Finding the right commercial property can be an uphill struggle and as we have blogged about recently, demand for quality commercial units is currently outstripping supply in Lancashire, making the task of finding new space increasingly difficult.
With more and more new-build property being built and sites becoming increasingly hard to get hold of, many businesses are looking to purchasing commercial premises off-plan as the solution.
There are several benefits to this approach – in particular, new builds provide blank canvass so can be specified to suit your own requirements.
However, in order to secure a building, you often have to take on a significant level of risk. For example, you will be required to pay a large deposit and sign onerous legal contracts, often before a single brick has even been laid. Further to this, you will then have to make payments on a monthly instalment basis as the property is being built.
Whilst many clients will appoint a solicitor to check over documentation and Titles etc., they do not always take the same precaution with the building process itself.
Here are some of the reasons appointing a Monitoring Surveyor can pay dividends.
At the Heads of Terms stage, a Monitoring Surveyor will review drawings, specification and programmes to ensure that documentation is appropriate. They will advise the clients on any exclusions from the build before they commit, sometimes giving rise to negotiation opportunities, and also ensuring that the proposed programme and stage payments during the build process are reasonable.
During construction, a Monitoring Surveyor will regularly conduct site visits to help ensure that the building work meets specification standards, is on programme, and that the developer is not claiming for extra costs unnecessarily. Additionally, the role involves meeting with the developer at various stages throughout the build, thereafter confirming to the buyer that the level of the interim part-payment is satisfactory.
At the end of the build, the developer will be eager to achieve Practical Completion and get payment. A Monitoring Surveyor will undertake a full snagging inspection, also checking that utilities, gas and electric are live and ready for the buyer to take occupancy. Crucially, a Monitoring Surveyor will ensure that all appropriate paperwork / certification is in place at that stage – e.g. Building Regulations, health & safety file, gas safety certificates, electrical certificates, as-built drawings etc. These will all be required if ever you decide to sell the property in the future.
The benefit of employing a Chartered Building Surveyor is that we overseen many new-build developments and undertaken due-diligences on behalf of both banks and purchasers – meaning we are ideally placed to know what to look out for and the information to request.
Lea Hough can undertake the role of Monitoring Surveyor on behalf of cash-purchasers (owner-occupiers and investors who will be leasing commercial buildings) and also on behalf of banks who are providing lending for purchasers on commercial or residential property.
For more information, or to speak to us about any of our property consultancy services, please get in touch.