Overview of surveying services

Property, whether for occupation or investment is always a major financial commitment and its condition, functionality and compliance with legislation or contractual obligations must be considered from the outset so that the owner, lessee or occupant fully appreciate their responsibilities.

From the initial consideration of a property’s suitability, through its acquisition, use or management, to final disposal, our building surveying advice on a wide range of issues can be of great assistance with your property decision processes.

Of course, the more complex the liabilities and issues, the more detailed the advice may need to be and we can tailor our services to suit your requirements.  From full descriptive texts, photographic schedules or codified spread sheets we can adapt our reports to fulfil your needs and where appropriate, your asset registers.

We have experience of all types of properties from traditionally built houses, to modern office buildings, warehouses and residential blocks.

ANALYSIS & APPROVAL OF TENANT’S ALTERATIONS

Most leases have restrictions on the alterations and refurbishment works that a tenant can undertake to the property they occupy. Our involvement will give technical advice on their proposals in relation to the works that may be permitted and how they will impact on the main structure, fabric and services of the building and whether they will adversely affect other residents.

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Building Surveys

Whether purchasing the freehold or a long leasehold of building for occupation or as an investment, the owner needs to be aware of the condition of the property in order to determine their future liability for repairs and maintenance.

If necessary we can co-ordinate the activities of other specialists to ensure that the complete advice provides all the required information to support the technical due diligence checks as part of the property acquisition process.

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Building Works To Existing Buildings

Works of repair, refurbishment, alteration, fitting out or extension, all require expert advice to determine their scope, how they should be undertaken and to administer the activities of the contractor or contractors undertaking them to ensure they are being carried in the manner and to the quality/programme the client requires.

From initial brief, through design or specification, obtaining tenders, inspecting the works on site to agreement of a final cost, we aim to ensure all aspects of a client’s quality, programme and cost requirements are met.

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Defect Investigation

A specific problem can have a number of causes, the role of a surveyor is to attempt to ascertain the correct cause or causes and recommend a course of remedial action or if necessary further investigation as appropriate.

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Dilapidations

Dilapidations are the wants of repair and other breaches of obligations contained under a lease. A building surveyor will advise on these breaches in relation to the condition of the building.

We can advise either a Landlord or Tenant before a lease can be agreed, during its term and after its expiry, including preparation of and responding to a schedule.

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Feasability Studies

In many instances the original use of the building is no longer viable or its design and layout impractical for the current occupier, the area it is located or the wants of the market. A feasibility study can explore the options with the surveyor giving advice on the works involved, their likely cost and the need to comply with planning legislation, the building regulations and other legislation relating to the construction, alteration and use of the building.

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Party WAll MatterS

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 imposes various obligations on those wishing to undertake works to or near a party wall or structure and gives rights to those that may be affected by them. The Act requires certain procedures to be adopted and if they are not, legal action can substantially delay the progress of the works. We can act for a Building Owner (the party proposing the works) or an Adjoining Owner (a neighbour that might be affected by them) but our appointment is only to administer the provisions of the Act.

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Planned Maintenance Programmes

Planning for forthcoming maintenance or component replacement is a fundamental part of preparing the budgets for future expenditure for building owners, occupiers and property managers. Whether this planning is for the annual budget or the calculation of the contributions for a reserve fund, a key aspect is a planned maintenance programme identifies the cyclical maintenance and the need to replace elements of the building's structure, fabric, finishes, fittings and services. The programme sets out the works required, when they should be undertaken and provides an estimate of their cost and will help ensure the building functions as it should with minimal disruption to the occupants and avoidance of unexpected financial demands of either the owners or their tenants.

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Reinstatement Cost Assessments

Buildings Insurance provides the funds to repair or rebuild property that is damaged or destroyed by fire, flood, lighting strike, ground movement, vehicle damage or similar insurable perils. In order to calculate the premiums to be charged, the insurance company needs to know the "Declared Value" of the property. This Declared Value is not the selling price but the cost of its construction plus allowances for the associated fees for the administration of the works contract, site clearance, changes in building regulations and where appropriate VAT. Depending on the policy terms the insurers may add their own allowance for inflation or require it be calculated and added to give the "Sum Insured". A Reinstatement Cost Assessment provides the necessary values.

If the sum insured is to low, the insured may face a shortfall in funds for the repairs/rebuilding and if it is too high, the insured may be paying unnecessarily high premiums.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Association of British Insurers recommend that the Sum Insured is regularly reviewed to ensure that it fully covers the costs of returning a build to its pre-damaged state.

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Schedules Of Condition

A record of the defects present at and the condition of a property may be required to:

  • Avoid disputes over possible damage being caused by works being undertaken close by.
  • Limit the repairing obligations of a party to a lease to and prevent unnecessary expenditure by them.

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