WHAT IS A BUILDING SURVEY?
A Building Survey covers a wide range of types of property inspection and the production of different reports to suit a variety of clients. At Bradley-Mason LLP we strongly believe that our Reports should be tailored to suit your specific needs and whilst we have various standard formats these can be varied to suit the level of detail and advice you require.
We find that some clients require a very detailed written report which provides detailed advice on the condition of a building and the works required, whilst some clients, in particular those acquiring a large number of sites, require headline information in a summary format with total costs. All forms of survey are however based upon our extensive experience on surveying a wide variety of property types nationwide.
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS
Once we have thoroughly inspected a property we gather the information regarding its construction and condition and advise our clients on any issues which would particularly affect their 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 who may be acquiring an historic building for conversion for owner occupation. The level of survey and attention to detail is however the same to ensure that we fully understand how a building is being constructed, its current condition and how it will meet your requirements.
When undertaking a Building Survey our team of experienced Surveyors not only draw upon their wealth of knowledge but also follow published Guidelines including the RICS Guidance Note – Building Surveys and Technical Due Diligence Commercial Property – Fourth Edition.
An Acquisition or Pre-Acquisition Survey is often part of the due diligence process and can be undertaken for a variety of clients. It may be 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 one or a portfolio of properties which could be either freehold or Leasehold.
Following a comprehensive Building Survey of each property we would review the relevant Deeds, construction documents and other information available to provide a Report specific to our client’s needs.
Due Diligence, sometimes known as Technical Due Diligence is often part of the wider progress undertaken during the acquisition of a property or business. Our input would go beyond simply surveying the building and we would look at the various aspects of a property including Deeds, its history and how it had been occupied to establish the 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 to establish any residual risk to the acquisition of a site for investment purposes.
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 of a standard fit out and to agree with each Landlord that a unit will be provided to meet standard requirements. Furthermore, so that this can be delivered on time, to an agreed specification and that any limitations on the Lease obligations are in place. Our Surveys would also include various specialist skills from our team of Surveyors including an assessment of Dilapidations Liability under the proposed Lease, any compliance issues in terms of fire precautions, means of escape, inclusive access and energy performance together with any Health and Safety Risks imposed including asbestos.
To assist in a managed site disposal, we offer various surveys including a Building Survey to assess condition and potential issues raised by a purchaser; an assessment of Dilapidations if it is a Leasehold interest being disposed of together with other specialist advice including measured surveys, asbestos surveys and cost advice on any works required.
A Vendor Survey is similar to a disposal survey although is usually specific to the disposal of an investment interest where we would 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 suitable condition. This avoids a delay during the purchase period and allows a reduced time between acceptance of the offer and exchange of contracts.
A Condition Survey is usually undertaken of a building under existing ownership, typically for a Local Authority or a Corporate client with a larger portfolio who need to know the condition of their property, the works needed and the costs of putting the property into a good state of repair.
Often based on Condition Surveys, a Planned Maintenance Programme or Planned Preventative Maintenance Report provides a detailed long-term maintenance plan over 5 or 10 years. This allows works to be categorised and budgeted.
Building Pathology or Defect Diagnosis often forms part of a larger Building Survey although it can look at a single issue.
SCHEDULE OF CONDITION
We regularly undertake surveys of Leasehold premises to prepare a Schedule of Condition to be appended to a proposed Lease. The aim being to limit future repairing liability under a 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 were carefully worded.
When acquiring units as part of a national roll-out we regularly find a substantial amount of work to be undertaken by a Landlord in addition to the agreed scope and various amendments to the Lease terms to avoid liability for ongoing deterioration of a building. There is often an incorrect assumption that under a Lease a Tenant would not be liable for reasonable wear and tear or for inherent defects in the property however unless these are specifically excluded then a standard Lease would place the responsibility for these on the Tenant.
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 further specialist investigation including electrical testing, CCTV drainage surveys and ground investigation. The findings of the specialist reports would be reviewed and summarised in our Report to give a clear and concise summary to suit your needs.
We can undertake an Asbestos Survey in conjunction with the Building Survey and as some of our Surveyors are dual qualified they can sample areas of concern if a specific item is found during a survey.
Our specialist Access Consultancy Team can also be involved in any larger surveys or their opinion sought in respect of specific access points noted in a survey. As part of our normal survey we would measure the gradients of ramps, check parking layouts, assess whether toilets are adequately sized and further advise on any specific issues which may be a barrier to inclusive access. This may be a specific concern if you have members of the public visiting your property or if you are acquiring a multi-let building for investment purposes.
A testimonial from one of our Building Survey clients
“Prompt response to my initial enquiry. Report, timekeeping etc was all exceptional. Would recommend you”
Rory MacDonald – Madetech