Commercial Property Services

Many people think of ‘building surveys’ in the context of finding out the condition of a property before deciding whether to buy it.

Our expertise is not limited to the residential property sector. If you are taking on a new lease or purchasing new premises we can also help protect you and your business interests by providing a Building Survey or Schedule of Condition at the outset of your lease or purchase, and/or a Schedule of Dilapidations at the termination of a lease. Whether you are a Landlord or Tenant, we are happy to help.

We can further assist in:

  • Change of Use, Planning, Building Regulation Applications
  • Lease Plans
  • Design Concepts
  • Planned Preventative Maintenance Schedules
  • Specific Defect Investigations

Change of Use, Planning, Building Regulation Applications:

Your premises is likely classified for specific use and if you intend to make alterations with a view to changing the use class, it is vital that you establish whether you are required to submit a Change of Use application to your local planning authority. It is best to investigate this at the earliest stages of your business planning to avoid any unwanted surprises. We can advise businesses on whether their proposed ‘Change of Use’ will require an application and if so, we will work with you on all aspects of the application process, preparing and submitting it on your behalf.

Similarly any construction or refurbishment plans you may have for the premises could also potentially require an application to your Local Authority for planning and/or building regulations approval. We undertake all aspects of this, working with you from the earliest stages to identify the needs of the project and any sensitivities that are likely to impact on your application. We can liaise with the Local Authority on your behalf, enabling us to take into account their views on your proposed project, this allowing us to submit an application that has the strongest likelihood of gaining approval.

We pride ourselves on having established good working relationships with the various Local Authorities in Eastbourne and surrounding areas and are experienced in matters concerning Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and Areas/Buildings of Special Interest.

As well as producing drawings to support applications for new projects, we can also produce ‘as-built’ drawings to support retrospective applications when attempting to secure planning/building regulations approval on work that has already been carried out.

Schedules of Condition:

A Schedule of Condition is a report documenting the condition of a property, or any part of one at a given point in time. The most common need for this arises before the signing of a lease so that both parties have an agreed assessment of the condition of the property at that stage; with the Schedule then often forming part of the lease agreement. This can then often assist in discussions about what, if any, making good is required and by whom, at the termination of the lease. Although not exclusively the case, it is normally the incoming tenant/leaseholder that commissions a Schedule of Condition, as it provides them with protection when they vacate the premises against having to make good or pay for defects or disrepair that are not their responsibility. We can act for the tenant/leaseholder or Landlord, but not both, and can assist in a mediatory capacity if disagreement arises between the parties.

A Schedule of Condition also forms part of a Party Wall Award; documenting the condition of a property prior to works taking place; this protecting owners against damage as a result of the works.

Schedules of Dilapidations:

Schedule of Dilapidations is a report documenting defects, disrepair and the general condition of a property, or any part of one, along with outlining any breaches of the lease agreement to which such issues relate. It provides information about the work that will be required to reinstate the premises to the condition of an earlier time, such as at the start of the lease. Although not exclusively the case, it is normally the Landlord that commissions a Schedule of Dilapidations, as it provides them with not only a report on the condition of their premises, but also essential information of breaches which are the tenant/leaseholder’s responsibility to address upon vacating the premises. We can act for either the tenant/leaseholder in responding to a Schedule that has been served against them, or a Landlord in formulating such a report; but not for both. We can further act in a mediatory capacity should disagreement arise between the parties, or in liaising with other surveyors instructed by the other party.

Building Surveys:

When considering purchasing a commercial premises, peace-of-mind can be achieved by enlisting the help of a Chartered Building Surveyor.

A Building Survey is a customised service that provides an in-depth and detailed assessment of the subject premises, usually prior to your commitment to purchase. The survey is designed to identify any structural defects and areas of concern or disrepair in the subject premises, thus allowing you to make an informed decision on whether to purchase it. In some cases, where the survey identifies costly-to-repair defects, you may be able to save money by negotiating with the vendor.

The report is written in the surveyor’s own format which subsequently means it can be tailor-made to suit your requirements. The Building Survey does not include a market valuation or reinstatement cost assessment but these can be included if requested, along with other additional services such as cost guidelines, feasibility studies, scaled floor plans and maintenance schedules. Depending on the individual merits of the property an additional charge may be applicable for these additional services.

We also have consultant surveyors who are able to further provide asbestos surveys including sample testing, commercial Energy Performance Certificates, drainage surveys and fire risk assessments. Please just ask for more details.

Lease Plans:

Lease plans are a form of measured survey. Whether you are the landlord/owner or the tenant/leaseholder, it can be important and helpful to have a record of the property and facilities to which the lease agreement relates.

Such plans can include as much or as little detail as required and we are happy to undertake them at any stage of the lease term, although most benefit is gained if the plan is in place before the lease is formalised and signed, so that both parties understand the extent of their respective obligations and the extent of the subject premises.

Lease plans are also often submitted to the Land Registry as an accurate record of the size, location and layout of the premises. Such plans can also be used for other matters; in the application process for an alcohol licence, for example.

Design Concepts:

With our range of experience and expertise, we are able to help you establish exactly what you want from your building, refurbishment or alterations project. By meeting and discussing your needs, aspirations and budget, we can help you create the image and design you are imagining. With our detailed understanding of all stages of such projects, including the planning processes, coordination of consultants and contractors, you can be assured of our design concepts being imaginative yet practical.

Many people incorrectly anticipate that there are three options here: asking an architect to carry out the design work; asking the building contractor to formulate the design; or even not having a pre-conceived design at all; therefore just hoping it will all work out alright as the project progresses!

We can bring our unique blend of architectural and surveying backgrounds to each of our designs providing as much or as little assistance in a very cost-effective way. Please take a look at the Project Management and Contract Administration services we offer. (clickable link to that page)

Planned Preventative Maintenance Schedules:

Planned preventative maintenance saves money, gives peace of mind and protects the value of your property investment. For businesses it also helps protect against potential claims arising from harm or damage caused to third parties and keeps your public image as you want it.

A Planned Preventative Maintenance Schedule identifies the current condition of the subject building to assess what maintenance work will be required, and when. We provide you with a detailed summary of the findings with anticipated time-scales within which the works are likely to be required. If required, we can provide costed schedules as well as a managed service to obtain competitive quotes for the work, appoint contractors and oversee the project at all or specific stages of the process.

Specific Defect Investigations:

By investigating and analysing a specific building defect, whether it be a suspicious crack, damaging water penetration or sub-standard workmanship, we can provide you with an expert and impartial report to support an insurance claim, potential court action or simply as a start towards remedying the problem. If required, we can obtain competitive quotes, appoint contractors and oversee the project at all or specific stages of the process. This also applies to issues in gardens or grounds, such as assessing whether trees have the potential to cause harm to your or a neighbouring premises for example.

Kind Words...

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The building survey report I received from Southdown for my proposed house purchase was extremely comprehensive and helpful. I had partly expected pages of general comments and padding. However it was very specific to the property and very detailed and it was clear that considerable amount of time and effort went into the survey itself and the report. It made very clear the remedial work and action points that are required and it will be very crucial in renegotiating the purchase price. Matthew Symonds who undertook the survey was genuinely interested and helpful in answering the various queries I had and gave me all the time I needed. He clearly understands customer service! The report was worth every penny and I have no hesitation in recommending Southdown Surveyors or using them in future.

Mr M. Grant