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Commercial Surveyor Services

Bradley-Mason LLP is a Chartered Building Surveying practice who offer the full range of Surveying, Building Consultancy and Project Management Services throughout the UK.

Our senior level team provide expert advice, with a focus on a quick turnaround service to maximise value and to fully understand our client’s businesses and property requirements. Ranging from investment funds and private Landlord’s to High Street retailers and commercial Tenant’s, we offer advice on the whole life cycle of their property interest from acquisition to disposal. Our aim is to predict your needs and ensure your expectations are exceeded. We question your requirements to ensure that our services are tailored to your current and future needs.

Commercial Property and the Party Wall etc. Act 1996

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Town Houses with Colourful Shops in Edinburgh

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 was introduced to enable Building Owners to carry out work on or next to a shared wall and at the same time protect the interests of anyone else who might be affected by the work. Since the Act came into force, Building Owners in England and Wales have had a procedure to follow to minimise disputes and determine the time and way in which work is carried out and compensate for any loss or damage.

The Courts will readily grant an injunction to restrain building work carried out in disregard of the party wall procedures. Work controlled and governed by the Act is often critical to project completion and enormous delay and expense can result from not following/observing the Act.

The rights and duties of party wall ‘owners’ are set out in sections 1 to 9 of the Act. The Act defines two parties to a party wall matter; the ‘Building Owner’, who is the person (or company) who initiates work on their side of a wall, and the ‘Adjoining Owner’ – the person affected on the other side.

If you are planning works on your party wall or have received Notice about works from your neighbour and one or both buildings is a commercial premise then please speak to our team for specialist party wall advice.

What is covered by the Act?

The Act does not apply to minor works which would normally have no effect on the neighbours’ half of a party wall including: drilling and installing fixing plugs, screwing in wall units or shelving, adding or replacing some recessed electrical wiring or sockets and re-plastering.

There are some things that you can only do to a party wall with the written agreement of the adjoining owner including:

  • Cutting into a wall to take the bearing of a beam.
  • Inserting a damp proof course all the way through a wall
  • Raising the whole party wall and, if necessary, cutting off any objects stopping this from happening
  • Demolishing and rebuilding the party wall
  • Underpinning the whole or part of a wall
  • Protecting adjoining walls by cutting a flashing into an adjoining building
  • Building a new wall on the line of a junction between two properties
  • Excavating foundations within three metres of an adjoining structure and lower than its foundations
  • Excavating foundations within six metres of an adjoining structure and below a line drawn down at 45° from the bottom of its foundations.

What rights does a commercial Building Owner have?

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 allows a Building Owner to thicken, raise, underpin, cut into, or demolish and rebuild any party wall either because it needs repair or because it needs to be stronger or higher. Before a Building Owner can exercise any of the rights conferred by the Act, they must serve notice on all Adjoining Owners.

The period of notice is generally two months for anything affecting a party wall or structure (Party Structure Notice), but only one month for a Line of Junction Notice (section 1) and Excavation Notice (section 6).

What rights does a commercial Adjoining Owner have?

As much as the Building Owner has the right to conduct work on a Party Wall, Adjoining Owners have the right to dissent to the works at which point they may appoint their own surveyor to ensure that the property is properly safeguarded, and all necessary protection has been afforded and included within an Award document. The Award also sets out the work to be carried out, when and how it will be done. It may also grant access to both properties, so the surveyor can inspect work in progress. The Award will determine who pays for the work if this is in dispute. Generally, the Building Owner who started the work pays for all expenses.

A typical Party Wall Award will also include a Photographic Schedule of Condition which will be prepared before the work starts and held on file by both surveyors to protect both parties’ interests.

Even once the Party Wall Award has been drawn up, Adjoining Owners have 14 days in which they can appeal its terms if they feel that the surveyors have acted negligently, improperly or illegally in creating the Award. This should not be taken lightly however, as the appeal must be made at the County Court and may incur significant costs if the applicant is unsuccessful.

Commercial Party Wall disputes

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 regulates the relationship between neighboring owners in respect of certain types of work, on or in close proximity to the boundary. If, having been served Notice, the Adjoining Owner does not provide written consent to the proposed works, the matter is considered to be in dispute.

The solution the Act provides is for both parties to each appoint a surveyor or ‘agreed surveyor’ who will act impartially.

Appointing a Party Wall Surveyor

Seeking the advice of an experienced Party Wall Surveyor early in the process is beneficial for both Building Owners and Adjoining Owners. With our experience and specialist knowledge we can:

  • Advise if the Act applies and if required, serve notices on all Adjoining Owners and negotiate an Award, which will set out the scope and method of work, including compensation, access and making good issues.
  • Receive notices and advise on validity, check details, agree Awards and check compliance on your behalf, where Adjoining Owners are carrying out work near your property.

Here at Bradley-Mason LLP, we provide expert guidance for all commercial party wall matters and as members of the Pyramus and Thisbe Club (the organisation for professionals specialising in Party Wall surveys), our surveyors are familiar with the latest case law updates allowing us to provide up-to-date advice to our appointing owners.

Following the introduction of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 (Electronic Communications) Order 2016, in consideration to the environment we serve all our Awards electronically and encourage all other parties to embrace the change.

For more information about working with Bradley Mason, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

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A Guide to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

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This briefing note aims to provide an overview of the implementation of the MEES exemptions and exclusions enforcement provisions and the impact on dilapidations in relation to non-domestic properties.

Implementation. The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 set out the minimum level of energy efficiency for private rented property in England and Wales. Part 3 of the Regulations contains the minimum level of energy efficiency provisions which are currently set at an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of band E. The regulations are a directive originating from the Energy Act 2011 which requires new regulations be introduced to increase the energy efficiency of private rented buildings situated in England and Wales.

Implementation of the Regulations is to come into effect in the following stages:

– From April 2018, the MEES regulations trigger an enforcement mechanism that will apply to all privately rented non-domestic buildings. The new legal standard makes it unlawful to Lease all privately rented commercial properties or permit Lease renewals unless the building can achieve an EPC rating of ‘A’ through to ‘E’.

– From April 2023, all privately rented properties with Leases that commenced before 1st April 2018 must comply with the MEES regulations.

The guidance set out in ‘The Non-Domestic Private Rented Property Minimum Standard’ document confirms that MEES will only apply to those properties which require an EPC by law.

Reasoning. The government has identified that the built environment is a major contributor to Greenhouse Gas emissions which directly affects the UK’s target to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. It is estimated that heating and powering our non-domestic buildings is responsible for around 12% of the UK’s emissions.

The government estimates that 18% of commercial properties across the UK hold EPC ratings of F or G and as such the new minimum energy standards aims to improve the EPC ratings of England and Wales commercial building stock.

Exclusions and Exemptions. Identifying if a building or tenancy are affected by MEES is not straightforward, as there are various exclusions and exemptions Landlords can claim for depending on the circumstances surrounding the property.

The exemptions available to Landlords include:

– The ‘Golden Rule’: if the Landlord has carried out all possible cost-effective improvements but the building does not meet the standards, then that particular property would be exempt from meeting the standards for 5 years. By using the Green Deal’s ‘Golden Rule’ where improvements must pay for themselves within 7 years, the property may be exempt from complying with the MEES standards.

– Devaluation: If a specialist independent surveyor determines that the relevant improvements that could be made to the property to improve the EPC rating would have a negative impact on the market value of the property, then the building could be exempt. However, there must be a 5% or more reduction in the market value for this to apply.

– Third Party Consent: If the Landlord cannot obtain necessary consents to install the required energy efficiency improvements despite all reasonable efforts then the property will be exempt. Consents include from the Tenants, lenders, Superior Landlords and local authorities, especially in the case of listed buildings.

– Lease terms: Properties that are let on a Lease term of less than 6 months or more than 99 years are excluded from the regulations.

– Recently becoming a Landlord: The regulations acknowledge that there are some limited circumstances where a person may suddenly become a Landlord and as such, it would be inappropriate or unreasonable for them to comply with the Regulations immediately. Therefore, the Landlord is granted a six-month temporary exemption after which they will be required to meet the requirements of the regulations or register a valid exemption.

In all cases Landlords are advised to obtain their own independent advice in relation to possible exemptions and must ensure that all exemptions are registered via the central government PRS Exemptions Register.

Enforcement and Penalties. Local Weights and Measures Authorities (LWMAs) will enforce the provisions set out in the MEES regulations as well as Trading Standards who will also undertake enforcement activity. The enforcement teams can impose hefty penalties for Landlords that do not improve their properties. Penalties range from a minimum penalty of £5,000 to a maximum of £50,000 within the first three months of a penalty notice being served. After three months, the penalty will rise to a minimum penalty of £10,000 to a maximum of £150,000.

Dilapidations Matters. The MEES regulations are set to impact existing Leases from 1 April 2023, which will impact how Building Surveyors advise Tenants and Landlords in relation to Dilapidations matters. Landlords will have to undertake all reasonable efforts to implement improvements to their properties, excluding exempt properties, to improve its EPC rating during the term of a Lease.

The Jervis v Harris clause which provides certain powers to the Landlords to enter their property to carry out repair works when Tenants fail to do so, will not have the same enforcement under the new regulations. The new regulations place the obligations on the Landlord to carry out the works, therefore entry to a property, mid-term will unlikely be unlawful under the Leasehold Property (Repairs) Act 1938.

‘Green’ Lease provisions are seen to be the answer to facilitate access for MEES improvements, ensuring both the Tenant and Landlord share the benefits of any improvements made to meet the new standards. Tenants who sign up to a new ‘Green’ Lease should be aware of potential business interruption before agreeing to sign a Lease on a building with an EPC Rating of F or lower.

There is potential for strong supersession arguments come Lease end, due to wholesale replacements of M&E equipment, for example, being required due to poor energy ratings.

To Summarise. The first stage of the new regulations comes into force from 1 April 2018, therefore it is time to start taking practical steps to limit the impacts of the new standards, whether that be a Landlord looking to budget for improvement works required or a Tenant looking to limit disruption and risk of letting a non-compliant property.

The PRS Exemptions Register is open therefore, Landlords who wish to apply for an exemption must begin to prepare their evidence required to carry out the self-certification. Professional advice should be sought as to whether relevant exemptions or exclusions apply.

Where a property does not meet the requirements on the PRS exemption registers Landlords should seek professional advice on how best to budget for improvement works and how such improvement will impact on any current Tenancies.

For more information see the ‘Non-Domestic Private Rented Property Minimum Standard’ guidance note (2017); author: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-private-rented-property-minimum-energy-efficiency-standard-landlord-guidance

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Jake Hopper Update

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2018

This year Jake started riding for Mills Racing Team on board the Honda RS GP 125 in the TSGP cup with NG road racing.

We started the season not knowing how Jake was going to take to the bike as it is a lot different to any other bike he has ridden before,  with it being a fully blown GP bike.

He surprised us all and started the season very competitively, running with the front runners from the beginning and getting on the podium at the first round. Jake continued to impress throughout the season with plenty of ups and downs.  Through mechanical problems and crashes he kept smiling and confident and managed a podium at every round. Unfortunately he couldn’t quite get the top step until the latest round at Castle Combe where he took the win for the first time this year, on the last race of the weekend, and got presented his 1st place trophy by legend Steve Parish. To finish the weekend off he secured second place in the championship with still one round to go at Oulton Park.

Jake was also awarded Young Rider of the year award for achieving so much this year, racing against much more experienced riders and been the youngest, at 13, by 9 years .

Corporate responsibility - Jake Hopper racing on his motorbike

2017

Great to see that Jake has progressed through the season, racing at some of Britain’s most famous race track’s like Brand’s Hatch, Cadwell Park, Donnington Park and many more, gaining some amazing memories and experiences along the way. During all this excitement, not everything runs as smoothly as planned. Jake suffered some major mechanical failures as well as some hair raising crashes.

This didn’t stop Jake’s determination for wanting more and he kept smiling all the way through the teething problems and kept pushing and trying hard to eventually gain his ‘clubman license’ halfway through the season.

Close up of the bike used by Jake Hopper

Once Jake gained his clubman, license we then stepped into other championships on his Aprilia 125. Jake made massive improvements and progressed every race picking up podium’s along the way. Whilst all of this was going on we received an email from DORNA inviting Jake to the British Talent Cup selection process. He was selected from hundreds to try out at Silverstone during Moto GP week. Although Jake gave everything he had, it wasn’t his time and he didn’t get selected for the British Talent Cup 2018. Jake took it on the chin and said he will go back stronger next year.

With the season coming to an end, we have had to decide what our plans are going to be for 2018 and after long talks with various people and lots of decision making, we have decided to move onto a Honda GP RS 125 riding in a team for the season. They have also asked for Jake to ride the Honda in the Race Of The Year at Mallory Park on 22/10/17, which is a one off annual event with some top names from BSB riding there. In order for Jake to participate in the race on board the Honda as he is still 12, we have had to write to the ACU for dispensation to allow Jake to race which has been granted – and that is a big achievement in itself.

Jake Hopper - Race Image

Over the year we have had many ups and downs with some amazing experiences and can’t thank you guys at Bradley Mason enough. We are so grateful for all of your help and support over the years.

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