Building Surveys on Commercial Properties

Building surveys are a core service provided by Stephen D Buxton & Associates, and such surveys are usually requested by individuals or companies who are hoping to either buy or enter into a lease on either a single property or portfolio of properties and need to understand the condition and the financial liabilities of proceeding. Such surveys can be for clients wishing to occupy the property themselves, or for parties wishing to acquire a property for investment purposes. These inspections are sometimes known as Due Diligence surveys.

The practice is sometimes instructed by existing building owners or occupiers to investigate particular building defects and often thereafter to organise the necessary remedial works. This can be classed as reactive (ie: unplanned) maintenance, and is also often termed ‘defects analysis’.

As with other types of survey work, we sometimes advise on the need to commission separate specialist surveys, and often recommend the use of other consultants such as structural or services engineers, environmental consultants, lift engineers, and such like. Arranging asbestos or timber treatment surveys, disabled access audits and statutory compliance inspections of various kinds is also commonplace.

As a practice Stephen D Buxton & Associates thoroughly understand the wider implications of buying or leasing a property. In some cases, other matters can have larger financial implications than the condition of the actual premises themselves. For example, a client might be thinking of taking a lease on a small office in a multi-occupied building. The liability to comply with the repairing covenants in the lease on the actual accommodation might not seem onerous, but if the Landlord is planning to replace the lifts or re-roof the building then the adverse effect on the service charge could be considerable.

Very often we speak to clients on completion of the survey in order to provide a summary of our views prior to providing the written report. We find that clients like to know what the shortcomings are as soon as possible.

Following the survey, reports are prepared complete with fully referenced photographs and drawings where possible, highlighting both the defects and structural shortcomings and the likely cost of the necessary remedial works. Reports are usually provided in both hard copy and electronic format.

In the case of leased properties we often recommend that a Schedule of Condition is prepared so that items of disrepair which are not critical can be recorded and will limit the tenant’s liability for repairs at the end of the lease term.

A prospective purchaser or tenant may accept that a property needs repair and wants the remedial costs spread over a period. In such instances the practice uses the findings of the Building Survey to prepare a Planned Maintenance Programme.

Finally, once a property has been acquired it often needs repairing and altering to suit the purchaser or tenant’s exact needs. Stephen D Buxton & Associates undertake a great deal of maintenance and architectural work, not only in designing and specifying the work required but also obtaining competitive tenders and supervising the work in progress.