At BWP we never lose sight of the importance of achieving the balance of real-world advice and delivering accurate and quick information to help drive transactions or projects forwards. We provide a full range of survey services where our focus is always to give genuine and realistic guidance, so that our clients are always provided with a strategy to overcome issues that arise.
We are able to inspect and report on pretty much every type of building, be it an ancient church or historic palace, an office, retail space, shopping centre or warehouse. Our reports can encompass whole buildings and their grounds, or be concentrated on a specific defect or building element that may be of concern. Our focus is always to give genuine and realistic guidance, clearly highlighting any issues that may impact on an investment value.
Inspecting building defects is one of the core roles of the chartered building surveyor. Collectively, we have in excess of 60 years experience of investigating, diagnosing and reporting on building defects to a wide range of building types from period listed buildings to the most contemporary construction. By using a consistent approach supported with the latest technologies and survey techniques, remediation strategies can be established, reported and if required implemented to a successful conclusion with minimal disruption to owners / occupiers.
We use our expertise on construction methods and materials, along with an up to date knowledge of current failures, to:
- Carry out site inspections and appraisals
- Identify and analyse any defects
- Provide in depth and analytical advice
- Specify, tender and oversee implementation of sympathetic and cost effective repairs.
We also use the latest technology where applicable to assist in the diagnosis and rectification of defects.
Schedules of Condition
Usually prepared in the context of a lease or neighbouring construction project, a schedule of condition will seek to record a property’s condition at a given date in order to protect a party’s position in the event of actual or claimed further deterioration or damage.
Having encountered instances where schedules fall short, we can bring practical experience and foresight into ensuring a schedule is suitably complete and detailed to perform its intended purpose.
The most common use is in conjunction with leasehold agreements where it is used to record the condition of a building at commencement of the term.
Often, tenants are held liable for defects and removal of alterations which existed at commencement of the lease, and the preparation of such a schedule can help to protect their position by ensuring that they are not expected to return the building back to a condition any better than that detailed in the schedule. In turn, this dilutes any future dilapidation liability and unnecessary cost exposure.
Another common use of the Schedule of Condition is prior to construction or refurbishment work commencing, where it can assist in resolving any disputes that may arise in the future in relation to damage or deterioration which may have resulted from such works. This can be prepared for the building being constructed or refurbished, as well as neighbouring properties, and can help save time, avoid disputes and reduce costs for all contracting and other third parties.
BWP prepare high quality reports in an efficient and professional manner, which can be tailored to suit the needs of individual clients.
Acquisition and Disposal Surveys
Our extensive in-house experience and resources equip us with the skills required to understand and interpret a client’s needs across a portfolio acquisition.
We have the technical skills needed to inspect, assess, evaluate and report upon the condition of a portfolio and give the details & budgets required for investment decisions to be made. This is achieved through our team’s combined depth of construction knowledge on the quality of design and workmanship, materials and their performance capabilities and likely future maintenance requirements and what cost recovery options might be available.
Reinstatement Cost Assessments
BWP appreciate that your property is a valuable asset and understand the importance of accurately advising on rebuild costs should the unthinkable happen. Whilst BWP realise the consequences of under insuring property, we also appreciate that over-insuring will likely lead to excess premium costs. We understand the importance of achieving a balance of real-world advice and work with clients, their insurance brokers and loss adjusters to ensure their properties are appropriately covered.
We are experienced in ‘Day One Declared’ values and requirements for ‘Indemnity’ based insurance, as well as the more popular ‘Reinstatement’ insurance policies.
We use specialist online costing index software which uses the most accurate and up-to-date construction data available, benchmarked against a whole host of properties in the UK. These metrics are further reinforced by our experienced cost management team and the data they maintain.
An understanding of traditional materials and methods of construction means we can propose innovative ideas for a wide range of projects, balancing the requirements for a wide variety of uses and buildings whilst preserving our built heritage for future generations.
A building can be designated for its aesthetic, evidential and communal value as well as its historical value. They can be graded at Grade II, Grade II* and Grade I which is the highest.
Work to a listed building requires legal consent, and as such, BWP can liaise with Conservation Officers and submit Listed Building Consent applications to gain the authorisation needed to complete your desired outcome.
Even if unlisted, tradition and older properties require professionals experienced in repairing, and conserving, historic buildings.
Expert Witness Services
BWP has benefited many clients involved in legal challenges through its Expert Witness service.
Our reports can cover a wide range of property related disputes:
- Construction quality and cost matters
- Complex service charge disputes
- Service charge allocation advice
- Party wall matters
- Boundary disputes
- Negligence cases.
BWP has supported submissions to many alternative dispute resolutions, including mediation and arbitration, presenting a strong case to achieve the best outcome. We are also experienced at presenting material in court.
However, we can offer you much more than expertise in building surveying. With decades of experience in this field, we can provide a comprehensive knowledge of relevant legislation, an understanding of the legal system, as well as benefiting from established links with major legal practices and specialist barristers’ chambers.
BWP has assisted in many cases in relation to submissions to alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration. In such cases the presentation of a strong case to the arbitrator can help in achieving a more favourable outcome.
It is our experience that practical and pragmatic advice to clients and their other professional advisors often leads to a more prompt and economic solution where, of course, the outcome of Court proceedings can never be certain. Our thorough understanding of the law and our expertise in building surveying makes BWP very well placed to help.
Licence for Alterations
A Licence for Alterations is a legal document, identifying and recording tenant obligations when adapting leasehold property including reinstatement obligations at lease expiry.
When acting for tenants applying for licences, we manage the collation and submission of relevant documents and drawings and develop agreement schedules and specifications for the works.
We provide life-cycle advice to tenants to enable them to fully consider and understand the implications of their proposals, both at implementation and at lease expiry when reinstatement may be required by the landlord
When acting on behalf of landlords, BWP review tenants’ proposed works to ensure that your tenure is not negatively affected. We also check that all statutory implications have been considered, including the effect on a property’s EPC rating. BWP will also consider the practical aspects of tenants’ alterations, on which we can advise if needed.
With unparalleled understanding of the construction process and landlord and tenant relationships, BWP takes a practical approach to reducing risks and enhancing opportunities. Furthermore, we can ensure that all statutory consents are acknowledged, warranties provided for, variations documented and works carried out to the highest standard.
Licence issues often create disputes between the landlord and tenant, but we significantly reduce the scope for dispute with our established expertise in dilapidation matters, combined with our legal knowledge.
Service Charge Issues
Leases commonly provide for both obligations and rights in the provision of operational standards and the maintenance of common areas and services. Landlords wish to protect value across the lifecycle of the asset whilst minimising unrecovered expenditure, whilst tenants are concerned with the utility value of the interest and certainty and control of their exposure to expenditure – these objectives can lead to tension and conflict.
We can review and advise on the legitimacy, timing and extent of the expenditure, from the perspective of landlords and tenants.
Dispute Avoidance & Resolution
Occasionally, issues arise with building projects, dilapidations claims, service charge or neighbourly matters – negotiations can stall or be abandoned and disputes arise. These can be time consuming, uncertain and costly to pursue. We are familiar in advising within the frameworks of litigation and arbitration, and in acting within the increasingly popular methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as mediation and expert determination.
We assist clients in objectively assessing their positions and we have a good track record in helping our clients and their teams narrow the issues and to prosecute or defend claims within realistic commercial parameters, revitalising negotiations where possible.
If a property is not maintained it will deteriorate, its value as an asset will reduce and the probability of sudden unexpected expenditure will increase.
We can help you maximise the life expectancy of your property asset by drawing together a planned preventative maintenance programme. This will assist building owners and/or their managing agents to better control life cycle costs, easing peaks and troughs in expenditure and showing potential purchasers or occupiers that you take a proactive approach to asset maintenance.
We routinely prepare planned preventative maintenance (PPM) schedules identifying key maintenance needs and statutory compliance issues. Each schedule is tailored to suit your specific reporting needs and tailored to suit budgets or service charge provisions. We have prepared PPMs on property portfolios as well as individual buildings for a wide range of clients including local authorities, asset managers, owner occupiers and investment funds.
We also have the complementary expertise to specify, tender and administer maintenance or enhancement works.
BWP has adopted a proactive approach to sustainable development. We understand what’s needed on the journey to improve the most efficient use of resources including staff, travel, water and energy.
However we recognise that our main impact on the community and future generations is through the building and development projects we design and manage for our clients.
Therefore, we have adopted procedures to assist our clients in realising key environmental objectives such as:
- Minimising any negative environmental or social impact of a project through careful development of the design
- Ensuring the appropriate selection of materials
- Promoting effective waste management of every project.
Unless a client instructs otherwise, BWP’s normal default is to work towards achieving a minimum BREEAM rating of Very Good for newbuild projects, or a Ska Silver rating for office refurbishment and fit out projects.
In addition, our design team members ensure that all products and materials are obtained from the BRE’s Guide to Specification and all specifications will include requirement for a waste management plan.
We consider these practical measures to enable BWP and its clients to produce environmentally friendly and energy efficient buildings.
Our people have the relevant commercial experience and enjoy working on and analysing buildings on both a strategic and detailed level. Through our cross sector experience, we understand buildings and enjoy surveying the whole spectrum of buildings from Elizabethan manor houses through to modern shopping centres and industrial warehouses.
Because we work in a commercial world, we understand the importance of achieving the balance of robust technical advice and meeting tight timescales, to help drive client transactions forwards. BWP have developed a successful track-record in helping achieve our clients’ objectives which we can bring to your transactions.
We aim to develop and maintain a positive, proactive attitude towards improving health and safety within the construction process, applying a reasoned interpretation of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and other related Health and Safety legislation as appropriate to the type, complexity and circumstances of any given project.
Depending on the nature of instruction, BWP is nearly always able to offer not only the scope of services as required to satisfy the role of a CDM Principal Designer (PD) under the 2015 regulations, but if required also provide tailored construction health and safety advice including reporting on the working practices of other duty holders.
Where instructed as a PD, we will plan, manage and monitor the pre-construction phase to ensure that the project is carried out without risks to the health or safety of the principal contractor, end user and future demolisher. We proactively assist the client with understanding and implementing their duties; disseminate available pre-construction information; assist the principal contractor in the construction phase; and prepare and/or update the Health and Safety file.
We also have an excellent understanding of CDM, with our senior team having many years’ experience as designers, CDM Coordinators and more recently, Principal Designers. We employ an Incorporated Member of the Association of Project Safety (IMaPS) and take health and safety awareness very seriously here at BWP, including the enrolment of all our surveyors on the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) as Professionally Qualified Persons.
Party Wall & Neighbourly Matters
The design, planning and execution of construction work on or near boundaries will involve considerations of property rights and procedures – most commonly under the Party Wall etc Act 1996 which, when properly applied, provides a framework to facilitate development whilst protecting the interests of both developer and neighbour.
We are experienced in assessing projects and in applying the Act to them for developers and neighbours. We can also assist with related matters such as construction access, including crane oversail and scaffold licences and Rights of Light.
Boundary Disputes arise when two different parties, usually property owners, have a disagreement on the location/position of the ‘true’ boundary line.
As property ownership changes hands over the years or when sites are redeveloped, the boundaries can often be moved, diverted or adjusted.
If you are already or are becoming involved in a boundary dispute, we can provide you with appropriate advice and support throughout the process.
There is a great deal of misinformation regarding how the position of a boundary is determined. Some boundary lines marked on small-scale maps are shown for identification only. While the legal boundary line will always be indicated on the Land Registry Title Plan, this may not physically correlate with the features on the ground. Expert advice is usually required to determine precisely where the legal boundary truly lies.
Our specialists can confirm the actual boundary position by undertaking topographical surveys, reviewing and assessing all available historical and current plans, deeds and other physical and historical evidence in order to produce a Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) 35 compliant report.
It is always helped that both parties can agree to the findings of this report. But when no agreement can be reached, the case will likely end up going to tribunal or court, where a judge will rule on the location of the boundary resulting in the extent of each party’s land being clearly defined.
Our qualified experts possess a range of technical expertise and procedural experience that often leads to a more prompt and economic solution or agreement compared with the outcome of Court proceedings where the results can never be certain. Our thorough understanding of legislation and our expertise in boundary disputes makes BWP well placed to support where boundary disputes occur.