Design and Construction

BTR housing can be flats or houses. Sometimes it is acquired, but as the sector develops it is increasingly purpose-built or adapted for renting. The design requirements will often differ from a building for sale, to help with maintenance and build-in resilience from wear and tear. As BTR providers may also want to adapt their service offer over time, adaptation of communal spaces may also be designed in.


Who constructs BTR buildings and how, may differ significantly from the build for sale market, with a wider variety of suppliers and some providers relying on modular and other modern methods of building. This may be full modular or partial, where specific parts of buildings, such as kitchens or bathrooms are dropped in as pods.

The BTR sector lends itself well to factory-built techniques, with more predictable volumes, less individual specification of units, and the need for speed and quality control.

Buildoffsite provides a range of information materials and events on the offsite construction sector.

There is also PRISM – an open source app which accelerates the design process for precision manufactured housing (PMH) for London. It is free and easy to use and combines the Mayor of London’s spatial planning rules with precision manufacturer expertise to help quickly determine viable PMH options for development.


There are no design constraints specific to BTR, and an increasing number of architects who specialise in the sector. However, any housing developer in London but must be conscious of space standards. Flexibility and innovation in space in BTR is encouraged in guidance.

Further information on design can be found in the paid-for ULI guide.

An important aspect of BTR developments are the amenities for customers. They can be part of the competitive between providers. Ensuring that they meet customer needs and aspirations on a cost/benefit basis is therefore important. Some financial modelling on the cost/benefits of amenities is covered in this publication: The Rental Space Race.

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