Successful handover of new-build unit despite challenges posed by Covid

Our surveyors have this month handed over a completed new-build unit at a site on Viaduct Road in Leeds. The construction of the bespoke new unit, which was undertaken on behalf of T F Smiths, who operate a Fix-Auto vehicle repair business, has largely taken place during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the various challenges this has brought, the project was completed on budget and on programme, enabling the business to move forward with their plans and move into the brand new purpose-built facility, having outgrown their previous premises.

The unit is approximately 16,000ft², accommodating a large mechanics’ workshop, offices and toilets as well as a mezzanine and a large forecourt. The building is a steel portal frame structure with cladded elevations, glazed curtain walling, and vehicular shutter doors.

Lea Hough have undertaken the role of Employer’s Agent to agree designs, specifications, seek competitive prices from suitable contractors, and generally oversee the project throughout including periodic site inspections, monthly valuations, sanctioning variations/costs, and agreeing the contractor’s final account. Lea Hough’s role also involved putting the JCT Design & Build Contracts in place, alongside ensuring Building Regulations compliance was achieved, dealing with conditions of the Planning Approval, and assisting solicitors in arranging Warranties.

The project has involved ensuring new mains services connections such as gas, electric, and water supplies as well as drainage connections, which in turn have involved Section 106 and Section 278 works in the road and obtaining permits for these works to be undertaken.

As Employer’s Agent, we held periodic progress meetings throughout the course of the project and we regularly inspected the construction of the unit, providing technical advice and guidance to the client throughout. 

Acting as a representative to the client, our role was to project manage and oversee the Design and Build contract, ensuring that the work that was undertaken by the contractor was up to standard and that budgets and timescales were being adhered to. We reviewed the contractor’s application for payment and certified all interim valuations on a monthly basis, and when the building reached handover stage, we undertook a snagging inspection and certified Practical Completion.

Due to the timing of this project, at times, there were obstacles to overcome, including unavailability of materials and the need for a revised schedule of work due to social distancing measures needing to be met. Despite this, our involvement as Employer’s Agent ensured that all work was achieved to a good standard, on budget and was completed on programme, enabling the client to move into their new premises.

For more information on the services that we provide as Employer’s Agent for new-build commercial property developments, please get in touch.


“We had a Schedule of Condition carried out on a Commercial Property. From vacant possession to our proposed completion date we were really tight on time. Gary managed to carry out the inspection and write a very thorough report in the time needed to ensure we hit our completion date. The price of the report was also extremely competitive. I would recommend Lea Hough to anyone looking for a Professional Surveyors with excellent service & communication at a competitive price.”

Danny Ambler - Fuse Contract Furniture, Blackburn