Editor: In your recent build-to-rent (BTR) report, the requirement for new-build residential buildings over 18m to have a second staircase was presented as a challenge for developers and another hurdle to overcome, but perhaps not a deal-breaker.

In our experience, however, it’s potentially more serious than that. It could well be a deal-breaker and have a knock-on effect on the delivery of the high number of homes that the country so desperately needs.

We believe that a mindset shift is needed: one that proactively considers the impact of this new requirement and prepares for every eventuality – in short, more analysis, checks and balances.

Over the past year, we have already seen an appetite for due diligence earlier in the development process across the residential sector. For developers that haven’t adopted this yet, new legislation such as this absolutely makes the case for it, or we will see projects become unviable and developments halted before they even start.

In our experience working with BTR developers, upfront due diligence is enabling them to pre-empt legislation following the announcement by housing secretary Michael Gove in summer, in turn de-risking development and enabling it to accommodate design changes while ensuring the development retains its value.

A challenging market and new legislation such as this combine to inspire and accelerate new and better approaches, which should be welcome.

It may well be the catalyst for a better way of doing things well into the future, so real estate companies can have the confidence to embrace opportunities and deliver, the momentum of development can be sustained and grow and we can deliver much-needed housing across the country.

Paul Belfield, executive director, Rund