactive authority to deliver regeneration that builds on Bracknell’s successes of recent years. The town centre is changing rapidly with the opening of The Lexicon in 2017 with a number of other important retail and leisure developments in the pipeline.

 “The JV will have the potential to operate beyond the town centre on a variety of projects throughout the borough. The opportunity is therefore broad and the right partner will need a breadth of experience to match.”


Bracknell is widely recognised as one of the most productive areas in the UK and is home to a number of major corporate companies, including Waitrose. It is also a recognised hub for the technology sector, with occupiers including Panasonic, Fujitsu, Dell and Hewlett Packard Enterprises. It benefits from a direct train service to London Waterloo, is conveniently situated between the M3 and M4, and is just 19 miles away from London Heathrow.   


Timothy Wheadon, Chief Executive at Bracknell Forest Council, adds: “We’re a dynamic and forward thinking council with a strong track record of delivering high quality regeneration with our partners. We’ve already delivered two phases of comprehensive regeneration with development partners and now we’re looking for a new partner to continue to expand Bracknell’s regeneration success story.


“We are looking for a partner that has the financial capabilities, technical resource and experience to support the council and proactively facilitate the delivery of the exciting next phase.”


Interested parties are invited to submit a Standard Selection Questionnaire (SSQ) by 12 noon on 27th June 2019 using the South East Business Portal.


Pluto Finance adds new Credit Analyst to London team

Pluto Finance has appointed Anish Vora as Credit Analyst joining the firm’s London-based team.

Anish started his career at National Australia Banking Group, focusing on commercial lending for three years, followed by three years working in the wealth management industry with a focus on the analysis of UK equity funds and UK equities. Anish then became an investment manager responsible for placing equity into real asset projects including residential and commercial developments.

At Pluto Finance, Anish joins the 15-strong team. With backing from some of the world’s largest institutional investors, Pluto Finance is currently funding the development of over 2,000 new homes in the UK.


Logicor’s multi-let industrial estates in Crawley and Reading are now fully let following its latest lettings.

At The Brunel Centre in Crawley, Unit 1, comprising 4,262 sq ft has been taken by Siemens Mobility Ltd and the 3,170 sq ft Unit 13 has been let to Palmer UK. The new tenants join Iron Mountain, Kuehne & Nagel and Citysprint (UK), among others, at the 77,020 sq ft industrial estate.

Two new lettings have also been secured at Oxford Road Industrial Estate, Reading to German Bakery Ltd and A2 Supplies Ltd. German Bakery Ltd has taken Unit 1, comprising 2,939 sq ft of warehouse space. A2 Supplied Ltd has taken Unit 2, totalling 2,900 sq ft.

Oxford Road totals 25,919 sq ft of multi-let industrial warehouses, with tenants including Groom & Hornsby Ltd and MAS Kitchen Installations.

Haslams and Sharps Commercial are joint letting agents at Oxford Road Industrial Estate. FTD Johns and DTRE represent Logicor at The Brunel Centre.


Logicor has let Minworth Central, the 164,311 sq ft warehouse in Minworth, near Birmingham, to Rico Logistics Ltd on a long-term lease.

 The Logicor team helped the courier company move from its existing 26,000 sqft premises within Logicor’s UK multi-let industrial portfolio, to the larger Logicor Minworth Central distribution building, securing a new long-term lease for the growing company.

Anthony McCluskie, Director, Asset Management, for Logicor’s UK team, comments: “We identified Rico Logistics growth plans and worked closely with them to support their expansion aims. The company had two years unexpired on its existing lease in Oldbury and I am delighted we were able to facilitate their move to the larger Logicor premises which better suits their needs.” 

Minworth Central is located north east of Birmingham, within a few minutes drive of the M6, M6 Toll and M42 motorways.

Delva Patman Redler announces Partner promotions

Delva Patman Redler has promoted two members of its team to the position of Salaried Partner.

From 1st May 2019, Shirley Waldron and Suzanne Leo have become Salaried Partners, in recognition of their continued work efforts and ever-growing status in the industry.

Shirley will continue her valued work with existing clients, while also taking on additional new responsibilities, working with Equity Partner Rob French on business generation and management of the London surveying team. Suzanne will continue to build on the excellent client contacts and work for Delva Patman Redler in the North West, expanding operations in this region.

Investment and industry heads sign up to guide SME property development strategy post-Brexit

Experts and industry veterans from RICS, Savills and the Association of Property & Fixed Charge Receivers have been confirmed amongst the line up for a conference focused on post-Brexit strategies for SMEs.  

The Conference, run by the Developers Boardroom, on 22nd May 2019 will see twelve real estate experts deliver their insights into opportunities for property investments and development either side of Britain's eventual exit from the EU.

Following sentiment provided to the Developers Boardroom network by Berkeley Group boss Tony Pidgley CBE at The Dinner in January, The Conference will focus on creative and current strategies which are ‘hyper relevant’ to the current UK market place, for moving forward with acquisition activity.

Chief Economist for RICS, Simon Rubinsohn will open the event, covering key macro considerations, followed by Lucian Cook, Head of Residential Research at Savills who drill deeper into key concerns in the residential sector.

The Conference is the brainchild of prolific SME developer Nicole Bremner and procurement entrepreneur Alex Harrington-Griffin. The pair have set out to bring to light some of the strategies often utilised by more experienced firms, for use by SME developers.

Nicole, founder of developer East Eight, comments: “At times of market uncertainty, especially amongst smaller developers, we all need to think more creatively about everything from deal sourcing to exit to funding. The recent Brexit delay has only created greater uncertainty which gives us huge encouragement that this event is well timed to unpack some very relevant solutions, and what could be serious opportunities.”

Developers Boardroom, which celebrated its second-anniversary last week, has worked with well-known entities such as Savills, Allsop, the Greater London Authority and the founder of Berkeley Group to help deliver insights for UK SME’s into where advanced strategies and opportunities may exist. These insights have been delivered over some 35 events since launching.

The Conference invites up to 200 SME investors and developers to the British Library for the full-day event, which will also see twelve experts come to together for a broader strategy discussion. Reservations are available through the Developers Boardroom website until 18th May 2019.

Does Twitter help SEO?

The answer is YES!

Research shows that up to 85% of users will click a company’s social media profile before clicking their website. From all the platforms we decided to focus, today, on Twitter. 

Let’s look at some of the statistics:

According to information available on the web, this channel boasts of 326M monthly active users; There are 500 million tweets sent each day and 6000 tweets every second.  The growing user commitment is a great opportunity for brands.

If numbers are anything to go by then, according to a Twitter survey, 54% of users reported that they had taken action after seeing a brand mentioned in Tweets (including visiting their website, searching for the brand, or retweeting content).

Let’s not forget the Google and Twitter partnership which makes many of the top tweets searchable. Neil Patel aptly points out that search engines use social signals from social media to rank your website. Likes, shares, and comments affect SEO in huge ways.

Here are a few ways you can start to take full advantage of the benefits of Twitter for SEO:

  1. Have a dedicated strategy to increase your following

  2. Add key words and key search phrases to your Twitter bio. Use these words periodically

  3. Show appreciation for those who forward your Tweets. Use @mentions to reference people when they engage.

  4. Retweet to help double your traffic

  5. Redirect users to your website by inserting backlinks to your content

  6. Engage with your audience

  7. Include images, videos and Gifs in your posts. They help the tweets to stand out 

 At Flashbulb we have been using Twitter to drive results for our clients. Get in touch to know more.


Logicor completes new letting with Lloyds Transport in Relay Park, Tamworth

Logicor has completed a new 10-year lease with Lloyds Transport at Tamworth85, an 85,000 sq ft building on Relay Park, B77 5PB.

Tamworth85 is a high-quality building in a prime logistics location. The strategically located business park is in a prominent position off Junction 10 of the M42, approximately 17 miles north east of Birmingham.

Mike Best, Director, Asset Management at Logicor, says: “We are delighted to welcome Lloyds Transport to the Logicor UK portfolio on a long-term lease”.

Logicor was advised by Savills, M1 Agency and Colliers.

Party Wall Compensation – Limited to Diminution Only?

Alistair Redler BSc FRICS, Delva Patman Redler

The Party Wall Act contains a number of provisions requiring a Building Owner to pay compensation to an Adjoining Owner.  This includes Section 1(7) compensating for “any damage to his property” S.7(2) “for any loss or damage”, and S.11(8) “paid to him in lieu of the carrying out of work to make the damage good”.  Where compensation is for physical damage this could be a simple matter of agreeing compensation based on the cost of repair but recent case law has made clear that is not necessarily the case.  The compensation can be limited by the actual diminution in the value of their property.

There are three key reasons why compensation could be less than the actual cost of repair.

The first is where the proposed action of the Adjoining Owner means that they would not actually incur the loss.  The key case Party Wall Act case is was Breuer -v- Leccacorvi 2011 where the Courts determined that the Adjoining Owner was not likely to suffer any actual loss because she had stated a clear intent to sell her property and would therefore be unlikely to undertake the repairs.  The repairs themselves would not result in a material difference to the price she would obtain for the sale. 

The second reason is where the damage is very minor and insignificant to the property value or where the affected surfaces were already clearly defective prior to work commencing.  Whether compensation should be paid for relatively minor damage does depend on the nature of the Adjoining Owner and the practical impact on them.  For example, where minor defects are caused to a commercially rented property or where an Adjoining Owner can be expected to undertake redecorations in the very near future anyway, then there may be no effective loss.  It could be that there should still be a payment for redecoration but not additional costs for moving out and alternative accommodation.  However, if the Adjoining Owner is a domestic owner in occupation not intending to sell, it would not be appropriate for them to have to live with cracks in a wall or damp staining when such defects did not exist originally, simply on the basis that if they were to sell, then there would be unlikely to be any material difference in the sale price they would obtain.  Surveyors should deal with the actual facts of any particular case and a residential owner with rooms in good condition before works started should be entitled to have their property returned to that condition if damage is caused. 

The third reason is where there is more than one effective remedy open to an adjoining owner and they should choose the lower value option.  Other cases outside the Party Wall Act, particularly those in contract, have accepted the principle that damages can be limited to the actual diminution in value to a neighbouring owner.  For example, whether negligence that resulted in a factory burning down required payment for the factory to be fully rebuilt, and whether a swimming pool built slightly shallower than contracted required payment of the cost of making that pool deeper.  In each case, the decisions have been based on the full facts. 

This issue was recently raised in the case of Lea Valley Developments Limited -v- Derbyshire 2017.  The Building Owners’ works had caused such substantial damage to the Adjoining Owners’ house, which was rented out as flats, that it required demolition and rebuilding.  The issue in dispute between the parties was whether the building owner had to pay the full cost of reconstruction or should have the damages limited to the actual diminution in value of the Adjoining Owners’ land.  The Building Owner assessed the difference between the value of the Adjoining Owners’ property prior to work commencing and with a severely damaged building on it and argued that the compensation should be limited to the difference between the two which was substantially lower than the cost of demolishing and rebuilding.  The Court held that this was a matter for the appointed surveyors to determine and not the Court. 

In such cases, the key assessment to be made by the surveyors is what action is needed to restore the Adjoining Owner to the effective position they were in prior to the damage being caused.  Lea Valley Developments were seeking to argue that Mr Derbyshire would have been adequately compensated if he had simply sold the plot of land and obtained that payment plus the diminution in value between that sum and the original value of the undamaged site.  What that argument misses is that an investment property has both a capital value and a revenue stream.  Where an investment property is damaged such that it cannot be let, then the remedy needs to restore to the Adjoining Owner a rental property of appropriate capital value that provides an appropriate rental income.  Therefore, the alternative assessment of loss needs to include the costs involved in selling the plot of land, acquiring a suitable similar property and tenants, including all costs involved in achieving that, as well as the difference between the purchase price and the sale price of the damaged land.  That could be similar to, or higher than, the cost of demolishing and rebuilding on the same plot.

The issue for party wall surveyors therefore is to properly assess the full circumstances rather than simply find excuses to limit a compensation payment to less than the reinstatement cost.  The starting point should be the reinstatement cost and then consideration given to whether any mitigating circumstances would equitably result in a reduction.

Property investment joins the 21st Century: Trends, technology and international investment

The International Property Investment Network (IPIN) warmly invites you to join them for a fascinating evening of insights and ideas from the interweaving worlds of property investment and financial technology. You’ll hear from the exciting new companies that are shaking up the way that large property players pick assets and are creating the platforms that allow individuals to invest internationally like the pros, and also from the experts who have been living and breathing real estate for decades, and on whose experience and expertise these exciting new developments are building.

We’ll be discussing what markets and sectors are hot now and look good for the future, giving you the chance to voice your own thoughts and put questions to our speakers and panel during the sessions, and to make new connections and swap ideas during our networking and drinks before and after the formal section of the evening’s agenda.

For this event we’re excited to have joined forces with We are Fintech, one of the UK’s largest and most established Fintech Meetups, and are very thankful to Baker Botts LLP for sponsoring the event and providing their fantastic City office as the venue, and to Pionr, the global marketplace for real estate investment, for organising the event.

Here are some of the areas that we’ll be looking at:

·         Where is technology moving, and how is this affecting the way that investments in real estate are made and managed?

·         How can individuals invest in international property safely and transparently?

·         Which real estate sectors and geographies are attracting the smart money?

·         What are the biggest threats and opportunities presented by the current global economic outlook?

·         Can investing in international property be a sensible way to protect your wealth against falling markets?

·         What effect can we expect from Brexit on the real estate market?

·         And many more…

Speakers and panellists include:

Malcolm Frodsham, Director, Real Estate Strategies

Malcolm has 20 years of experience in real estate data, modelling and risk management techniques.  He founded Real Estate Strategies in 2013, an independent management owned business that provides high quality forecasts, research and strategic consulting on the European real estate market. Prior to Real Estate Strategies, Malcolm was Director of Research at IPD and prior to that Head of Research and Strategy at Legal & General Property.

Jonathan Wiggin, CEO & Founder, Pionr

Jonathan is an award-winning entrepreneur, strategic advisor and mentor, with extensive experience in technology, investment, real estate and emerging markets. He has directed gold mines in the Arctic, developed properties in the Balkans, and was part of the team that created and listed the first publicly-traded forestry company in Russia. He’s advised and mentored multiple tech companies, facilitating the sale of one business to Facebook. A graduate of the University of Oxford, he is fluent in Russian, Serbian-Croatian, Italian and French. Pionr, the new global marketplace for property investment is his most exciting business to date, created to disrupt the multi-trillion-dollar real estate investment market.

Olly Freedman, Sales Director, Datscha

Olly has 13 years experience working in Commercial proptech in the UK, Sweden and Finland. He joined Datscha in 2014, and is a Member of the RICS with an MSc in Information Systems and Technology and has lectured at Cambridge University on the subject of proptech. Datscha is one of the world’s pioneering proptech platforms which has become renowned for its ability, through its comprehensive data sources, to reveal the ultimate owners of commercial property.

To attend this free event, click here.


Avison Young maintains position as Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club member

Commercial real estate firm recognised eight consecutive years for overall business performance and sustained growth

Avison Young, the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, announced today that it is a 2019 winner of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation, having retained its Best Managed designation for eight consecutive years.

Sponsored by Deloitte Private, CIBC, Canadian Business, Smith School of Business and TMX Group, the Best Managed program recognises the best-in-class of Canadian-owned and managed companies with revenues greater than $15 million demonstrating strategy, capability and commitment to achieve sustainable growth.

Every year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies compete for this designation in a rigorous and independent process that evaluates the calibre of their management abilities and practices.

Now in its 26th year, Canada’s Best Managed Companies is one of the country’s leading business awards programs, recognising Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative, world-class business practices.

The announcement was made today in a Deloitte-issued press release and in Canadian Business and Maclean’s magazine.

“On behalf of the board of directors of Avison Young, our employees, our clients and our partners, we are humbled to achieve Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club status once again,” comments Avison Young Chair and CEO Mark Rose. “This recognition not only highlights our company's success in our Principal-led growth strategy and management approach, but also the expertise and commitment of our employees, our collaborative culture, and our continued focus on pursuing innovation and investing in meeting the needs of our clients.”

Rose continues: “As a company that was founded in Canada and now operates in 20 countries, we couldn’t be more proud to receive this award, and we thank Deloitte and the other award administrators for recognizing Avison Young among a distinguished group of Platinum members.”

Over the past 10 years, Toronto-headquartered Avison Young has grown from 300 real estate professionals in 11 offices in Canada to approximately 5,000 professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries.

“Companies that earn Platinum Club status exemplify exceptional vision and leadership and a sustained commitment to growth and innovation,” says Dino Medves, Senior Vice-President and Head, CIBC Commercial Banking. “CIBC is proud to recognize these and all of the 2019 Canada’s Best Managed Companies as leaders in their industries.”

In July 2018, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), one of Canada's leading institutional fund managers, made a C$250-million preferred equity investment to accelerate Avison Young's strategic growth plan. In October 2018, Avison Young opened its first office in Asia, in Seoul, South Korea; and in February 2019, Avison Young acquired U.K.-based GVA in a transformational deal that established Avison Young as the only privately held, Principal-led, global, full-service commercial real estate services firm.

“Winning this prestigious award once is a clear sign that a company is performing to the highest possible standards. However, when a company receives the award for eight consecutive years, it becomes apparent that the company has raised the bar and established an entirely new set of standards for its industry,” says Michael Keenan, Avison Young Principal and Managing Director of the firm’s Vancouver, BC office. “While winning this award is a source of great pride for all of us at Avison Young, what it means for our clients is that they can trust us.”

Applicants are evaluated by an independent panel of judges comprising representatives from program sponsors in addition to special guest judges. The 2019 Best Managed companies share commonalities that include a clear strategy and vision, investment in capability and commitment to talent.

“This year’s Best Managed winners are a testament to the success found when businesses invest in talent, innovate intentionally, and think long term,” states Lorrie King, Partner, Deloitte Private and Co-Leader, Canada’s Best Managed Companies program. “These companies should be proud of this achievement, and their responsibility in acting as role models for other Canadian businesses.”

The 2019 winners of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies award will be honoured at the annual Canada’s Best Managed Companies gala in Toronto on April 17, 2019. On the same date, the Best Managed symposium will address leading-edge business issues that are key to the success of today’s business leaders.

Avison Young board member Carol Johnson notes: “In this competitive environment, our employees and clients require sustained and exceptional business performance – achieved through a clear vision and strategy, executed with strong investment partners and a commitment to excellence. Avison Young continues in this spirit, taking bold actions to build a differentiated company that can deliver on the promises we make to our stakeholders. We especially want to thank our clients, Principals and partners who believe in us and work courageously to deliver every day.”

Adds Jason Sibthorpe, Avison Young Principal and President of the company’s U.K. region: “Avison Young will always be a business that is defined by its culture, putting our people and our clients at the heart of everything we do. We strive to be creative, innovative, diverse and inclusive.  Whilst this is a Canadian award, our familial and professional ethos cascades across the entire international business, and we are all so proud to have such recognition and to share in the kudos of such an important accolade.”


Attracting and retaining talent, as well as maintaining employee productivity is becoming a real concern for organisations, according to a survey carried out at the 12th Property Directors Forum, hosted by Avison Young.

Adopting more ‘flex space’ will be key in talent recruitment and retention, as will improving company’s employee feedback process and the inclusion of employees in decisions that influence how the workplace is run.

The survey, carried out by occupier property directors, identified a people-focused divide in workplaces, with 10% of respondents stating that their firm did not measure employee engagement at all and 57% only measuring employee engagement through a simple question in an annual HR survey. Only 32% of respondents were found to have a dedicated employee engagement tool. 29% of those surveyed have an employee advisor group and 14% are regularly asked to contribute ideas as part of a monthly review.

Jason Sibthorpe, Avison Young’s Principal and President, UK comments: “One of the striking takeaways from our latest Property Director’s Forum is the putting aside of technological advances that have been hot topics over the last couple of years. What employee satisfaction appears to boil down to is the simple things like employee engagement, offering clean facilities (nice loos!) and providing simple perks like tea and biscuits.

“In keeping with the employee engagement theme, the results of the survey suggest that employers need to invest in flexible and people-driven spaces to create more productive and appealing workplaces in order to retain talent,” Jason adds.

On attitudes towards the move to flexible working, the survey found:

  • 57% agreed that flexible space is an appealing environment for employees, with 50% agreeing that flexible space makes attracting and retaining talent easier

  • 39% agreed that flexible working improves employees’ mental well being

  • 62% agreed that the use of flexible space in their real estate portfolio will increase in the next 5 years

Jason concludes: “With the majority of our respondents concerned about attracting and retaining talent, we need to go back to basics. As well as keeping abreast of the latest gadgets and timesaving methods, we shouldn’t forget the need for employees to feel appreciated. A nice workplace, flexibility and a bit of facetime goes a long way in boosting employee productivity.”

The next Property Directors Forum will be held at The Royal Society of Chemistry, Piccadilly, London on Thursday 27th June 2019.


Logicor has launched LOGIC233 @Dagenham, the largest available logistics unit within the M25, appointing DTRE, JLL and Savills as joint letting agents.

The warehouse space, totalling 232,965 sq ft is strategically located on the A13 corridor, an established East London industrial warehouse location, adjacent to the former Barking Power Station, recently acquired by the City of London Corporation, which is being considered as a potential for consolidation of three wholesale food markets, bringing further investment to the area.

LOGIC233 @Dagenham is available to let from May 2019. The warehouse space benefits from Grade A specification and unrestricted B8 use, with 12m clear internal height, lighting throughout, existing capacity for 6,840 pallets and a total potential racking capacity of 24,300-32,400 pallets.

In addition to the fully refurbished office space, the site has a 50m yard depth, 20 dock levellers, 3 level access doors and 49 5GV/trailer parking spaces, with 144 car parking spaces.

Mike Best, Director, Asset Management at Logicor, says: “LOGIC233 @Dagenham is a unique building providing 232,965 sq ft of high-quality warehouse pace in a strategic inner-city London location. As such, we have already received a great deal of interest in the newly available unit and we are excited to be formally brining this building to the market.”

Avison Young completes acquisition of U.K.-based GVA; two companies combine under Avison Young name and brand

Canada-based firm expands to 5,000 professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries; combination establishes Avison Young as the global, disruptive challenger brand

Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, the world’s fastest-growing, private and Principal-owned, global commercial real estate services firm, announced today that it has closed the acquisition of U.K.-based GVA, one of the U.K.’s leading and most diverse real estate advisory businesses.

Effective immediately, the two companies will combine under one unified brand: Avison Young.

The acquisition establishes Avison Young as the only privately held, Principal-led, global, full-service commercial real estate services firm. The combination also establishes Avison Young among the top five commercial real estate advisory businesses in the U.K.

To further promote the firm’s culture of partnership, Avison Young also announced today the post-acquisition leadership team: Avison Young Principal and U.K Managing Director Jason Sibthorpe becomes Principal and President, U.K.; GVA CEO Gerry Hughes becomes Principal and Managing Director, U.K. and Managing Director, Global Consultancy; and GVA Chair Andy Mottram becomes Principal and Managing Director, Europe.

As a result of the transaction, Avison Young now has approximately 5,000 real estate professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries. Avison Young adds offices in: the United Kingdom (London, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Maidenhead, Manchester, Newcastle); Austria (Vienna); Bulgaria (Sofia); China (Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai); Croatia (Zagreb); France (Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Paris); Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki); Italy (Milan, Rome); Norway (Oslo); Poland (Warsaw); Republic of Ireland (Dublin); Romania (Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara); Russia (Moscow); Spain (Madrid); and United Arab Emirates (Dubai).

“This acquisition represents another milestone in our global expansion strategy, and the combination will better position Avison Young to serve our clients across the world,” comments Rose. “Furthermore, the acquisition establishes Avison Young as the global, disruptive challenger brand. We are now 5,000 strong, having nearly doubled our size and ability to provide clients with whatever they need, wherever in the world they need it. In GVA, Avison Young has added a like-minded U.K. real estate leader – a company that brings a partnership culture formed during more than 200 years in business.”

Rose continues: “The acquisition increases our scale and presence, expands our global talent pool and reach, and enhances the breadth and balance of our services. Most importantly, the combination increases the resources that we can invest in innovation to keep our clients ahead of the curve.” Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. As a result of the merger, Avison Young increases its revenue to 25 times its 2008 level to approximately C$1 billion.

GVA brings to Avison Young a broad portfolio of national and international clients, including U.K. public institutions, multinational corporations, major space users, developers, owners, lenders and investors.

The acquisition includes GVA Worldwide Ltd. – an international organization of licensed affiliate commercial real estate advisory companies with offices in 20 countries. GVA has 1,500 employees in 15 offices in the U.K., Ireland and Poland alone, and is a founding member and majority shareholder of GVA Worldwide.

The scale and depth of GVA’s offering is evidenced by the firm’s services organized around a client’s lifecycle of real estate: planning and development; project management and building consultancy; transactions; property management services; valuation and business rates.

“Overnight, the ambitious growth strategy that I set out for our business three years ago has been achieved, and we can now serve our clients as a global full-service business, with an enviably strong consultancy and transactional offer,” states Hughes. “The opportunities for our combined platform are vast, and I see one of the biggest growth areas stemming from the increasing trend for clients to seek strategic multi-consultancy real estate advice, which demands market intelligence, expertise and connections. The ability to provide such advice on a global scale is extraordinary and I look forward to helping to deliver that potential.”

He adds: “To say I’m delighted would be an understatement. Our merger with Avison Young is the perfect outcome for our business and our clients, and is the biggest opportunity that we have had since Grimley & Son and JR Eve merged in 1988.”

In the U.K. alone, Avison Young will now have 18 offices and 1,600 employees working with clients on the transaction and consultancy sides of the business.

“Since Avison Young entered the U.K. in 2014, we have had the intent and ambition to build a market-leading real estate advisory business by leveraging our unique Principal-owned business model,” adds Sibthorpe. “We have made significant progress and now, through this transaction, our two complementary businesses have combined to become a leading player in the U.K. market whilst also significantly strengthening the international capability and coverage. The exciting thing is that this is still the start of our journey with our new Principals and colleagues from GVA. Our ambition to build further and add market-leading talent that marries with our clients’ strategies and expectations is absolute.”

In connection with the transaction, Avison Young has optimized its capital structure through a recapitalization. The acquisition and the refinancing have been funded through a combination of cash on hand, committed financing from Credit Suisse, CIBC and BofA Merrill Lynch, and additional common equity, including participation by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Avison Young has ample capital to invest further in its global growth strategy.

Also in conjunction with the transaction, GVA senior directors who will become Avison Young Principals, and certain other GVA employees, will receive Avison Young shares.

Today’s announcement follows Avison Young’s announcement on July 16, 2018 that CDPQ, one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, had made a C$250-million preferred equity investment to accelerate Avison Young’s strategic growth plan. Avison Young made its first investment under its strategic partnership with CDPQ by acquiring leading U.K. firm Wilkinson Williams LLP and opening a new office in London’s West End on August 1, 2018. On October 10, 2018, Avison Young opened its first office in Asia, in Seoul, South Korea, with 63 members joining from Mate Plus Advisors Co. Ltd.

Credit Suisse and KPMG LLP acted as Avison Young’s financial advisors in the acquisition of GVA; and Gowling WLG (UK), DLA Piper LLP (US and UK) and Stikeman Elliott LLP (Canada) served as Avison Young’s legal advisors.

Rose concludes: “This is a very exciting and memorable day in the history of Avison Young. As a result of the acquisition, our combination fortifies the pillars of our culture – honesty and integrity, investment in people, a Principal-owned model, a lack of service-line silos, and best-in- class internal and external resources to provide exemplary service to clients. We look forward to working with our new clients, colleagues and partners around the world.”

Over the past 10 years, Avison Young has grown from 300 real estate professionals in 11 offices in Canada to, now, approximately 5,000 real estate professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries.

Avison Young is the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Avison Young is a collaborative, global firm owned and operated by its Principals. Founded in 1978, with legacies dating back more than 200 years, the company comprises approximately 5,000 real estate professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries. The firm’s experts provide value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management and financing services to clients across the office, retail, industrial, multi-family and hospitality sectors.

Berkeley Group chairman brushes off Brexit threat

As featured in The Negotiator, written by Nigel Lewis

Speaking during a Q&A session at an industry gathering for developers, Tony Pidgley suggested London's recent hyper house inflation worried him more than Brexit.

Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley (pictured, above) has brushed off suggestions that Brexit may cause problems for the London housing market regardless of whether it’s hard or soft.

His comments came during a Q&A session at an industry event in central London at which the famously pugnacious developer also suggested that the end of fast-rising house prices in London was more of a challenge than Brexit.

“Of course we’re having difficult days,” he said during the Developers’ Boardroom gathering. “But I see Brexit as a good time to be in the market – why wouldn’t we continue to buy land?

“We’ve been in business for 45 years so we’re not going to pack up because of Brexit.

“We’re still a great city of the world, the British will come through this and we will find an answer. Britain speaks the right international language, is on the right time-line, has the right culture and the world still wants to invest here.”

Asked by compere and developer Nicole Bremner (pictured, above) whether the current housing market difficulties were part of a wider structural change, Pidgley said the huge house price increases seen in recent decades were always going to be unsustainable.

“You buy land, build a house on it and blink once and you’ve made £100,000, blink twice and it’s gone up another £100,000 – that was never sustainable – it was high inflation in a zero inflation environment,” he said.

“But there’s nothing wrong with the housing market now other than we’re having a bit of a hard time.”

Pidgley was speaking at the monthly Developers Boardroom dinner networking event in Grace Hall for SME developers, property professionals and investors. The next event is on February 13th.

Underground and over-complicated : dealing with basements

Rob French considers how basement culture will shape the future of party wall practice – and likely lead to new case law

The growing trend of basement excavations in affluent areas has presented new challenges to party wall surveyors. As a result of this culture, surveyors are now commonly needing to deal with additional difficulties where basements are excavated  adjacent  to existing basements. While seasoned party wall surveyors are used to dealing with the issues associated with excavating isolated basements, issues related  to excavating adjacent to existing basements can raise unknowns and increase tensions between owners. Such projects can place surveyors  in  a  jurisdictional  and legal minefield, owing to the numerous grey areas around this subject. There is a lack of clarity regarding adjacent basement excavations and a need for the courts to set legal precedents moving forward.

Enclosure costs v trimming overspill/trespass

On the one hand, surveyors may need to address enclosure costs under section 11(11) of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 due to a party wall having been underpinned by the adjoining owner when they previously excavated a basement. This basically means that, if a party desirous of excavating a basement makes use of a section of basement wall/underpins installed at full expense by their neighbour, their neighbour  can claim back half the cost of those works once the enclosure/reliance on their works is realised.

On the other hand, when actually excavating a basement adjacent to an existing basement, it can be found that the underpins, and potentially even the reinforcement within the underpins, have over- spilled, creating a counter claim for trespass and the cost of cutting back the concrete. This will inevitably become a common contentious issue as, while developers of properties adjacent  to existing basements wish to simplify matters by undertaking a set-off negotiation, the party wall and legal position is unfortunately not quite so simple. Only the tribunal of surveyors who agreed the original award for the now-adjoining owner have the jurisdiction to award costs for trespassing underpinning and these surveyors may not be contactable. If the award cannot be found, or it is unknown if it existed, then it is difficult  to  ascertain  to  what extent such foundations were permitted on the land of the now-building owner and therefore proving a trespass may be problematic.

Further complications may be experienced if the original owner who undertook the basement  works which caused the trespass has since moved, as they will need to be tracked down in order to pursue any claim against them. A trespass claim can only be brought against the party that caused the trespass, not a subsequent owner of the building. It will then of course be difficult to justify to such owners why they are still held responsible for the cost of the trespass even though they have sold the asset. If they are not easily convinced of their responsibility to settle such a claim then the building owner will need to consider whether or not they need to progress a common law claim. Consideration also needs to be given as to whether or not  a claim against the original contractor of the basement scheme would be successful. The existing tribunal of surveyors for the new basement project can of course award for the trespass to be trimmed, but it is then difficult to explain to the existing building owner why the associated costs cannot be dealt with under their jurisdiction.

 Surveyors are sometimes confused as to the relevance of the limitation period for such a trespass claim. However, currently legal authorities indicate that the limitation period does not commence until a trespass is discovered and so is rarely relevant in these circumstances. Given these complications, and to avoid legal remedies and costs, it is common practice for the surveyors to be asked to facilitate direct negotiations between the owners to agree a set-off between the two opposing claims and record this in a separate agreement.  In many cases, however, the owners have fallen out, so facilitating such an agreement can be very difficult, if not impossible. This  is  a  future  issue  which surveyors need to get to grips with as an increasing number of basements are excavated adjacent to existing basements. As some contractors of yesteryear may have been a little complacent in their adoption of protection measures to prevent trespass, these are inevitably going to be matters which over spill into the courts  soon.

Security for expenses

Security for expenses relates to the right of the adjoining owner, under section 12(1)  of the 1996  Act, to request that the building owner places a sum of money in an escrow account (or in any other means the parties agree) for the adjoining owner to make use of to safeguard the works in the event of abandonment. In some  situations  additional sums are also held to cover the cost of repairs to the adjoining owners’ property in the event that damage is caused by the neighbouring works. There is a considerable difference in opinion as to what represents a reasonable basis for calculating such sums. Some believe that only a minimal sum is needed to temporarily make safe abandoned works, whereas others believe that sums should cover the full reconstruction cost of an adjoining property to protect against the highly unlikely event of total collapse.

With so many adjacent basement projects going ahead, the risk of damage to adjoining owners’ assets  is  a growing concern and horror stories are well reported; however, serious damage is rare. As you need to be a relatively wealthy individual or company to consider a basement scheme, it stands to reason  that  some adjoining owners may also have the financial means to appeal if they do not believe that the security for expenses sum awarded protects the full extent of their risk. Some adjoining owners will appeal out of spite, but most will do so out of a genuine misunderstanding of the risks posed to their property. Security for expenses is currently a hot  topic; especially with the perceived high risks related to basement projects. Security for expenses matters are no stranger to the courts and  it  seems  inevitable that the two will be reacquainted soon.

Reinstatement v diminution in value

The litigation in Lee Valley Developments Ltd v Thomas William Derbyshire [2017] EWHC 1353 (TCC) raised questions regarding compensation calculations where an adjoining owner’s property is an investment property which has been damaged by a building owner’s works.

Specifically, these cases raise the question: should the section 7(2) claim be calculated on the basis of the legal principles of “reinstatement” or “diminution in value”? Common sense dictates that residential properties owned as a residence must be reinstated, but it is a valid consideration that, where an adjacent owner’s property is an investment, the standard legal principles of diminution in value may apply. Ultimately, this matter was settled out of court with the help of a third surveyor award, but it has highlighted a contentious area of party wall law which will inevitably be picked up by another building owner, or their insurer, looking to  minimise  an adjoining owner’s section 7(2) claim for compensation.

Do piles constitute “a wall”?

Where basements are proposed on the line of junction, access rights are a common point of contention. It is only a matter of time before it becomes common practice among developers, following the service of a line of junction notice, to argue that piles are “a wall” in the  eyes of the 1996 Act, thus  attracting  access  rights.

A diaphragm wall is highly likely to be defined as “a wall” under the 1996 Act, but many believe that it is difficult  to argue  that  a secant piled structure is “a wall”, as such a structure would not form a continuous solid face on the line of junction. This will therefore mean that a contiguous piled wall would be even more difficult to define as “a wall”. Even if the principles are agreed, there are then other considerations with regard to pile vertically and future trespassing.  Court cases are no doubt on the horizon to decide which subterranean structures constitute a wall under the 1996 Act.

Inconvenience v unnecessary inconvenience

Generally it is accepted that causing inconvenience to an adjoining owner, when undertaking a basement scheme, can be awarded by surveyors, as long as the inconvenience is necessary and reasonable mitigation methods have been suitably considered. Unnecessary inconvenience is not permitted and cannot be authorised by the surveyors. It is however naïve to think that the differences between “inconvenience” and “unnecessary inconvenience” are well defined or easily identifiable. The word “unnecessary” is ambiguous and ambiguity, as we know, leads to litigation.

In practice, building owners’ works cannot be vetoed just because the adjoining owner considers such works would cause unnecessary inconvenience. The onus is on the building owner to prove that the inconvenience caused is necessary to achieve their scheme and the adjoining owner will then look to prove that there are alternative means of working which would cause less inconvenience. As always, ultimately this matter will boil down to cost and the question likely to hit the courts is: to what expense is it reasonable to put the building owner to mitigate any/all inconvenience to the adjoining owner? Those reasoned individuals  among us will rightly consider this to be a common sense balancing act based on the specific circumstances, but common sense can sometimes be lacking when tensions are high, leading to court disputes.

How much damage is it reasonable to risk?

A further issue relates to the interpretation of the right (or not) of the building owner to cause damage to the adjoining owner’s property in pursuance of their works. Many adjoining owners understandably cannot come to terms with the fact that the building owner has such a right. Currently, general consensus among surveyors is that causing category-one damage, as defined by CIRIA Report C580 on embedded retaining walls, is acceptable but category-two is not. If a building owner has legitimately done everything possible to limit the extent of damage likely to the adjoining owner’s property, yet category- two damage is still predicted, can the damage then by its very nature be labelled “necessary” as opposed to “unnecessary”? The threshold for unnecessary inconvenience is another matter which the courts are inevitably going to have to decide soon.

It  will be interesting to see how these matters play out over the coming years; and play out they certainly shall. If we have learnt anything from the basement projects of the past decade it is that, while litigation is expensive, there are plenty willing to pick up the bill.

Rob French BSC (Hons) MSc (Proj Man) FRICS is an equity partner at Delva Patman Redler LLP.