Category: News

Turmoil in the Approved Inspector market

Our sister company, Act Building Control, have had their insurance renewed but the Insurance Market for Approved Inspectors is in turmoil and puts construction projects at risk of major significant delays and additional costs.

Please read our breifing by clicking on the link below:

The Approved Inspector Market briefing

If you have any questions about this briefing, please do not hesitate to contact Gavin Lacey who will be pleased to help if you have any concerns on this matter.

Gavin stated:

“Despite Act Building Control having had their insurance successfully renewed, CHPK and Act Building Control will continue to work to bring change to this market as the current situation is bad for everyone; not just AIs, clients or contractors but the public as well, who could see the delay in the delivery of school, hospital and housing projects”

Turmoil in the Approved Inspector market

Pre-Action Protocol and Building Regulations Update

Dilapidations Pre-Action Protocol

The Dilapidations Pre-Action Protocol (or simply ‘The Protocol’ to most surveyors) was first published in spring 2002 by the Property Litigation Association. The Protocol was endorsed by the RICS as best practice and annexed to the RICS Guidance Note in the same year. The aim of the Protocol is to try and reduce the amount of Dilapidations cases that go to court by setting out standards of pre action conduct for terminal dilapidations claim for both Landlord’s surveyors and Tenant’s surveyors.

There have been some who over the years have stated that the Protocol has no teeth because it was not a formal protocol under the Civil Procedure Rules but this is about to change. The Civil Procedure Rule Committee has now agreed to formal adoption and this will occur on the 1st January 2012.

Generally, Protocol compliance is the responsibility of your surveyor. However one item for Landlords to note is the timescale for service of the Schedule of Dilapidations. The Protocol states that a reasonable time to serve the Schedule is within 56 days after the termination of the tenancy. As such, we recommend that if you are considering serving a Schedule of Dilapidations upon a tenant you should be taking advice prior to lease termination.

The revised Protocol and Guidance Note are yet to be published but we understand that the changes are minor and are likely to have little effect on how our client’s matters are dealt with. CHPK has since it’s first publication voluntarily complied with the Protocol when dealing with Dilapidations.

Building Regulations Update

Most people working in property will be aware of the huge number of changes to Building Regulations in recent years particularly to Part L. (Conservation of Fuel & Power) and many more are on the way.

The Department for Communities & Local Government plan to update the following Approved Documents (Parts) in the next 2 years:

Part A – Structure
Part C – Resistance to Contamination and Moisture
Part F – Ventilation
Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Power
Part H – Drainage and Waste Disposal
As ever, due to the political importance of environmental issues it is likely to be the changes to Part L that are the most far reaching. Although the exact changes are unknown we can guarantee that the requirements will become more onerous rather than less. It certainly may be worth considering expediting any planned works before changes come into place if you think any of these areas set to change will affect you.

Reinstatement Cost Assessments (known as Fire Insurance Valuations to most)

A recent survey by Barrett Corp & Harrington Ltd. found that in nearly 75% of Reinstatement Cost Assessments the building was found to be underinsured. Of those underinsured properties the average increase needed to be 68%.

It is due to such concerns that the RICS revised their Practice Standards guidance note this year. The revised guidance note places much more emphasis on providing a completely individual and bespoke Assessment to each and every building rather than simply applying a ‘rate’ to the gross internal floor area. More emphasis is placed upon visiting each building and therefore the ‘desk based review’ is discouraged as it simply does not allow the surveyor to fully appreciate the properties of the building.

It is important that surveyors comply with these guidance notes. They are key to making sure that the client is receiving the best possible advice.

Pre-Action Protocol and Building Regulations Update

Elite Property Practices Combine Expertise

Two of the country’s leading property consultancies have come together to create a new group that will raise the bar in the sector.

City of London-based CHPK Property and Construction Consultants has merged with Act Chartered Surveyors, headquartered in Gloucester, in a deal that will bring clients a complete range of expert services.

The merger will see both businesses continue to operate as individual brands but with a broader range of expertise and services available to existing and new clients.

CHPK Director, Gavin Lacey, said: “Both businesses are very strong and respected brands so it is important that we continue to build on those identities by providing the best and broadest range of services to our clients, which this merger allows us to do through drawing on the respective skills and expertise of both companies.”

In addition, with Act’s network of offices across the Midlands and South West, clients well beyond London, will now benefit from the additional services delivered by CHPK.

Alex Maidment, Director of Act, said: “Both businesses will actively seek to grow, as we now extend our respective offerings to clients and our reach into new areas. This is an exciting move for both us and for our clients, who will benefit from one of the industry’s most comprehensive and expert consultancy groups.”

The range of services now offered by the new group includes the following:

  • Contract Administration
  • Project Management
  • Building Surveys
  • Quantity Surveying
  • Dilapidations expertise
  • Party Wall expertise
  • Building Regulations Compliance and Advice
  • Approved Inspectors
  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 expertise
  • Building Pathology
  • Building Re-instatement Assessments
  • Equality Act expertise
  • Expert Witness Service
  • Fire Regulations, Consultancy and Risk Assessment
  • Space Planning
  • Training and Seminars

“Together, we are a stronger, more vibrant group that delivers real added value,” said Alex. “We are delighted to be working with the renowned and respected specialists at CHPK.”

CHPK Director, Tom Moriarty, added: “This merger is exciting for the both the Act and CHPK teams, which will develop alongside each other to offer the very best and broadest range of services to clients, as we grow together and ensure clients receive the best services available.”

Elite Property Practices Combine Expertise

Project Management – A Refreshing Approach to a Traditional Market

Effective Project Management involves getting all parties to work as a team to ensure that the client gets the works completed on time and to budget. At CHPK, we cover the whole project from inception to completion and believe that all construction projects are more successful when they are run in a collaborative manner, which will ultimately promote the most productive working relationships between all parties.

Project Management should be geared to:

• Minimising Risk
• Achieving Quality
• Maximising Investment Returns
• Maintaining Safety

 

Teamwork for a Successful Project

Today’s industry revolves around tight deadlines and all parties must move forward together to maintain momentum for the success of the project. Without teamwork, the only outcome is a project that is late and over budget and a very unhappy client.

Maintaining Momentum is Crucial

Associated Challenges

Project Managers must understand the considerable challenges of the construction industry’s many complex inter-related processes. Every project is unique and will therefore have unique challenges and issues.

Whether it’s a conversion, a refurbishment, a new build or an extension, there will always be logistical issues which some Project Managers leave to the contractor. To deliver a project successfully, these matters need to be considered in advance and planned for. For example, when working in central London, access is always a major factor.

With conversions and refurbishments, each building will present specific problems relating to its age, construction and literally the ground it is built on.

 

Old Buildings

We consider ourselves experts in the refurbishment and alteration of old buildings. Old buildings are quite often narrow and have been altered numerous times over the years and this presents its own set of challenges. Quite often, to convert these buildings into desirable spaces for retail or office tenants, the basement depth has to be increased and adjacent units joined. For retail clients, it is not uncommon to extend into the first floor above.  More often than not, work has to be carried out whilst some of the floors are occupied. Therefore it is essential to create as little disturbance as possible, whilst maintaining safety for all.

 

Staying Up-To-Date With New Developments

Project Managers have to move with the times and this involves refining management expertise and techniques. Skills have to be continually expanded and reviewed so that they can be incorporated into future projects. At CHPK we take pride in our Continuing Professional Development and all staff have unlimited access to CPD programmes run by RICS.

Experience and Portfolio

Established for 12 years, our portfolio includes many high profile clients including Chelsfield, The Knightsbridge Estate, Dreams, BSkyB, AmsProp, Nabarro, CMS, CBRE Global Investors, AECOM, DMGT and the Sellar Property Group. With our wealth of industry knowledge, expertise and experience, this places us in an unrivalled position to provide professional advice to clients who require their Consultants to have an in-depth knowledge of the processes involved in all construction projects, from inception through to completion.

 

Project Management Services

CHPK offers a full Project Management service across London and throughout the UK, for all types of construction projects, in both the private and public sector and for a diverse range of clients, in the most demanding of areas. For many years CHPK has successfully concluded multiple projects on time and to budget.

CHPK’s offers comprehensive Construction Consultancy services include:

  • Full Project Management Service
    • Project Planning
    • Feasibility Studies
    • Quantity Surveying
    • Contract Administration
    • CDM 2015
    • Space Planning
    • Design Management and Liaison
    • Production of Tender Documents
    • Project Monitoring

Next Steps

If you would like to work with a company whose ethos is built around making Project Management a ‘refreshing and enjoyable’ experience, a company that listens to the needs of its clients in order to achieve favourable outcomes and which harmoniously delivers specifically tailored, effective solutions that will protect and enhance property values, please call us on 020 7377 2739 or email

We are able to offer a wide range of other Construction Consultancy services and would welcome the opportunity to meet to discuss any specific requirements. CHPK are RICS regulated Charter Building Surveyors and our Directors and staff hold various, recognised industry accreditations.

Project Management – A Refreshing Approach to a Traditional Market

CDM 2015 – Are you fulfilling your duties?

Managing Health and Safety in Construction – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

What it Means For Commercial Clients 

The HSE Health and Safety website states,

“Virtually everyone involved in a construction project has legal duties under CDM 2015”.

This includes clients, both commercial and domestic clients, designers, contractors and workers.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) which came into force on 6 April 2015, replaced CDM 2007. These govern the management of health, safety and welfare on construction projects in the UK.

Avoiding Criminal Prosecution

The Regulations assume that the ‘client’ is competent to discharge their duties under the CDM regulations or has access to competent external advice as required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of the Health and Safety at Works Regulations 1992.

Key duties of the ‘client’ are to make sure all those they appoint are competent and to appoint a Principle Designer and a Principle Contractor when necessary in accordance with the regulations. Failing to do this will leave the client legally liable for their duties as well and consequently the client will be considered to be carrying them out.

CDM 2015 states the legal responsibilities of the various parties and it is vital to understand that if the regulations are not carried out to the letter of the law, there could be potentially expensive and time consuming investigations by the HSE and in the worst-case scenario, Criminal Prosecution.

What Commercial Clients need to do – CDM 2015

Client duties are more onerous under the CDM 2015 compared to the 2007 regulations, and include making key appointments when required, such as the Principal Contractor and Principal Designer.

It is imperative that the client ensures that construction work can be carried out, so far as is reasonably practicable, without risks to health or safety and that they take reasonable steps to ensure that the principal contractor complies with any other principal contractor duties in regulations 12 to 14.

These requirements will apply to the project from the outset through to completion.

Select a consultant who will guide you through your duties

If you are not able to discharge your duties under the regulations, you will need to work with a consultant who can advise you on how to do so. It is worth remembering, the Principal Designer only has a duty to assist the client in collating the pre-construction information. The regulations assume the client is able to competently discharge all other duties.

This may sound quite daunting but help is at hand providing that you select a company with a proven track record for providing accurate, trusted advice – a company that knows CDM 2015 inside out.

At CHPK, we are particularly proud of our understanding of CDM 2015. In fact one of our Directors has recently achieved certified membership status with the APS (leading professional institution in the field of construction health and safety risk management). This is a notable achievement since currently only 43 individuals have achieved this accreditation out of 5,000 UK registered members. We believe this accolade truly highlights our awareness and understanding of Health and Safety compliance as well as our in-depth knowledge of CDM 2015.

CHPK is ISO 9001 certified and our Team is SMAS WorkSafe accredited and we are therefore fully compliant in all aspects of Health and Safety.

Please contact CHPK if you are looking for a company to competently advise and assist you in relation to fulfilling your legal duties and obligations under the Regulations as a Commercial client.

CHPK can offer our CDM advisory role as a stand-alone service or as part of a full project management service. We are also able to assist designers in fulfilling their obligations when appointed as Principal Designer.

www.chpk.co.uk

020 7377 2739

CDM 2015 – Are you fulfilling your duties?

Dilapidations expertise

How dilapidations matters have been dealt with over the past 10 years has changed dramatically. Attitudes of surveyors, tenants and landlords have changed over the years. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. This is due to a number of matters, namely; the protocol, the recession and a young generation of dilapidations surveyors.

 

CHPK have always regarded ourselves experts in dilapidations matters. Our founder was a leading light in dilapidations and regularly lectured for the RICS. We now strive to continue that expertise in the practice.

 

You don’t need to simply trust us on this, we have the training to prove it. Both Tom and Gavin attended the inaugural RICS Certificate in Dilapidations course, are members of the RICS dilapidations forum and have attended the RICS Dilapidations conference each year for the last 7 years.

 

We make sure that we are completely up to date with dilapidations best practice now and we understand where dilapidations matters are going.

Dilapidations expertise

Important update for all theatre owners

1 September marks the deadline by which theatre owners should have had their suspended plaster ceilings inspected by a specialist to ensure that they are safe. New guidance about this which was co-written with HSE following the collapse of the Apollo Theatre ceiling in 2013, can be found on the ABTT website at http://www.abtt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ABTT-Guidance-Note-20-19May2015.pdf.

If you have not managed to get your ceiling inspected within this period you are advised to contact your licensing authority (normally the appropriate Local Authority) to discuss how you can demonstrate that the ceiling is safe for an audience to sit beneath.

The hazards from suspended plaster ceilings are not limited to theatres or places of entertainment but will be present in any building with this type of construction. Those responsible for premises with suspended plaster ceilings are strongly advised to read the ABTT guidance referred to above.

 

 

Important update for all theatre owners

Who’s responsible for below ground drainage?

“Out of Sight and Out of Mind”

As at the 1st October 2011 new legislation came into force within England and Wales seeking to deal with the uncertainty and confusion previously arising as to the responsibility for repairing private sewers and lateral drains. The definition of a lateral drain is a drain located outside of your property boundary. The definition of a private sewer is a sewer on private land but serves more than one property. Whilst for many, such consideration may not be a frequent occurrence there is a long history of dispute and recrimination arising from this matter.

Many properties discharge waste water into private sewers via lateral drains that ultimately discharge into the “public” drainage system. Often the responsibility for repair and unblocking of such private sewers and lateral drains is not identified in the title deeds! In an effort to deal with this matter the 1936 Public Health Act, which came into force during October 1937 identified the party/parties responsible for the repair of private sewers. In essence, it being the responsibility for the owner/occupier of the property to undertake any necessary repairs and then seek to recover a proportion of the cost from those parties “upstream” who also have benefit of the private sewer. This situation often proved to be a “nightmare” with the party undertaking and meeting the cost of repair unable to recover monies from other owners/occupiers.

During 2001 there was a government review of the situation concerning the ownership and maintenance of such drainage; it having been identified that within England and Wales there is circa 200,000 kilometres of such private sewers and lateral drains! Hence consideration commenced as to whether or not there should be a transfer of ownership to water and sewerage companies. The protocol came into force on the 1st October 2011 with the ownership of private sewers and lateral drains being transferred to the 10 water and sewerage companies. These companies now have the responsibility to repair and unblock, and the cost of such work being included collectively in the annual water and sewerage charges.

The water and sewerage companies have no responsibility to maintain, repair or un-block any drains which serve a single property that lie within the boundary and therefore it is the condition of these drains which is of great importance, particularly if these drains lie beneath private highways or exit the building via a basement and are therefore at considerable depth.

In relation to premises that are leased on “full repairing” terms, the extent of the demise is normally defined by a plan that indicates the boundary of the premises with a red line within; which the tenant’s repairing covenant applies. If the repair/blockage is outside the tenant’s demise, but remains within the landlord’s property then it is likely the landlord will remain liable for the repair subject to a ‘service charge’ provision in the lease.

Despite some clarity now being provided we strongly recommend that at acquisition of freehold or leasehold property interests the drainage system in-situ is identified and surveyed.

This issue can still be a legal and practical minefield and we recommend professional advice is sought by landlords and tenants either when taking an interest in a property or when an issue arises.

“Out of Sight and out of Mind” – perhaps not?

Who’s responsible for below ground drainage?

RICS Charity Property Help

The RICS run the wonderful RICS Charity Property Help. This service offers to put charities in contact with

RICS regulated firms who are willing to offer pro bono advice.

We are proud to be registered with this service and encourage all charities to use it if they need property assistance.

If you are a charity and wish to use this service, all you need to do is register here:

http://www.rics.org/uk/about-rics/corporate-responsibility/register-your-charity-for-charity-property-help/

 

 

RICS Charity Property Help

The Dilapidations Pre-Action Protocol – the effects

Dilapidations – Have the goal posts moved or is it a new playing field?

The dilapidations landscape has changed with the adoption of the Property Litigation Association Protocol into the CPR.

The History

In 2000 the Property Litigation Association (PLA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) started the process of formulating a framework where inflated claims and drawn out negotiations would be reduced and litigation avoided. The first edition of the PLA Dilapidations Protocol was published in spring 2002 with a second edition in 2006 and a third in 2008. In spring 2009 the Civil Justice Council recommended that the Protocol be adopted as part of the Civil Procedure Rules; the Protocol was amended and the final edition was adopted as of 1st January 2012.

The Significance

It is a ‘Pre-Action Protocol’ so places Landlords at risk of cost sanctions if the Protocol is not adhered to.

The Landlord’s endorsement – the schedule should be endorsed by either the Landlord or, if prepared by the Landlord’s surveyor, by the surveyor. The endorsement will confirm that the works set out in the schedule are reasonable; that full account has been taken of the Landlord’s intentions for the property and the costings, if any, are reasonable.

The Tenant’s endorsement – the endorsement should confirm, in the opinion of the tenant or the tenant’s surveyor, that the works detailed in the response are reasonable; the costs set out in the response are reasonable and account has been taken of what the tenant or their surveyor reasonably believes to be the Landlord’s intentions.

Our Comment – So far so good – both sides have to be reasonable and there is potentially, should the matter get to court, a cost penalty for unreasonable behaviour.

The Quantified Demand (QD)

This effectively replaces the statement of claim and is much more significant. The QD will “set out clearly all aspects of the dispute, and set out and substantiate the monetary sum sought as damages……as well as any other items of loss for which damages are sought.” So all heads of claim will need to be included as will supporting evidence.

Valuation Evidence

Although the Protocol is clear that, prior to the issuing of proceedings, if either party is to rely on the argument of ‘diminution in the value of the reversion’, then a formal diminution valuation should be produced.

But, in clause 4.5 of the Protocol, there is a requirement that the figures set out in the QD should be restricted to the Landlord’s “likely loss. This is not necessarily the same as the cost of works to remedy the breaches.”
So, when preparing the QD, the surveyor will need to seek valuation advice as to diminution.
Our Comment – This raises the spectre of both additional cost and added complication; where previously negotiations would proceed on the basis of the common law loss, building surveyors will have to seek input from practitioners of the dark art of valuation. Generally speaking we take the view that claims under £100,000 do not warrant valuation advice.

The Protocol also sets out the timescales for various actions. The schedule should be served within a reasonable time, generally within 56 days of lease termination and the tenant should respond within a reasonable period, generally 56 days from the date the QD was sent.

Our Comment – The problem with prescribed periods is that dilapidations cases do not fall into the ‘one size fits all’ category. Where a large schedule is being prepared and there is a requirement for detailed costings, these will need to be based on detailed estimates and a schedule of works may need to be compiled and tendered. Similarly, where valuation issues need to be considered, valuation surveyors will have to consider all the evidence and respond in a timely fashion!

In Summary

In reality the pitch is the same as are the goals – if we are to continue the football analogy perhaps the rules have changed in an attempt to stop some of the ducking and diving. The changes brought about by the adoption of the Protocol are significant and should go some way towards reining in surveyors given to exaggeration. By the same token it offers opportunities for those so minded to use the Protocol as a weapon to either stall proceedings or run up additional costs. We should remember that the number of cases that come to court are minute and that the vast majority or dilapidations cases are dealt with by surveyors with minimal input from the legal fraternity and this is likely to continue.

What the Protocol does underline is the need for specialist advice, from surveyors who have an understanding of property law and legal procedures as well as in depth knowledge of building pathology.

The Dilapidations Pre-Action Protocol – the effects