PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’ Weekly Roundup: Ponk Memoli of HTCH wins £50K Innovate UK Grant | Government announces new Short-term lets rules | How the Building Safety Regulator will impact your future projects

A roundup of the week’s top PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech and Property News’ in association with Estate Agent Networking and News Now.

Ponk Memoli of HTCH wins £50K Innovate UK Grant to fill the gap between architecture and construction

Ponk Memoli, an architect and co-founder of HTCH (“hatch”), has secured a critical £50,000 grant from Innovate UK – the UK’s leading innovation agency. This prestigious award fuels her mission to dismantle barriers in the architecture and construction (AEC) industry, to make it more accessible for everyone.

HTCH tackles a long-standing problem in the world of architecture: the disconnect between professionals and homeowners. By democratising building information (3D models, technical drawings) and clarifying building processes, HTCH empowers everyone to participate in shaping their living spaces. This grant signifies a major milestone for Ponk and HTCH, providing vital resources to scale their impactful solution & bridge the gap within the industry.

“I’m thrilled to have Innovate UK on board,” says Rubporn (“Ponk”) Memoli. “This grant comes at the perfect moment for HTCH, allowing us to make architecture more open and inclusive. It represents a giant leap towards achieving our vision of empowering individuals to understand and engage with their built environment.”

Government announces new Short-term lets rules to protect communities and keep homes available.

Overview – ‘Short-term lets rules to protect communities and keep homes available. Local residents will be protected from being pushed out of their communities by excessive short-term lets thanks to changes in planning rules. Planning permission will be required for future short-term lets. Mandatory national register will provide valuable information and help ensure accommodation is safe. Proposals will give communities greater control over future growth. Homeowners can continue to let out their own main or sole home for up to ninety nights a year.’

Analysis – ‘Local residents will be protected from being pushed out of their communities by excessive short-term lets thanks to changes in planning rules announced today. Under the reforms councils will be given greater power to control short-term lets by making them subject to the planning process. This will support local people in areas where high numbers of short-term lets are preventing them from finding housing they can afford to buy or to rent.

These changes are part of a long-term plan to prevent a “hollowing out” of communities, address anti-social behaviour and ensure local people can continue to live in the place they call home. Meanwhile, a new mandatory national register will give local authorities the information they need about short-term lets in their area. This will help councils understand the extent of short-term lets in their area, the effects on their communities, and underpin compliance with key health and safety regulations.

Watts Group explains how the Building Safety Regulator will impact your future projects?

Article by Will Varnals and Ed Resek Associate Director – Watts Property Group

The Building Safety Act has been described by government as the ‘Biggest Changes to Building Safety for a Generation’. Arguably, the most impactful change at project level is the implementation of the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) as the building control authority for all Higher Risk Buildings.

We have identified four key factors that project stakeholders need to understand about how the BSR will operate, and how it might impact on the delivery of projects under their remit. Please note: the following information will be most relevant to projects in England.

Four key project considerations:

What is a Higher Risk Building (HRB)? – Section 65 of the Building Safety Act 2022 states, with respect to buildings in design and construction: (1) In this Part “higher-risk building” means a building in England that – (a) is at least 18 metres in height or has at least 7 storeys, and (b) contains at least two residential units.

Examples include residential buildings, mixed-use residential, care homes, hospitals, and student accommodation. Excluded are hotels, military barracks, prisons, and other secure residential institutions. Note: the criteria are slightly different for existing buildings. When establishing height, there are some parameters to consider:

Measurement starts from ground level. If the building is on a slope, then measure from the lowest adjacent ground level. Measure to the proposed floor level of the top residential storey. Basements and below ground storeys are not counted. To qualify as a basement, all of the below ground storey’s finished ceiling must be below ground. Non-residential parts situated above residential units i.e. plant levels are not counted, as per the diagram. The building only needs to meet one of the criteria, either over 18m or 7-storeys, to be considered an HRB.

Andrew Stanton’s PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’ in association with Estate Agent Networking & News Now publications. #proptech #property #realestate #digitaltransformation #startups

Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.

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