Eddisons expands across Eastern England with acquisition of BSM

Eddisons expands across Eastern England with acquisition of BSM

 

Leading national property consultancy, Eddisons, has today confirmed the acquisition of Barker Storey Matthews (BSM) one of the largest independent chartered surveying firms in Eastern England.

BSM was recently ranked the overall winner for Eastern England in the EG Deals Competition 2018 (‘EG’) for commercial property agents and acquisition will see the experienced 38-strong team integrate with the current Eddisons team.

Eddisons will also expand its national office network to 20 by incorporating BSM’s premises in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough and Bury St Edmunds, further strengthening the company’s ability to deliver specialist property services on nationally.

BSM is a multi-disciplinary practice and delivers services consistent with those offered by the existing Eddisons business, including commercial property agency, property management, building consultancy, professional services (including valuations) and planning services.

Eddisons Partner, Anthony Spencer, said: “I am very pleased to welcome the BSM team into Eddisons; it widens our geographical coverage to twenty offices around the UK and increases the number of clients. This is our fifth Eddisons acquisition since we joined the Group and we continue to seek opportunities for further growth, both organically and by strategic acquisition.”

Steve Hawkins, Managing Director at BSM, commented: “Through our talented team of people, Barker Storey Matthews has developed a market leading reputation for delivering quality property advice across the Eastern region.

“We are excited to be joining the Eddisons team as there is a natural overlap with the services we offer and an opportunity to work with like minded individuals. This strengthens our proposition to our dedicated client base and we look forward to developing the opportunities the deal presents. Not only will we be able to offer a greater spread of professional services but we will be able to do so on a UK wide basis.”

This marks the second acquisition of 2019 for Eddisons, having bought transport and planning consultancy Croft earlier this year. The firm has also acquired industrial auctioneers CJM Asset Management, real estate and business valuers Taylors, and leading property auction business Pugh & Co.

The BSM deal marks the second acquisition of 2019 for Eddisons.

Written by: Anthony Spencer on Friday 05/04/2019

Which UK areas are struggling to meet commercial property demand?

Which UK areas are struggling to meet commercial property demand?

 

The UK’s entrepreneurial spirit continues to flourish, with a remarkable 5.5 million businesses operating in 2016 throughout the country, over 99 per cent of which are SMEs. However, in some areas, the demand for commercial property outstrips the supply. We take a look at the areas where demand is high and what sectors are faring best.

Regional investment

The country’s regions are out-performing London in terms of transaction volume for the first time since 2013. In 2015, a total of £24 billion was invested in commercial property – the highest level on record. The reasons for this include an improvement in the UK economy as a whole last year, as well as rising occupier demand, mainly within the industrial and office markets. And while London remains a favourite with overseas investors, particularly within the prime market, the regions beyond the capital offer excellent investment opportunities. Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol are all performing well, both in terms of rent and availability.

Variations

Despite some of the major cities performing well, and meeting commercial property demand, others are failing to satisfy the needs of small and medium sized business owners.

Scotland in general, Edinburgh notwithstanding, has seen a decline in demand during the third quarter of 2016, according to RICS, with at least 12% of prospective business owners failing to have their office needs met.

Away from the capital, data prepared by Oxford Economics reveals that office job growth forecasts were strongest in Nottingham and this is confirmed by RICS’ UK Commercial Property Market Survey – Q3 2016, which shows that office and industrial space in Nottingham remains in high demand, outstripping current supply.

The East Anglian market is also lacking in industrial commercial property, particularly in the mid-Cambridgeshire area, where many commercial property owners are converting their properties to residential, to capitalise on the demand for housing rather than commercial rentals.

The North East is reporting a continued shortage of quality accommodation, particularly among the office and industrial sectors and analysts predict a further shortfall in the future if commercial property values continue to plateau.

In the North West (excluding Manchester) commercial property activity is reduced, especially in the retail sector, where many high streets are suffering due to out-of-town retail parks and shopping centres, leading to a decrease in rents. Although some areas of the North West are seeing an increase in industrials.

The industrials sector in Northern Ireland is currently strong, driven by internal investment, as opposed to overseas’, while in Scotland, excluding Edinburgh, uncertainty surrounds commercial property in light of talk of a second independence referendum.

In the South East, the housing shortage has led to an increase in residential development to the detriment of commercial, leading to a decrease in the availability of commercial properties, particularly industrial units.

Throughout the South West demand for prime commercial space is still outstripping supply and has led to an increase in interest from investors keen to maximise their returns on scarce resources.

The West Midlands has seen strong demand for industrial units and retail premises which contrasts with a sluggish office market.

Yorkshire and Humberside’s rural prime office and industrial market is reported as being under-supplied, increasing rental costs accordingly. Whereas Hull, which will be the UK’s Capital of Culture 2017, is seeing increased interest in small retail units as well as seeing a potential boost by virtue of its status as a renewables hub.

Our quick snapshot of the state of the commercial property market yields mixed results throughout the country, with some areas reporting increased confidence and others sounding a note of pessimism.

If you’re interested in investing in commercial property or wish to rent in any location in the UK, talk to a member of our team. Our highly-qualified and -experienced advisors can offer you advice and information to enable you to make an informed choice about your purchasing or rental options.

 

Written by: John Padgett on Monday 08/05/2017

 

How drones are used in the commercial property sector

How drones are used in the commercial property sector

 

More widely known for their use in delivering parcels or conducting aerial surveillance, drones, or small, unmanned aerial vehicles, have the potential to benefit those involved in commercial property. We find out how.

3-D mapping

Even before the construction process starts, new builds need a comprehensive understanding of the lie of the land. Drones fitted with high-resolution digital cameras can feed back information to the ground to provide 3-D maps of the site in order to provide the information a developer needs.

Once construction has started, drones can again provide a useful resource to architects by capturing an aerial view of a construction site which can then form the basis of any 3-D rendering which they might want to use in marketing material. In a refurbishment project, images obtained by drones can then be ‘modelled’ and used as part of any planning applications which are necessary, to give a powerful and realistic visual representation of what the finished project will look like.

Also consider the marketing potential of a HD video of the outside of the finished construction, shot by a drone in a cinematic style, to add impact to a website or draw visitors via a Twitter feed.

Construction monitoring

During the construction phase, constant monitoring is vital. Drones can act as an ‘eye in the sky’ to ensure progress is satisfactory, that safety standards are being adhered to, and to co-ordinate the deliveries of materials more effectively. In fact, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, which has been under construction since 1882, and is due for completion by 2026, has had drones employed to monitor the progress of the building works in an attempt to speed up the complex construction.

Structural inspections

From checking for roof damage to highlighting areas of structural concern, drones are an effective and safe way to inspect inaccessible areas of a building, without the need for ladders or safety equipment. Drones can even be fitted with specialist cameras which can read thermal output (to ensure insulation is effective and prevent heat loss), or detect metal fatigue which may cause structural damage.

Security

Security on construction sites can be problematical, and it is expensive to maintain 24-hour security staff who are then at risk themselves. Drones, when fitted with night vision cameras, can be a cost-effective alternative, providing a risk-free monitoring service for materials and equipment as well as alerting security staff or police to any intruders.

Technology now provides us with new and powerful methods of simplifying all aspects of commercial property, from construction to repair. If you need advice on building or managing your commercial property interests, talk to a member of our team.

 

Written by: Joseph Fitzsimmons on Tuesday 31/01/2017

 

Infographic: The Rise of Luxury Student Accommodation

Infographic: The Rise of Luxury Student Accommodation

A month on from Freshers’ Week frolicking, students at universities up and down the country are now settling down after the initial whirlwind of new friends, a new city, and a new place to call home. But what exactly does this new home consist of?

Ian Harrington, building surveyor and fit out specialist at Eddisons, says; “Student accommodation is not ‘one size fits all’. There is now a wider choice than ever before when students choose their term-time accommodation; from traditional university owned cluster flats, to luxury city centre studios, however each of these comes with its own (potentially high) price tag.”

Eddisons have looked into what today’s students can expect from their accommodation. We consider what factors are deemed important when choosing accommodation, and how much the average student can expect to pay for the privilege.

From The Young Ones to the more fortunate ones, we present the current state of university accommodation and the range of students catered for. It seems there’s been a shift from digs to bigwigs…

Written by: Ian Harrington on Wednesday 26/10/2016

Key Health & Safety rules to be aware of with commercial property

Key Health & Safety rules to be aware of with commercial property

 

Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, Health & Safety awareness within a commercial property environment is essential. We take a look at the most important H&S rules to be aware of.

The rules

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for implementing all the rules which keep people safe while they’re at their place of work. In the last year, 144 people were fatally injured at work mostly due to falling from heights, being struck by vehicles or being hit by moving objects. Many more suffered non-fatal injuries such as falls, slips and trips. Health and Safety legislation is designed to protect against such accidents and minimise their occurrence.

Strict penalties are imposed on those who allow, through negligence, accidents to occur – the most severe of which can result in two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine, under the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008. It’s in everyone’s best interest, therefore, to comply with the rules.

Fire Safety: For Landlords

If the lease stipulates you as being responsible for safety on your commercial premises, it will fall to you to implement a health and safety risk assessment to determine possible fire risks within the building. The HSE has guidance on how this can be approached on its website.

Fire Safety: For Tenants

Most leases will state that fire safety is your responsibility – check through the details carefully before you sign it. If it is, you must carry out a fire risk assessment in order to protect yourself and those people working for you.

Asbestos: For Landlords

Once a popular fire-retardant material, asbestos is now regarded as a major risk to health, causing lung diseases which are often untreatable. If your building dates from before the mid-80s there is a possibility that it may contain asbestos – a survey will clarify the situation. Again, the lease you draw up will state who has responsibility for maintaining a building which contains asbestos, but if it is found on the premises, a thorough risk assessment will be necessary. Strict penalties for not managing its risk can be incurred.

Asbestos: For Tenants

If you suspect that the premises you are renting contains asbestos you must check your lease to see if you are responsible for maintenance and repair. If it is unclear, the law will state that the party with the ‘greatest degree of control’ over the building has a legal duty to establish the presence of asbestos in order for a risk assessment or remedial work to be undertaken.

Electricity: For Landlords

Unless you are supplying electrical equipment to tenants, your main responsibility will be to ensure that the wiring in your premises is safe and fit for purpose. This will mean having a certified safety check undertaken before the premises is let.

Electricity: For Tenants

You must undertake a risk assessment of the equipment you intend to use on your rented premises and ensure that none of the equipment is faulty or is likely to cause harm. Check that your lease explicitly outlines your landlord’s responsibility for the maintenance of the wiring, and that he or she can provide a safety certificate.

Gas: For Landlords

If you supply any gas appliances to your tenants, such as water heaters, it is your responsibility to ensure that they have certified annual checks to guarantee their safety. Otherwise, you must ensure that, if your building has common areas, the heating equipment there is well maintained.

Gas: For Tenants

Generally it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of gas appliances in commercial buildings that you occupy. This includes appliances, pipe work and flues. Your lease should set out your exact responsibilities so it’s important that you understand what these entail.

Landlords and tenants alike must be absolutely clear what their responsibilities are for the health and safety of anyone who occupies a commercial property. To prevent injury or death and to avoid a large fine or possible imprisonment, leases should clearly outline who is accountable for each aspect of H&S. If you need help drawing up a lease or interpreting its clauses, or if you need guidance on any aspect of Health and Safety, contact a member of our team.

 

Written by: Joseph Fitzsimmons on Friday 14/10/2016

 

Understanding commercial rent review disputes and the Calderbank Offer

Understanding commercial rent review disputes and the Calderbank Offer

 

In the course of commercial property letting, it is sometimes inevitable that a dispute may arise regarding the rent – either from the side of the landlord or the tenant. We examine the most famous rent dispute in an effort to understand how such disagreements can be resolved.

What is a Calderbank Offer?

A Calderbank Offer is an offer made ‘without prejudice, save as to costs’ in order to settle a dispute without incurring extra costs and the possibility of a full trial. The term stems from a divorce case in 1975 in which the judge decided that in a case of litigation, where the winning party has refused an earlier settlement, the losing party may present the details of the offer as evidence towards costs.

The implications this has in commercial property rent disputes are that if the winner of such a dispute is awarded less costs than was previously offered, the losing party may be able to pay a reduced amount of costs to the winning party.

How does this affect commercial property rent review disputes?

Rent reviews can be a bone of contention between landlord and tenant. They typically take place every three to five years – historically this period of time was seven or 14 years. However, with the shorter terms of modern commercial leases, usually between 10 and 15 years, rent reviews now occur more frequently.

The rent review clause in the lease will set out when the reviews will take place and how the new figure will be arrived at, what procedure will be followed and how any disputes, if any, will be dealt with. The most common method of recalculating a commercial rent is revaluation in the open market.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) publishes a voluntary Code for Leasing Business Premises in England and Wales which aims to promote the values of fairness and negotiating commercial leases on the basis of informed choices, for both landlords and tenants.

The review will be based on the open market value of similar properties, on similar leases, in the local area. In some cases, the lease will stipulate that the rent will be increased, ‘upwards only’ which allows the landlord to increase it by the agreed amount. However, if, during the course of his or her research, the tenant discovers that the local market value is actually lower than the increase being asked for by the landlord, negotiations may take place.

This is where the Calderbank offer is of particular relevance to commercial property. If, during the course of negotiations, a tenant makes the landlord an offer of a reduced rent via a negotiator (usually an independent surveyor), in line with local market values and this is at first refused but then later accepted by the landlord, the tenant can use the first refusal both to argue their case and to claim any subsequent costs.

Commercial rent reviews can be fraught with difficulties and create an atmosphere of anxiety and disharmony between landlord and tenant. In order to avoid such a scenario it is essential that before the tenant signs the lease it is professionally examined to ensure that the clauses are fair and reasonable for both parties.

For advice and information on any aspect of commercial rent reviews, either from the perspective of a tenant or a landlord, contact the Eddisons team. Our highly-qualified, independent RICS surveyors have extensive and current experience on a wide range of matters relating to what can be a thorny issue.

 

Written by: Steven Jones on Wednesday 13/07/2016

 

Should a commercial landlord forfeit the lease when their tenant is in rent arrears?

Should a commercial landlord forfeit the lease when their tenant is in rent arrears?

 

Being a commercial landlord undoubtedly has its benefits. However, there are times when a tenant either cannot or will not pay their rent. In these situations, the landlord has to consider whether to forfeit the lease. We look at the circumstances surrounding forfeiture and ask whether it’s always best to forfeit.

Forfeiture

The word ‘forfeit’ comes from the Middle English via Old French, and means a crime or transgression which must be made good with a fine. Today, if a commercial tenant is in rent arrears the landlord is entitled to forfeit the lease before the lease’s specified termination date, without recourse to the courts. However, the landlord does not have an automatic right to do so – the right to forfeiture must be specified within the clauses of the lease.

If the lease does contain a forfeiture clause, it usually allows the landlord to begin the forfeiture proceedings within a specified period – typically 21 days after the amount of rent is payable. If the tenant has not paid by the specified time, the landlord then has the right to enter his or her property by peaceful re-entry and forfeit the lease. Most landlords use Enforcement Agents who act on their behalf to ensure that proceedings are carried out correctly – they also have the authority to change any locks on the premises and display relevant forfeiture notices. If a tenant refuses to leave, the landlord can apply to the court for possession of their property. The result of forfeiture is that the lease is considered to have ended from the date of the act of forfeiture, and that any obligations which the landlord had towards the tenant will cease from that date.

The landlord must take great care not to waive their right to forfeiture, if that course of action is decided upon. Waiving their right is defined as doing something that acknowledging that the lease still exists, such as demanding the outstanding rent, or accepting rent payments after the period of time that enables forfeiture to arise.

For tenants, a right to apply for relief of forfeiture exists. This will usually be granted if the full amount of arrears is paid, together with the costs of any proceedings.

The landlord’s dilemma

Sometimes, however, landlords must ask themselves whether forfeiture is always the best course of action. It’s not uncommon for tenants to be affected by the supply/payment chain, especially in today’s financial climate, and for the non-payment to be only a temporary situation. For repeat ‘offenders’, however, the latest missing rent payment may be the straw that broke the landlord’s back, as it were.

Landlords must also question the viability and expense of sourcing a new tenant after forfeiture has taken place. Are they willing to have an empty property with no rental income for however long it takes to replace the tenant?

One possible solution is for the landlord to use the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) process, whereby a Certified Enforcement Agent (formerly called a bailiff) recovers any arrears. This enables the tenant to continue in the property and means that the landlord doesn’t suffer financially through having an empty property or by having to find new tenants.

If you need advice or information on any aspect of forfeiture our skilled and highly-qualified staff can guide you through the process to ensure that the course of action you take is the correct one for you.

 

Written by: Steven Jones on Monday 11/07/2016

 

Almost 20% of Commercial Buildings fail to meet new Government Energy Standards

Almost 20% of Commercial Buildings fail to meet new Government Energy Standards

 

Almost a fifth of all the commercial property owners in the UK will be required to make improvements to their buildings to comply with new government energy standards. Failure to comply will see property owners run the risk of being barred from letting their properties.

The Energy Act was passed in the last Parliament and it includes rules that come into play in 2018. These new rules state that it will be unlawful to rent out a business property which does not meet the minimum energy efficiency standard. This minimum standard is an “E” rating with “A” being the highest possible efficiency rating.

The research was carried out by a national property agency and it found that nearly 20% of all commercial property currently has a rating of “F” or “G” which means they will have to make an improvement before 2018 to avoid penalties and the risk of no longer being able to rent out their property. Another 19% of properties are currently rated “E” according to the research which sees them teetering on the brink of compliance. The research categorised nearly 40% of all properties as potentially running into a performance risk if changes aren’t made before 2018.

From 2018, buildings that do not meet the minimum Grade “E” standard will be classified as ‘substandard’ which will affect the value of the property and also place owners in the firing line of penalties up to £150,000 if they do not comply.

The current guidelines require landlords renting out commercial property over 50 sq. m in size to have a government-approved energy performance certificate but they do not need to meet a specific Grade “E” standard and there is no obligation to carry out improvement works. It is very likely both landlords and property owners will be concerned about the level of change they need to make and the costs involved to comply with the legislation which comes into effect in just over two years time.

“Owners should bear in mind that occupiers will increasingly favour higher EPC-rated buildings which will have lower running costs, and help companies prove they have a strong sustainability track record,” said Phillip Webb; a property consultancy expert who helped commission this research.

Offering an attractive prospect to potential tenants means ticking every box and from 2018 this includes meeting the minimum energy efficiency standard.

The current guidelines require landlords renting out commercial property over 50 sq. m in size to have a government-approved energy performance certificate but they do not need to meet a specific Grade “E” standard and there is no obligation to carry out.

 

Written by: John Padgett on Friday 26/02/2016

 

Commercial Property Owners in Scotland Urged to Take Action of Energy Efficiency Planning

Commercial Property Owners in Scotland Urged to Take Action of Energy Efficiency Planning

 

Commercial property owners in Scotland have been urged to take action to ensure that they are able to demonstrate how they plan to improve energy efficiency across their premises.

The warning, which has come from a team of leading Scottish property consultants, states that only a minority of commercial property landlords in Scotland are currently prepared for a new set of regulations which will soon make notably more demands of them from an energy efficiency perspective.

Incoming rules will demand detailed energy efficiency plans of the owners of any commercial property in Scotland that is larger than 1,000 square metres and being sold or rented out.

It is currently estimated that close to 70 per cent of all the landlords who will be impacted by the new laws are not currently compliant with the relevant legislation.

As well as being required to create a plan of action that outlines how a particular building will be made more energy efficient, landlords will also be obliged by Scotland’s new rules to submit relevant data on the subject to the register of Scottish Energy Performance Certificates.

Local authorities are expected to commence enforcement action against organisations that do not achieve compliance with the new regulations once they’ve come into effect across Scotland from September 1st 2016.

The advice for landlords who are set to be potentially affected by the new laws is to take pre-emptive action to ensure compliance comfortably in advance of the introduction of the legislation.

“It doesn’t happen in hours and weeks – it takes time to assess the building and look at energy output,” a spokesperson said.

“Really what we’re saying to commercial property landlords is ‘the time to act is now’.”

The Scottish Government has said that it is aiming through a variety of different forms of legislation to substantially bring down the levels of carbon emissions for which commercial buildings around the country are responsible.

It is estimated that these buildings currently account for roughly 40 per cent of all the carbon emissions generated across Scotland on an annual basis.

 

Written by: Steven Jones on Tuesday 17/05/2016

 

 

UK Commercial Property Rent Values Continue Upward Trend

UK Commercial Property Rent Values Continue Upward Trend

 

UK commercial property assets of all varieties increased their rental values by 1.4 per cent on a collective basis during the first three months of 2016.

That’s according to the latest figures on the subject, which show that rent levels associated with commercial properties throughout the country are currently on an upward curve.

Indeed, at a quarterly growth rate of 1.4 per cent, the rent value increase in Q1 2016 matches the same figure for the final three months of last year – which was the highest growth rate recorded since 2007.

The figures cover all forms of commercial property whether they are used as offices, retail spaces, warehouses or industrial premises of any kind.

Of these sectors, commercial properties categorised as being prime industrial real estate recorded the strongest rent value growth in the first quarter of this year.

At a rent value growth rate of 2 per cent, prime industrial properties across the UK reportedly managed the third sharpest increase recorded during any three month period since as long ago as 2001, according to the latest data.

Meanwhile, the values associated with office space in London continued on a relatively sharp upward curve and increased by 2.6 per cent on average as compared with the last three months of 2015.

The average cost associated with renting prime office space in the City of London jumped by 4.6 per cent in the quarter and the Docklands areas that include Canary Wharf saw average prime rental increases of 5.4 per cent in the period.

Other areas which saw notably strong commercial property rent value increases in the first quarter of this year included the West Midlands, where plans for the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link are understood to have prompted an increase in investor interest and buyer activity among landlords.

The BBC recently reported that the main offices of the organisation tasked with planning and delivering the HS2 project are soon set to be relocated from London to Birmingham.

HS2 Ltd is expected to employ close to 1,000 people from its offices in Birmingham while retaining smaller teams in the capital.

 

Written by: Steven Jones on Tuesday 17/05/2016