When purchasing your first piece of commercial property there are a number of things that you need to be aware of that could sprout potential risks for you. To ensure things go to plan it is crucial that you do your research beforehand and take the appropriate technical due diligence to safeguard yourself from problems occurring. Conducting an acquisition building survey before you confirm your purchase will give you the security you need, which should mean the following issues are all covered and taken care of from the outset.
The Building Foundations and Structure
This is a massively important factor that can lead to failure by a number of different mechanisms. You need to make sure you are clued up on the design for the ground conditions and the different forces that can impact the building. Issues such as settlement and subsidence can cause massive amounts of damage and on occasion building failure. If it’s an older building typically they may have limited or no foundations, whilst the more modern properties are built on challenging layers, including food plains, shrinkable clay soils and historic landfill. Even though the foundations are hidden away, problems can manifest and become apparent within the building through cracking and distortion to the structural frame.
Building services are implemented systems that are put in buildings to make improve the comfort, functionality, safety and efficiency for the tenants and the property owners. Typically, this refers to things such as HVAC solutions, fire alarms, lifts and general power. Depending on the nature of the building and its condition, this can be tricky to get right when it comes to setting up the correct system. Therefore, regular maintenance checks need to be put in place as each system will need to be regularly assessed to gauge safety and performance. Specialist input from a mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineer may be required to gain a full understanding of the systems present in a building, their condition, anticipated remaining lifespan, maintenance obligations and the cost of replacement.
The Building’s Envelope
This refers to the outside of the property, including the elevations, roofing and window glazing as well as things like seals etc. The idea behind these materials is to offer insulation and waterproofing for the property in question bearing in mind that material decisions will vary depending on aesthetics, fire protection, cost and things like accessibility. The decline of said materials will, of course, take place due to the building being subjected to the British weather. This means that regular checks and maintenance procedures need to be carried out to ensure safety and state. If the building’s envelope is neglected it can lead to corrosion, rot and water damage. When looking to acquire any commercial property, you need to get full disclosure of the maintenance requirements and costs involved from the start.
It is crucial that the property is developed in a place that is accessibility to everyone wherever it is necessary to do so. This is a consider that must be carefully considered by not just the business owner, but the designers and developers as well. If when purchasing a property with wasn’t purpose-built for accessibility in the past, you will need to decide how much modifications will need to be made and how much this will cost you. If a procurer intends to alter or change the use of an existing property, there may be a requirement to upgrade the property to comply with the current building regulations. Therefore, when making your choice, take into account these requirements and what it will mean for your buying decision from a cost and practicality standpoint.
If you’re unsure about your next commercial property purchase, get in touch with our commercial property acquisitions team today as they’ll be able to help you make a more advised decision on your future acquirement.