Tag: change of use

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In a very unusual project, Robinson & Hall was appointed to act for a client who identified a property in Letchworth suitable for their funeral business.

The initial enquiry was from the client’s solicitors who required an experienced RICS qualified building surveyor to advise upon the condition of the property and feasibility for conversion. Before the purchase of the property, our experienced building surveyor carried out a detailed building survey and although the property was generally sound, this identified a number of significant essential repairs, including leaks through roof lights and aspects of historic poor quality refurbishment work.

On the basis of the report findings, the client was able to negotiate a £75,000 reduction in the purchase price in lieu of the necessary repair work.

Before – Car saleroom

Alongside the purchase process, the client instructed Robinson & Hall to prepare a design and obtain planning permission for change of use from car showroom to funeral parlour. Our building surveyors measured the building and prepared plans, whilst our Planning department submitted a planning application for this special use under a Sui Generis planning class. North Hertfordshire District Council granted permission, much to the delight of our client, who has praised Robinson & Hall’s team for their dedication and perseverance in securing the change of use.

Under the direction of Senior Building Surveyor, Stuart Brown, the Architecture & Building Surveying department prepared a detailed design and specification, including works to rectify defects identified in the original building survey. The project was tendered to several local building contractors and one was appointed under a Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) Contract to carry out the building works. 

After – funeral parlour

Refurbishment commenced in July 2019 but due to delays through Covid 19 restrictions was not completed until June 2020. The final cost of the building work was in excess of £600,000. We assisted our clients with contract administration and project management services through the build period.

Our client is now utilising the building with frequent on-site funerals and providing bespoke services to assist those arranging for burial in Africa.

Stuart comments “It was a very unique project and one which you do not get an instruction for every day. We were pleased to assist our clients in converting the building and adapting to meet their objectives. There were plenty of issues to overcome including navigating through the Covid pandemic. However, with careful planning, we managed to bring the project within the agreed timescales. Our client was very pleased with the completed works and the combined services Robinson & Hall provided.”

For more information or to find out how Robinson & Hall can help you please contact Stuart Brown, Chartered Building Surveyor on 01234 362923 or email spb@robinsonandhall.co.uk

Many property owners will have buildings which fall under the above categories. Some may have occupancy issues additionally impacted by the current COVID pandemic. Each will have their own unique circumstances, however now may be the right time to think about how to plan for the future.

Just because something has always been a certain use doesn’t mean to say it has to remain the same use. Recent Government legislation provides opportunities for change of use across a whole range of property types including office and retail spaces right through to warehouses and agricultural buildings.

If the property is currently vacant then this provides the ideal opportunity to consider your options. There are many alternatives to consider and too many to cover in detail in a single article. However, I highlight a few initial questions to ask yourselves:

Refurbish

Change of use

Redevelop

Whatever your circumstances, ask yourself the above questions and establish whether you are maximising the returns from your buildings.

Many of the above issues may also apply to tenants wishing to review their own premises they occupy and seeking to sub-let.

There are also many other matters to consider including structural elements, building regulations approval, fire safety, MEES legislation, checking ownerships, etc.

The legislation is complicated to navigate through, however there are a wealth of opportunities. Robinson & Hall can help assess your property and implement a strategy to maximise the use from your assets.

Please contact Robert Franklin, Head of Architecture & Building Surveying on 01234 362917 / 07976 256586 or email rjf@robinsonandhall.co.uk to discuss your options to ensure your buildings secure a healthy future.