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Building Surveying

Our experience safeguards your decision-making process

As Building Surveying Consultants, we work with property at all stages of its lifecycle.

Some clients need us at every stage and others only as matters crop-up, but either way, we are flexible and aim to build trusting, long-term and friendly relationship with our clients and professional associates. Our concise reporting gets to the heart of the matter, which brings confidence to our Clients and accomplishment to our people.

We are a multi-disciplinary surveying consultancy and our technical advice is enhanced by the broad knowledge and experience of our in-house experts.

We support clients on most aspects of property maintenance and management:

  • Pre-purchase Building Surveys
  • Maintenance Surveys & Budgeting
  • Landlords Inspections
  • Re-building Cost Assessments for Insurance
  • Dilapidations Advice & Negotiation – Landlords or Tenants
  • Schedules of Condition
  • Design & Contract Administration – Repairs, Reconstruction, Alterations
  • Historic Buildings Advice
  • Building Defects Advice
  • Development Monitoring – Initial Appraisal & Interim Inspections
  • Fire Risk Assessments, Energy Efficiency, Accessible buildings, and other property related compliance matters.

For information on what Building Surveyors can do for you, and the high professional standards we must work to, visit The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Below is information on some of the more usual instructions we advise on. If you can’t see what you need, we would be happy to discuss your requirements.

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  • Pre-purchase or Pre-Lease Building Surveys
  • RICS Home Surveys
  • Property Maintenance Surveys & Budgeting
  • Landlords Property Inspections
  • Re-building Cost Assessments
  • Dilapidations Advice & Negotiation – Landlords or Tenants
  • Schedules of Condition
  • Design & Contract Administration – Construction & Repairs
  • Older & Historic Buildings
  • Building Defects Advice
  • Development Monitoring
  • Building Compliance Advice

Pre-purchase or Pre-Lease Building Surveys

A detailed survey to advise on the condition of the buildings, identifying defects that may influence your decision to buy, or the terms of your lease.

The report will recommend where further investigation is required, including for example the opening up of hidden parts. It can also include outlined details of significant work that would need to be planned and budget estimates if required.

Sometimes, reports are prepared on behalf of a vendor so that the condition of the building is pre-disclosed to potential buyers to minimise delays to the sale and to avoid purchasers ‘chipping away’ at the asking price.

RICS Home Surveys

We predominantly advise on commercial property and larger residential buildings, on the basis of a ‘Level 3 survey’. However, we are able to put you in touch with one of our respected associates who offer the Level 1 & 2 RICS Home Surveys if either of these would be more appropriate for your needs.

The three levels of surveys are:

  • Level 1 – RICS Home Condition Report

The lowest price survey, suitable for conventional and new-build homes that are generally in a good condition, which provides an overview of the condition, outlining risks and any urgent defects. The report is presented in a simple ‘traffic light’ rating format.

  • Level 2 – RICS Home Buyer Report

Includes the features of a RICS Home Condition Report, and provides some advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance. Most suitable for conventional or slightly larger property that is in reasonable condition.

As an option, this can include a market valuation and insurance rebuild costs if required by your Lender.

  • Level 3 – RICS Building Survey

Essential for older, large or more complex properties, or where major alterations are proposed.

This is the most expensive type of report and provides more detailed analysis of the condition and advice on repairs and maintenance options. The input of other specialists, such as a Mechanical & Electrical Engineer or a Structural Engineer, may be recommended to supplement the report.

For further information, please go to RICS.

Property Maintenance Surveys & Budgeting

A survey to identify what repairs and maintenance work may be required over the course of the next year, 5 years or 10 years for financial budgeting. This can be an overview or done on a detailed room-by-room basis.

The report is usually presented as a Planned Maintenance Schedule and can include cost estimates. It can be done for individual buildings or as part of an estate management strategy. We are equipped with iPads and GoReport software, which are perfectly suited for stock surveys and consistent reporting.

Useful for Landlords planning work that may be rechargeable to Tenants under a service charge or for Tenants who want to maintain their leasehold building to minimise their Dilapidations liability at lease end.

Landlords Property Inspections

An inspection of leasehold property usually to identify any repairs that the Tenant needs to do to keep the building in repair and decorated as the lease requires, and any repairs that the Landlord needs to do.

A proactive way to reduce risk by making sure your buildings are properly maintained by the Tenant during the lease term, rather than reliance on end of term dilapidations claims, which are increasingly being successfully challenged. Proper maintenance helps to ensure your buildings remain profitable into the future.

We will provide a bespoke service and tailored reporting to target your specific Asset Management needs.

Re-building Cost Assessments

For commercial property, the onus for determining the level of Buildings Insurance cover required is usually incumbent on the owner. With access to Building Cost Information Service bulletins, we are able to provide up to date Rebuilding Cost Estimates for insurance purposes.

If a building is under-insured, there is a danger of the insurer not paying out the full cost of rebuilding. If over-insured, then higher premiums than necessary are likely.

As building costs fluctuate and buildings are altered over time, it is advisable to periodically review the level of cover needed – usually every 3-5 years taking in an inspection of the building, supplemented by an annual ‘desk-top’ uplift exercise.

At Brownill Vickers, we can provide this service alongside our periodic Asset Valuation service to keep costs competitive.

Dilapidations Advice & Negotiation – Landlords or Tenants

Leases usually have obligations for Tenants to keep the building in good condition during the lease and when handing it back to the Landlord. There might also be a requirement to remove any alterations. If the Tenant does not comply with these obligations, the Landlord can serve a legal Dilapidations claim.

We provide advice to both Landlords and Tenants in preparing for a claim or responding to one.

Negotiating a claim should be straightforward, but in practice it can be complicated needing legal, valuation and technical expertise and tactical advice. We believe settlements should be fair to both parties, efficiently and transparently dealt with, and without exaggeration.

For more information, please visit RICS.

Schedules of Condition

Before taking a new lease, you might want to consider having a Schedule of Condition prepared to append to the new lease. This records the condition of the property at the start of the lease.

Depending on the wording in the lease, it can protect a Tenant from having to hand the property back to the Landlord in a better condition than when they took it on. For a Landlord, a Schedule of Condition can help to ensure the Tenant hands the property back in a ‘no worse’ condition.

For further information, please visit RICS.

Design & Contract Administration – Construction & Repairs

Surveyors can help with the design of construction work and the administration of construction contracts. We are able to manage repairs, renovations or alterations from start to finish.

Specific advice might include:

  • Planning and Building Regulations
  • Appointment of appropriate specialists
  • What to expect during the work & obtaining competitive prices
  • What form of Contract to use, or what insurance is needed
  • How to deal with payments, defects, or claims for additional costs.

Older & Historic Buildings

Older and historic buildings are what Building Surveyors are trained for. Good maintenance and sympathetic repair of historic buildings is fundamental to their preservation.

Maintenance is cost-effective and time and money spent on routine care, regular surveys and prompt attention to defects protect the value of the building and prevent potentially costly repair bills.

We can advise on the conservation of historic buildings, provide condition assessments and recommend suitable maintenance and repair options.

Building Defects Advice

Building defects can be present at construction or develop over time, and few buildings are free of defects. Some defects are simply an annoyance, while others can affect the value of a property and some defects are potentially catastrophic.

We can help you identify the extent of the defect, the likely risk and recommend appropriate repair options.

Development Monitoring

Independent monitoring services can provide reassurance for any party that has a direct interest in the successful completion of a construction project but who has no direct control over its delivery.

Our services include both Initial Appraisal Reports and ongoing Progress Reports:

  • Initial Report – to identify construction related risks before the project has started, and which may affect a decision to support the development.
  • Progress reports – once the development has commenced, to verify expenditure and approval of drawdowns, and the adequacy of the remaining undrawn loan to cover the forecast cost to complete.

We are also able to review distressed developments and recommend possible recovery strategies.

Building Compliance Advice

Commercial and residential buildings are subject to various regulations, and building owners and occupiers have responsibilities to manage statutory compliance and keep buildings risk free. As Building Surveyors & Property Managers we can advise on building compliance matters including:

  • Fire Risk Assessments
  • The Energy Efficiency Regulations
  • Accessibility
  • Statutory Inspections.

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