Building Surveying

'Nuts and Bolts’ building surveying is a core area of our business. This spans acquisition surveys on purchase/lease as well as dilapidations claims for landlords and tenants, planned maintenance and fit out works. Our expertise in this area covers all the major property sectors.

Acquisition and Structural Surveys

As Chartered Building Surveyors, we are able to offer a full and tailored acquisition survey service. This includes HomeBuyer Surveys through to the more traditionally known ‘Structural Survey’.

Where we truly make the difference is that we appreciate no two surveys are the same. We listen to every client’s needs and ensure that each and every survey is tailored to their needs and the property’s.

If we feel an element of a survey is unnecessary, we will be honest and advise accordingly.

We are continually representing a number of domestic homeowners in acquiring their next home as well as retained instructions from single residential and commercial properties to entire stocks and portfolios.

Single purchasers or investors alike will usually rely on a wide range of professional disciplines representing them (solicitors, surveyors, financiers etc.), ensuring the vendor (often undertaking a day job remote from the built environment) and his or her own professional team, are in close and regular contact so not to jeopardise their position through the acquisition process.

We continually act as acquisition managers for a number of our investors and private clients. Once identified, we
co-ordinate and establish a strategy for all matters relating to the acquisition of their properties.

Furthermore, we appreciate that whether you are an investor or home buyer you will expect a clear understanding of likely repair or reinstatement costs. Our extensive in-house experience of both the survey process and understanding of cost forecasting and analysis enables us to offer cost forecasting as an additional service to the survey process.

Stock Condition Surveys

As properties age and if not maintained, their components deteriorate and gradually expire.

Clients new and old have come to expect a high level of service and quality from our Stock Condition Surveys. We achieve an extraordinary level of retained and repeat business which provides assurance of the level of quality we provide, together with the openness, accuracy and honesty of the information presented.

We have a standardised inspection template tailored with the client at the start of each instruction and a logical survey process which, coupled with a methodical approach, enables us to accurately and effectively record the building's condition at the time of inspection. We are able to then take this information and present the client with a detailed Stock Condition Survey and a costed forward maintenance plan. This tailored plan suits each client’s requirements whether it be to assist a tenant in planning fulfilment of their repairing obligations under a lease, or a freehold owner seeking to safeguard the condition of their portfolio.

The client’s intention for the plan is carefully considered and the forecast term determined and adapted to each and every requirement.

The costs included will cover minor fabric elements such a cyclical communal decorations, through to major component replacement such as roof coverings and window replacements enabling clients to project cash flow expenditure on their property.

Following delivery of the plan, we actively encourage a follow up meeting with clients or their stakeholders to ensure the plan is fully understood and properly co-ordinated.

When a plan does not suit clients’ budgetary requirements, we endeavour to work closely with them to plan structure and ensure best value, avoiding unnecessary work and expense. The plan is continually reviewed and tailored to annual expenditure or financial reviews.

Dilapidations

Dilapidations refers to breaches of lease covenants relating to the condition of a property (usually commercial or mixed use) and the process of remedying those breaches.

Tenants will usually enter commercial leases which obligate them to keep the premises in a particular state of repair; if they do not, the law of dilapidation usually applies in one form or another.

Landlords usually have the ability to serve a Schedule of Dilapidations on a tenant either during a lease term (an interim schedule with more than 18 months unexpired) or more commonly, within the last 18 months, or at the end of the lease (a terminal schedule).

The schedule should itemise the breaches of covenant. Remedies for the landlord will be for the tenant to undertake the specified works or for them to seek to recover from the tenant the cost of making good the disrepair.

We are presently representing both landlords and tenants in claims ranging from £10,000 to £500,000 and usually have in the region of 20-30 dilapidation cases either under negotiation or in preparation.

We pride ourselves on our considerable success representing both landlords and tenants alike and believe this derives from our openness and honesty whilst remaining firm and diligent.

Party Walls

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 was established in an attempt to resolve disputes between building and adjoining owners by providing a form of mediation in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions. Adjoining owners can agree (consent) or disagree (dissent) to the works once notice has been served. When they disagree, the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes.

The Act covers:

  • New building on or at the boundary of two properties
  • Work to an existing party wall or party structure
  • Excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings.

This may include:

  • Building a new wall on or at the boundary of two properties
  • Cutting into a party wall
  • Making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
  • Removing chimney breasts from a party wall
  • Knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
  • Digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property.

We encourage clients to get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity and discuss their works with us. We offer a completely free, no obligation initial consultation service so please feel free to contact us and have a chat.

If you have any works which you feel may be notifiable under the Act please contact us and one of our friendly surveyors will be more than happy to discuss your requirements.

The sooner we can get involved, the better planned and smoothly a project is likely to run in connection with the Act and the less likely delays are to occur.

Defect Diagnosis, Repair and Specification

We are continually called upon by new and existing clients alike to provide a complete diagnosis service pertaining to a specific building defect issue, whether it be as simple as a garden wall through to complete major component or structural failure.

We consider our extensive building pathology and construction knowledge to be market leading and one which is supported by an immensely straightforward and logical approach.

Our success in defect diagnosis is usually a result of taking time to assess, not only obvious factors, but also the wider building and its construction; look outside the building, look inside the building, look outside the building again! It is all about formulating an unbiased opinion which considers every aspect.

Where possible we ensure we obtain an accurate account of all works which have been undertaken to the property (repair and development) over the years. We consider any wider effects, tree removal or addition, drainage surveys and the nature of occupants use etc. All of these assist in building up a picture of likely causes of any defect or defects. Only then can we truly provide an honest opinion and diagnosis and thereafter begin to work towards specification and repair works.

Asset Management and Planned Maintenance

Asset management is a systematic process of deploying, operating, maintaining, upgrading and disposing of assets with the objective of providing the required level of service in the most cost-effective manner.

We are continually retained by commercial, residential and defence clients to work with them ensuring their buildings and infrastructure are serviceable, maintained and upgraded as required.

Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM), often referred to as Planned Maintenance, is the scheduled inspection and reporting of specific components or elements of a building.

Clients with single or multiple assets in the form of buildings will usually rely on their PPM schedules to assist with programming and budgeting for building fabric repairs and maintaining the building to a specific state of repair.

Planned Maintenance has several key advantages for clients:

  • Easier planning of maintenance
  • Clear understanding of likely financial commitment year on year
  • Costs can be distributed more evenly
  • Reduced initial outlay where works can be spread over a period of time.

Clients usually instruct us to undertake a schedule of condition of their buildings either at first occupations, assignment or renewal of their lease. We then use the information gathered within the Schedule of Condition to provide a detailed Planned Maintenance strategy over a period of time (usually 3, 5 or 10 years).

Having assisted with the preparation of the Planned Maintenance strategy we are often then instructed or retained to administer the works recommended within the strategy.

Planned Maintenance should not be confused with Reactive Maintenance which can be defined as repair works undertaken as a result of an unplanned failure or defect to a component.

A good and thorough Planned Maintenance strategy will seek to minimise the level or reactive maintenance required.

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