Leading law firm, Burness Paull, says association with event will showcase their commitment to Scotland’s property sector. By Agnes Stevenson

ENTRIES continue to flood in for The Herald Property Awards for Scotland. Builders,developers, registered social landlords and property companies of all kinds have until Thursday, June 4 to submit their bids to win the Scottish property industry’s most prestigious accolades.  The winners will be announced on Thursday, September 24 at a gala dinner in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel hosted by Carol Smillie – an event that has become a key networking forum for Scottish property professionals.

This year the Awards are taking place in association with Burness Paull, one of Scotland’s leading law firms with offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The firm has one of Scotland’s largest and most capable property teams that works alongside its specialist lawyers in planning, construction, property litigation and the many other key areas that are part of a thriving development industry and it is ideally placed to see how this important sector of Scotland’s economy is flourishing. It has witnessed a marked increase in activity in the past 18-24 months, thanks in part to strategic ways of structuring the deals that enable the creation of infrastructure to support new homes and commercial developments being built.  Scott Peterkin, partner, Burness Paull says: “Part of our role is to provide innovative solutions to complex development related issues. For example, we have been and are at the forefront of bespoke and creative contractual structures and solutions necessary to bridge the funding gap created by the recession.”

There has been much change in recent months in the law relating to property, including the introduction of the Scottish Government’s Land and Buildings Transaction Tax as a replacement for Stamp Duty Land Tax and the Land Registration, etc (Scotland) Act 2012 which came into force in December 2014. More change is in the pipeline, with recent consultations by the Scottish Government on land reform and private rented sector tenancies.

With initiatives such as Help to Buy coming to an end in Scotland at the end of March 2016, there remains a question mark over whether the banks have recovered sufficiently to allow Government support for the house building industry to be withdrawn in Scotland, while questions remain for developers on how best to capitalise on the new City Deal model.  This will provide central government funding to local authorities to deliver major infrastructure projects where it can be demonstrated that the projected tax revenues associated with the increased private sector economic activity generated by that new infrastructure will more than repay that upfront investment.

The public investment earmarked for Glasgow & Clyde Valley City Deal is over £1 billion.  It is against this backdrop that The Herald Property Awards for Scotland in association with Burness Paull have taken on an increasing significance.  Scott Peterkin says: “The Herald Property Awards honour the achievements of Scotland’s most innovative and successful house builders, developers and registered social landlords. The property and infrastructure sector is of vital importance to the Scottish economy, and at Burness Paull we are delighted to see this recognised and to help support the event.  “The Awards recognise the ambition and vision of all finalists, and we are proud to help showcase their efforts. Being associated with an event so significant in the industry calendar allows us to demonstrate how seriously we take our commitment to the sector.”  There are 15 categories in this year’s Awards including ‘Best Luxury Home’, ‘Best Family Home’ and ‘Best Regeneration Project.” There are categories too that recognise the contribution of dedicated personnel, including ‘Property Team of the Year’ and ‘Residential Sales Team of the Year.’ Commercial projects have their own category while ‘Development of the Year’ is the accolade that will go to the best large-scale project where site layout, design, range of house types and local amenities will all be taken into consideration by the judges as they arrive at their decision.

It is that judging process which distinguishes The Herald Property Awards for Scotland from its competitors.  The panel of experienced industry figures, under the chairmanship of Andrew McFarlane, consultant with DM Hall Chartered Surveyors, will spend the summer visiting every submitted property before drawing up the shortlist from which they will make their final decisions.