At Bradley-Mason LLP, we conduct Building Surveys that cover a wide range of property inspections to suit the needs of individual clients and deliver the right level of detail and advice required.
What does a commercial building survey include?
A commercial Building Survey provides so much more than a mere financial asset valuation. It gives a deep insight into the current condition of a building including information on building defects, construction materials and the presence of any hazardous materials such as asbestos. The document may also suggest necessary remedial works and can be used to support any claim for a price adjustment.
Commercial buildings can differ substantially from residential properties and may have been built using reinforced concrete, steel and cladding, which requires a very different approach to that used for a domestic building survey.
Building Pathology or Defect Diagnosis often forms part of a larger Building Survey although it can look at a single issue.
As independent RICS Chartered Surveyors, we provide impartial assessments to protect the interests of our clients. Bradley-Mason LLP may be instructed by commercial property buyers or sellers, investors or operators, lessees or commercial tenants. We follow published guidelines including the RICS Guidance Note – Building Surveys and Technical Due Diligence Commercial Property – Fourth Edition to help us deliver a document that serves as a valuable tool to help our clients acquire, manage or dispose of their commercial property.
Whether you are buying, selling or leasing commercial premises, a Building Survey offers valuable professional advice and guidance on any issues that can affect your proposed interest. These can vary from someone acquiring the investment interest on a retail park with all units let on repairing terms, to an individual considering the acquisition of a historic building for conversion for residential occupation. We provide the same level of survey and attention to detail to ensure that we fully understand how a building is constructed, what its current condition is and how it will meet your requirements.
The senior-level team at Bradley-Mason LLP are known for their proactive approach, expert advice and quick turnaround to maximise value for the client. From our Head Office in Harrogate – supported by several regional offices – we serve national and international clients across many sectors, ranging from private occupiers to local authorities, property companies and investment funds. Our clients include household names such as Pizza Hut, Vodafone, National Trust, Hyundai, Nuffield Health and National Express.
An Acquisition Survey, often more accurately called a Pre-Acquisition Survey, may form part of the due diligence process and can be undertaken for a variety of clients. It may be needed for the acquisition of a property for investment purposes, owner occupation or before taking a Lease. It can also be undertaken prior to acquiring a company which may include a real estate asset or a property portfolio, either freehold or leasehold.
In addition to a comprehensive Building Survey for each property, we would review the relevant Deeds, construction documents and other information available to deliver a client-targeted bespoke report.
This type of property investigation has the potential to pay for itself many times over. The in-depth survey provides the potential buyer with important knowledge regarding the condition of the building, highlighting all present and potential problems. This information can be critical to help negotiate a better purchasing deal. It can also help put a long-term plan into place to mitigate liability at the end of a Lease or upon the sale of the building at a future date. An Acquisition Survey can give estimates on the lifecycle costs of a building, advice on refurbishments, improvements and repair obligations.
We regularly undertake surveys of Leasehold premises to prepare a Schedule of Condition to be appended to a proposed Lease. This detailed recording of a property’s condition helps to establish the necessary evidence needed for limiting future repairing liabilities under the Lease. The limitation on such a Schedule is that if there is further deterioration during the Lease, then the tenant would be responsible, unless the Lease terms are carefully worded.
Due Diligence Reports
Sometimes known as Technical Due Diligence (TDD), we routinely carry out due diligence as part of the wider process during the acquisition of a property or business. In these situations, our input extends beyond the delivery of a commercial Building Survey.
We will look at various other aspects including the property’s Deeds, its history and how it has been occupied, so that we can establish any risks posed to our client. For clients acquiring investment premises, there is likely to be a raft of legal documents to review including Leases, construction information, warranties and Service Charge Agreements that we will take into account to establish any residual risk to the acquisition of a site for investment purposes.
Yes, we regularly undertake due diligence as part of our national roll-out service. Our initial role is to establish the suitability of each site as a basis for a standard fit-out. We will also agree with each landlord that a unit will be provided to meet standard requirements, to an agreed specification and that the relevant limitations on the Lease obligations are in place, so that the above can be delivered on time.
Our TDD reports also include various specialist skills from the experienced team of surveyors at Bradley-Mason LLP. This includes an assessment of dilapidations liability under the proposed Lease, any building compliance issues in terms of fire precautions, means of escape, inclusive access and energy performance, along with any Health & Safety Risks imposed, including asbestos.
Disposal Surveys & Vendor Surveys
Bradley-Mason LLP offer Building Surveys to assist in managed site disposals. Our Disposal Surveys assess the condition and potential issues raised by a purchaser, including Dilapidations if a leasehold interest is being disposed of, and any other specialist advice such as measured surveys and cost advice on any works required.
A Vendor Survey constitutes a similar service, although it is usually specific to the disposal of an investment interest, where we would be instructed to undertake a detailed survey and prepare a Vendors Survey Pack to be issued to potential purchasers. If required, our Report can be assigned to the final purchaser to give assurance that the building is in a suitable condition. This avoids a delay during the purchase period and allows a reduced time between acceptance of the offer and exchange of contracts.
While the benefits of a pre-purchase survey are well understood, surveying prior to selling is less so. As a consequence, many properties enter the market with defects and issues that are laid open for a diligent acquisition surveyor to discover, giving purchasers the upper hand in negotiations. A Vendor Survey can appraise the property before going to market, showing potential buyers that all issues have been considered in the market price. It also provides an opportunity to address issues and present the asset in the best possible light, achieving maximum return on the investment.
A Disposal Survey or Vendor Survey can give property sellers the edge over competitors, and help speed up the sale process. In addition to a full internal and external Building Survey, it can include a review of relevant technical and legal documentation, a survey of building services systems, an appraisal of asbestos reports, and an appraisal of environmental and energy performance matters.
A Condition Survey is usually undertaken for a building under existing ownership, typically for a local authority or a corporate client with a larger portfolio, and where the client needs to understand the condition of the property, the works needed and the costs of putting the property into a good state of repair.
Bradley-Mason LLP can also draw up a Planned Preventative Maintenance Report or Planned Maintenance Programmes following a Condition Survey. This provides a detailed 5-year or 10-year long-term maintenance plan, allowing works to be properly categories, scheduled and budgeted.
A Building Condition Survey is used to identify building defects, so that a client brief can be developed for corrective repairs or planned preventative maintenance to restore parts of the building or facility to an acceptable standard. The survey is often a stepping stone in the decision making process to draw up a specification of works. It is suited to larger commercial premises or residential properties.
No, although the two are related. A Schedule of Condition involves a full survey of a property at the start of the tenancy to a predetermined property checklist. The survey is carried out with the sole reason of recording the state of the property at that particular moment in time. The purpose of the written report is to qualify the extent of the tenant’s and landlord’s repair obligations, protecting both parties.
In conjunction with a Building Survey, we regularly coordinate the input of other specialists including M&E Consultants, Structural Engineers and Environmental Consultants, together with arranging for further specialist investigations such as electrical testing, CCTV drainage surveys and ground investigations. The findings of the specialist reports will be reviewed and summarised in our Report to give a clear and concise summary designed to suit individual client requirements.
Finally, our specialist Access Consultancy Team is often involved in larger surveys, and their opinion sought in respect of specific access points noted in a survey. We can measure the gradients of ramps, check parking layouts, assess whether toilets are adequately sized and further advise on any specific issues that may be a barrier to inclusive access – all of which may be of specific concern if you have members of the public visiting your premises or if you are acquiring a multi-let building for investment purposes.
A testimonial from one of our Building Survey clients
“Working with Bradley-Mason over the last few years has revolutionised the way in which we as a business deal with building surveyor requirements to our estate. Their quick and clear professional advice, their skill in negotiating deals and their resource to monitor works on site all contribute to our control of costs and resolution of varied property issues.”
Tom Falk – Dixons Retail PLC