Attending the Estates Gazette Property Asset Management Summit: Guest Blog by UCEM Tutor, Natasha Collins

Posted on: 26 October, 2017

Our Tutors frequently attend external events to ensure they keep up-to-date with the very latest developments in their subject areas and can reflect that in their teaching.

UCEM Tutor, Natasha Collins, was the most recent to brush up on her knowledge by attending an event in London and here, she tells us what she gained from the experience:

Natasha Collins

Stop terrorism, increase wellbeing, get connected to increase profits… here’s how

The face of the commercial property industry is changing, which will inevitably filter to the residential sector pretty quickly. It’s time to sit up and get involved, because the property industry is about to become a more beautiful place centred around tenants’ wellbeing. What you will be pleased to hear is that by getting involved, you should see greater returns both in rental income and additional capital value… are you ready to find out more?

On Wednesday 11 October I was invited to the Property Asset Management Summit on behalf of Estates Gazette. It’s an event for all of the leaders within the industry to gather and discuss the future and emerging trends within the industry. It’s such a positive event, and one that brings the property community together. Let me give you a round up on what happened:

Terrorism and Asset Management

It’s every property manager’s worst nightmare: the threat of terrorism and how to handle it. If you don’t implement a reasonable policy, you could be in breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 so you have to make sure that you are doing your utmost to risk-manage.

With a bollard costing around £10,000, it can be expensive to alter your buildings to accommodate a threat; however, the uplifting discussion from industry experts suggests that property managers don’t have to spend that much. If your budget doesn’t extend that far then risk management strategy can be as simple as staff training in how to report any suspicious behaviour and what to do in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, you can also form a neighbourhood watch, share resources with local landowners and have an alert system, so any potential terrorist can be stopped at a wider range.

Wellbeing in the Built Environment

A favourite topic of mine – how to enhance spaces to improve its users’ wellbeing. Tests are being conducted at the moment as to whether it is important to make office space more sensory, so that it transports occupants back to their happy place… This may be slightly far-fetched and a little unnecessary for an office environment; however, bringing services into an office, such as gyms, doctors’ surgeries, break out spaces and places to get healthy food and drinks lead to better staff welfare and therefore, greater output in less time. So, staff can go home at a good hour, improve their work/life balance and come back feeling refreshed.

This prompted discussion around whether buildings’ capital value improved because of wellbeing initiatives being implemented on construction. The answer: probably yes, because they attract better tenants who would be prepared to take longer leases to take advantage of the facilities.

Property technology

Property technology is huge and isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Now, you can find your tenants through the click of a button and get them signed up on a lease equally as quickly. Services such as Appear Here (retail units) and JustPark (parking spaces) offer an online portal whereby landlords list their spaces and tenants snap them up.

Leases are flexible, ranging from a few days to longer term. These initiatives are like the Airbnb of the residential world and are growing rapidly in the commercial sector.

WiredScore – A new connectivity standard

The day finished with a presentation from WiredScore – a ‘commercial real estate rating system that empowers landlords to understand, improve, and promote their buildings’ digital infrastructure’.

In an age where being digitally connected is the backbone of business, this score matters. WiredScore gives a building a rating from ‘certified’ to ‘platinum’ and, where necessary, advises landlords on how to increase their digital infrastructure to attract better tenants.

What was apparent from this Summit is that the mentality of the industry is shifting. It’s now more important than ever to think about what you can do to improve the standard of occupation for your tenants, from making it simple to sign a lease, protecting them from new world threats and making sure that they maintain a good wellbeing, whilst being able to get online easily. The good news about this, is that if you successfully implement this, the return on investment could be huge!


Natasha is the Module Leader for our ‘Commercial Property Management’ and ‘Property Management’ modules which cover both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Natasha runs her own surveying firm, NC Real Estate, which specializes in asset management and property investment strategies. Click here to learn more about the BSc Real Estate Management programme and here for more about the MSc Real Estate programme.