Following guidance issued by the government on 26th March, many people may have the perception that all house moves have been stopped in their tracks and the entire residential property market has come to a standstill.

Similarly, the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in changes for construction projects across the country, with some builders temporarily putting a halt to projects, whilst others have brought social distancing measures into working practices, resulting in some progress being made, albeit at a slower pace. 

With the above in mind, we thought it might be useful to clarify the type of work that we are continuing to undertake in light of the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Residential property

Despite many people’s perception of the current housing market, there is actually no government guidance disallowing Chartered Surveyors from undertaking urgent surveys or valuation reports on properties. The health and welfare of our staff is paramount, and in line with current policies around social distancing, we are currently only undertaking surveys and valuations on vacant residential properties. 

We have also received a number of enquiries relating to vacant properties and have able to undertake these inspections safely. Examples of appointments that we have undertaken are:

  • Urgent Homebuyer Reports on vacant houses
  • Survey of an empty barn for a barn conversion
  • Survey of a derelict farmhouse that had suffered a fire for an insurance reinstatement claim

We are risk assessing the circumstances of each appointment and considering the circumstances in relation to each property, safety considerations and the urgency of the work. We are certainly not undertaking inspections in properties where occupants are showing symptoms or are self-isolating.

Commercial property

For many of our business clients, Covid-19 has brought about the temporary closure of their business. These are testing times for our region’s economy as the majority of workers stay and home as businesses take the necessary measures.

Our landlord clients have also been hit as they have worked alongside their tenants to try and find a way forward. We have already begun receiving enquiries about Schedules of Dilapidations from landlords as the impact on lack of cashflow beings to affect the viability of their tenancy agreements.

Our team have undertaken inspections on commercial properties as follows:

  • A bank monitoring surveyor’s report on a building site so that the builder could have a drawdown. We visited early at morning when the builder wasn’t on site.
  • Measured survey of empty shop buildings for a heritage project
  • Specifications / tender documents for various forthcoming projects (following our earlier inspections) – planned maintenance works, an extension to a pavilion, re-roofing a community centre, etc.
  • A Valuation of a newly-built, unoccupied commercial unit for a SIPP Pension provider

Schools

With schools currently being closed to all pupils except those of parent keyworkers, a number of schools are currently vacant, or at least being utilised at a much lesser extent, therefore allowing inspection reports to be undertaken with very minimal risk.

In fact, some of our school clients that are currently closed or operating with only a handful of pupils and staff are taking this time to plan ahead. We have undertaken a condition survey on an empty school and are working with a number of other academy schools and sixth form college clients to progress plans for future improvement works.

In addition, we await the outcome of the most recent round of CIF funding bids, which the Department for Education has confirmed will be released in May.

Contact Lea Hough chartered Surveyors

Despite the challenging times and the changes that we all face, we would like to reassure clients that our team are still available to undertake work across all of our specialist areas as long as it is safe and practical for us to do so. We are working within guidelines set out by the Government and are taking all precautions necessary.

Thank you for your continued support.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
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: 7 Ferry Road, Office Park, Preston, PR2 2YH.