Take care of your number one asset
Josh Brown considers how planned maintenance can benefit commercial property owners…
Property is often a business’s biggest asset and liability, which is a good reason why we should look after our buildings. More often than not, planned property maintenance is seen as a necessary evil and not something of great value. This is where we beg to differ. As a firm of chartered building surveyors, we believe that strategic maintenance offers a more sustainable, cost-effective and commercially minded approach to taking care of your building, with the benefit of adding value to your greatest asset.
Repairing and maintaining, rather than renewing a building, is in most cases a more sustainable option and provides an opportunity to lessen our environmental impact. The construction of new buildings consumes energy as well as other resources and can generate considerable amounts of waste. Whereas preserving and prolonging the life of a building can make better use of our limited resources. Repairing and maintaining is also often a more cost effective option.
Preparing a maintenance plan provides the opportunity to review the energy efficiency of your property and put into place measures to improve its sustainability in line with legislation. Under the Energy Act 2011, since 1 April 2018, all commercial properties must have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of E or higher in order to be re-let, prohibiting the letting of a property with an F or G-rating. On 1 April 2023 this will also apply to existing leases.
Preparing and delivering a maintenance plan takes the skill and knowledge of an experienced chartered building surveyor. A high level of expertise is required, particularly when working with complicated or historic buildings, to ensure the plan is extensive and provides accurate costs. Qualified building surveyors understand how existing buildings are constructed, perform and deteriorate over time. This skill of understanding building pathology allows surveyors to solve problems with existing buildings, but also to recommend maintenance which can prevent problems occurring in the first place. On more substantial and complicated projects building surveyors can take the role of project manager. This means co-ordinating a team of sub consultants to ensure efficient delivery of a cohesive maintenance plan with appropriate refurbishment works.
A planned maintenance programme can have significant benefits for commercial property owners and tenants:
- It puts into place preventative measures to help avoid major problems occurring at a high cost to the owner or tenant.
- It breaks down repair expenditure into manageable portions which can in turn help with cash flow.
- It can enable a landlord to request works to be carried out to a property by the tenant and a tenant can also use the plan to manage their dilapidations liabilities.
- It can also significantly add value, maximising rental and sale values.
Looking at the residential sector, undertaking planned maintenance on large apartment blocks has the benefit of spreading the cost of maintenance for the building over several years. This results in smaller, more regular and manageable service charge payments for the tenants, along with the added benefit of a well maintained asset and a desirable place for people to live. For property managers an accurate planned maintenance report can ensure service charge provisions are allocated correctly at the start of each service charge year.
It pays to take care of your property, if you don’t have a planned maintenance programme in place, maybe now is the time to seek advice to ensure you are looking after your number one asset.
For further advice please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team on 0191 231 4263 (Newcastle) or 0113 320 7879 (Leeds).