commercial new build

A couple of months ago, we blogged about the importance of getting a Chartered Surveyor involved when buying a new-build home. Just as new-build residential projects need to be carefully scrutinised by the purchaser, so too do commercial building projects. In fact, as the stakes are so much higher, commercial new-build arguably require a greater degree of scrutiny.

For businesses who purchase an “off-plan” new-build property, it is usually a one-off situation that directors will not have encountered before, and so it is sensible to get professional advisor on their side to represent their interests.

Lea Hough can act as Employer’s Agent / Monitoring Surveyor for clients who are having new-build commercial properties built. Here’s how we can help clients buying a new-build commercial property to ensure they get the best value out of the project:


1. Be clear what you’re paying for

If you’re investing in a major commercial project, it is sensible to have a Chartered Surveyor acting on your behalf prior to the build commencing. Working on behalf of the purchaser / end user, we review the developer’s documents (drawings, specifications and programmes). As you will be buying ‘off plan’ and because most developments are undertaken on a “design and build” contract basis, we can advise what is and what isn’t included before you commit any money.


2. Ensure the proposals are suitable

Some developers of new-builds only provide a basic shell only – not even any lighting, heating or fit out. In some cases, you may be able to tailor the scheme to suit your needs and re-negotiate to see that such works are included as part of the delivered turnkey project.

Besides the new-build property itself, you may need to consider external space for loading, parking, etc. We will check that the proposed external grounds / forecourts meet your business’ needs. Other aspects that can sometimes go unchecked but could actually prove crucial include ensuring that the size of the electric supply is sufficient, that the floor slab load-bearing capacity is suitable and ensuring that things such as the drainage position suit the purchaser’s intended fit out.


3. Protect your interests

As part of our service we will ensure that suitably tight contractual documentation is in place. This will include establishing the position with warranties, something that could prove vital should the finished building require any repair works within the first few years. We will also check whether or not Building Regulations are covered within the contractor’s remit – again something that could prove costly if not properly covered off.


4. Keep to timescales

Once works commence on site, we assume a monitoring / overseeing role on behalf of our clients. This includes attending monthly progress meetings during the construction period, during which we ensure that the work is on programme and is being done to the required standard. We will also ensure that the Building Inspector and warranty providers are doing their periodic inspections to avoid any issues when the build reaches its conclusion. Should any variations to the project be required, we can relay these to our clients, helping to agree a way forward.


5. Oversee the finances

Part of our role is also to keep a close reign on the project’s payment schedule. We review and agree monthly drawdown payments for the work that has been completed to date – to ensure that the developer is not claiming too much in drawdown payments every month.


Although the appointment of a Chartered Surveyor to undertake a development monitoring role may seem at the outset to be an additional cost, clients generally find that the investment in professional advice pays dividends in the long run. As experts in property and construction projects, we are able to represent your interests at every stage of the project, ensuring you get the finish and quality that you paid for.

Lea Hough are currently acting as Employers Agents on a number of new-build commercial units across Lancashire. For more information, please get in touch.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
Manchester Office
Telephone: 0161 265 0070
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: Oakshaw House, 2 Capricorn Park, Blakewater Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 5QR