News: Of Integrity, Transparency and Prestige

Apr 5, 2018

Across the globe, real estate awards play a significant role to a developer or a project for it acknowledges the high calibre work within the real estate industry, encompassing construction, development, architecture and interior design, as well as green and sustainable building practices.

And because of the various types of accolades out there, most often, just like the showbiz awards, the selection process tends to be pre-purchased or pre-selected based on favouritism or influence within the industry – misconstruing the meaning of prestigious.

There are very few genuine awards in the market that places emphasis on ensuring the process is transparent and measurable. This includes the insights and opinions of a team of judges, guaranteeing the awards are fair, accurate and unbiased.

Having said that, one example of the few awards that focus on integrity, transparency and prestige is the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (APA).

It is the region’s biggest and most respected real estate awards programme and rewards and celebrates only the biggest and best achievers in the world’s most dynamic markets in Asia.
Fair judging from independent experts
What distinguishes this award programme from others in the region is its selection process. All entrants are nominated by a third party including peers, professionals and consumers, and, if eligible, are rigorously and fairly judged by an independent panel of industry experts.

Chairman of the Malaysia judging panel for 3 consecutive years, Prem Kumar who is the executive director of Jones Lang Wootton shared that the judges comprise of professionals from various property related disciplines who have vast exposure to the property industry.

He added that the opportunity of being able to benchmark my thoughts as well as exposure to the thoughts and exposure of the other judges is one of the key reasons for choosing to be a judge.

Chief executive officer of REI group of Companies, Dr Daniele Gambero who is also a judge with APA said when I received the invitation to become a judge for APA Malaysia three years ago, I accepted this offer for the majority of property awards were deemed budgeted or sponsorship driven.

“I wanted to contribute to making a difference by ensuring that APA would remain a non-budget and sponsorship driven award,” he said.

Gambero explained how all judges are independent professionals who dedicate several days out of their busy schedule without being paid or rewarded in any way by both developers and organiser and this should be the way awards should be ruled.

First-time judge, senior associate of Tan Chap & Associates, Tan Hui Yin said apart from being the region’s biggest and respected real estate award programme, APA has given careful consideration about the judging process and judging criteria’s.

“Judges are required to attend a physical site visit, meet the representatives to understand the development better and thereafter do the scoring.

And the judging process continues where they must meet to discuss and debate to choose the winners.

This process makes it more transparent and fair compared to merely giving scores during the judging process. And the entire judging process is also under BOD’s supervision as its one of the world’s largest auditing and accountancy networks,” she shared.
What makes this award more eloquent?
Gambero said I’ve been positively impressed at how the organiser has rejected some submissions which were considered outside the guidelines given by the judging committee which could lead to certain revenue losses for the organiser.

This award has always been unbiased, and all entrants have been treated fairly based on merit, said Kumar.

“The organisers do not put themselves in the forefront and neither do the organisers participate in the judging process. The judges and the auditors have always been the core people of the awards,” he added.

Tan explained that the Malaysian development market has reached a certain maturity. Most developers create good projects with all the required virtues and APA allows them to emphasise on other aspects such as environmental, design and practicality.

Additionally, she noted that it will raise awareness amongst developers that a good development is not merely on the workmanship and pricing, but more importantly, other aspects.
Growing number of participation
The interest from developers continue to increase and more and more developers are conscious and aware of APA, concurred both Kumar and Gambero.

Kumar then elaborated that there have not been any adverse comments with regards to APA and very rarely any negative recognition (from the developer’s perspective) of APA.

Agreeing to this, Gambero also said the number of participants has grown enormously compared with last two years editions which means the market is also perceiving APA as a very meaningful and credible award.
Does APA benefit the developer or project?
Tan and Gambero opined that the fact that APA is a recognised award in the market, being its recipient will ensure the developer a higher visibility and more importantly, an acknowledgement to their consumers.

Kumar sheds light on how the APA awards is not entirely a local award. The developments can compete at the Asia level and as such elevates the standing of Malaysian developers to a regional level.

He added that competing with developments within other countries in Asia is a significant challenge and one of the entrants from Malaysia has won at the Asia level. This is indeed a significant recognition of the standard and quality produced by Malaysian developers.

According to APA, shortlisted companies can, therefore, be extremely proud of the huge achievement by setting the benchmark for their nation’s real estate sector and, if successful, will go on to represent their country at the Asia Property Awards grand finale, which will take place in November in Thailand.
What is installed for 2018?
This year, Kumar shares that whilst the traditional awards are still in place, there are several special recognition awards which have been introduced, making it more interesting.

“This creates a platform for developers to take cognizance of the holistic aspects of real estate. An example is the recognition of infrastructure related development projects which has been one of the key economic drivers during the last decade,” he elaborated.

Tan, on the other hand, said that developers are putting environmental issues in mind of late as they are trying out different methods to balance between the development and environment.

“For example, one of the contesting projects has put clear consideration about the go green concept. They have set up rainwater harvesting to encourage urban farming and recycle bins at the entrance of the development,” she added.

According to Gambero, 2018 will have a bit of everything from innovative design to stylish interior decoration for sales galleries. There will also be a rise in the number of participants for affordable projects to exclusive and luxurious projects.

Want to know which building or development in Malaysia will be nominated this year? Stay tuned for our upcoming Asia Property Awards!

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Shaiful Safar
Real Estate Negotiator
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True Vest Property Consultants Sdn. Bhd.
(+60) 11-32302211