Jeremy’s Jottings

Did you know that every week on average 20 tradesman die from exposure to asbestos (source HSE). So, when you undertake work in your commercial property or instruct a contractor would you know is there a risk of exposure to asbestos?

Does the above matter? The answer is a definite yes and the reason for this is The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Regulation 4 places obligations on the dutyholder, if you are a tenant of commercial property and responsible for all repairs, if you are a landlord responsible for common areas, if an owner occupier it could be you. If you are unsure I strongly suggest you seek professional advice – it is only likely to take a few minutes.

The requirements on the dutyholder are practical and largely common sense – the HSE website has an excellent guide. I am going to highlight just one item the need for an Asbestos Management Plan. Its purpose is to identify the location of all known asbestos containing materials, their condition at the time of the inspection and provide a recommended course of action. This is to enable a decision to be made whether to retain, encapsulate or remove the material and monitor its condition over time. One of the benefits of such a plan is that you are able to pass a copy to your contractor before they begin work – reducing your risk and theirs. It goes without saying commissioning plans cost money but this is likely to be a relatively small sum compared with having to say seal off an area and arranging for it be de-contaminated. It should also help to reduce the statistic where I started.

Next jotting – looking to lease?

Jeremy’s jottings do not constitute advice on any specific matter. Lawson Commercial recommends you seek professional advice before taking action.  No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of the jottings.

More Shop Lettings at Heathfield

Following on the successful lettings of 31 High Street to a dance school and 106 High Street to Moon River, we have now let 70 High Street, on the corner with Streatfield Road, to financial sevices and mortgage broker Franklyn Brooks. They will be refitting the unit, which many years ago traded as the Portman Building Society, for their new financial services centre and will be opening shortly.

This highlights what a lively, successful market Heathfield is and we would welcome more premises to market there. We are hoping to have some premises in Station Road shortly so watch this space.

Retail Shop with Office Use in Crowborough

Highly visible premises have become available at 4 London Road, Crowborough, close to the junction of Crowborough Cross and opposite St Johns Road,  These premises, for many years, have traded as an estate agents office although more recent use has been retail. Thus they lends themselves very well for someone who wants to establish an office for accountancy, financial services or other office-type use or alternatively they make a very good shop having the benefit of a rear store room/office. The premises are competitively priced to find an early tenant at only £8,000 pa. So well worth considering.

Jeremy’s Jottings – Insurance

The Energy Act isn’t something to shortly appear with Ant and Dec on the X Factor but a little known piece of legislation.  The 2011 Act commits Government to introducing regulation on the energy efficiency of commercial and residential property in 2018.  You will have noticed I say the Act commits Government to introducing regulation ……. in 2018. The Act is skeletal in format and the indications are the Regulation, containing the detailed provisions, are likely to be made available early in 2015. Although we may have to wait another 12 months or so there have been leaks as to the Government’s intentions.

If you have sold, bought, granted a lease or leased a property since xxxxx you will be aware that prior to marketing a property (subject to some minor exceptions) a property must have an Energy Performance Certificate. If you haven’t seen one there are plenty of examples on the internet – in essence EPC’s assess the energy efficiency of a property and this is denoted by way of a rating of between A and G.  An A Rating being the most energy efficient at present.

So, where does the Energy Act fit into the above? Well, the indications are that from April 2018 it will be unlawful to sell or let a commercial or residential property with an Energy Performance Rating of G or F. The good news is that the indications are there may be a “get out of gaol card” but the bad news is this is likely to come at a price. It seems likely it will be lawful to sell or let a property with a G or F Rating providing all possible work under the Green Deal initiative has been undertaken.

It is not yet known who is to manage the Regulation.  Nor is it known if enforcement is to apply from day 1 or if there are to be a few years grace to bring property to a minimum standard. For those of you familiar with the process the EPC rating of a property can vary dependent upon the assessor.  How or if this is to be addressed in the future is also unknown. The only known at present is the introduction in 2018.  Assuming the Regulation is introduced this time next year this will leave just over three years to gear-up and comply, in real terms little time at all.

I am monitoring the topic closely and if you would like further information when this becomes available if you mail Jeremy@lawsoncommercial.co.uk just with a heading of Energy I will endeavour to make this available as soon as I know more at the time.  Your email address will not be passed / forwarded to anyone else or used for any other purpose

Next jotting – asbestos?

Jeremy’s jottings do not constitute advice on any specific matter.  Lawson Commercial recommends you seek professional advice before taking action.  No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of the jottings.

Spacious Double Fronted Shop in Uckfield High Street To Let

We have just been asked to market 216 High Street which offers really good window space and attractive, well decorated premises. Limelight, who currently occupy the premises, is going to continue to trade – just not from this High Street shop. The proprietor Jenny Baker will continue to look after all her usual customers and will be advising the new arrangements in due course. When therse arrangements are confirmaed further information will be available on the Limelight website www.limelightdanceandgym.com

This fine Grade II listed building was the subject of substantial refurbishment just a few years ago and the property has been maintained to a high standard. The shop offers excellent flexibility for an imaginative retail use and would also lend itself possibly to some form of catering outlet of which there are a number in this part of the High Street.

Uckfield’s Cheapest Shop/Office ?

Following a successful Christmas occupation of this little shop in Church Street, Uckfield for Christmas cards, it is now available again for a longer term occupation. It has to be one of the smallest and cheapest shops in the Town so if you are looking to start a small business in compact premises with an office and/or a retail use this could be for you.

The Landlords are prepared to consider an annual licence if necessary in case you are worried about growing out of the premises too quickly. However it is an ideal business startup location, highly visible and an excellent opportunity available at only £67 per week. It has got a very low rateable value so under the Small Business Rates provisions it is quite likely you won’t pay any business rates at all currently. So a great opportunity.

Jeremy’s Jottings

On yet another wet, windy evening with an alarm going-off and it sounds as though someone’s fence may be taking a battering Jeremy’s Jottings for January are on under-insurance.

Where the market leaders have linked insurance premiums for household policies to what a property is worth it is relatively easy to avoid under-insurance.  However, this is not the case with commercial property.

In summary under a commercial property policy the sum insured is related to the estimated cost of reconstruction. I say in summary as it is far from being that simple. For example the estimated cost of reconstructing a property in a Conservation Area or one which is Listed would be expected to be considerably higher than property elsewhere. Demolition, the cost of securing planning and building consent, the time it may take to re-construct, the property’s age, architect’s and other professional fees also need to be taken into account. I could go on as there are other variables.

If a commercial property is under-insured in the event of a claim there is the risk of “averaging”. The impact of this is dependent upon a number of factors including individual policy terms and conditions.  If a property is only insured for say75% of the estimated cost of reconstruction the consequence may be the insurer is only required to pay 75% of a claim. This could lead to a £125,000 shortfall on a property estimated to cost £500,000 to reconstruct

As a rule of thumb I work on the basis that a commercial property should be valued for reinstatement purposes every couple of years. So, if you are a landlord, tenant, investor, owner occupier, SIPP beneficiary or anyone else with an interest in commercial property do you know when it was last re-valued for reinstatement purposes. Do you know what cover the policy of insurance provides and when was this last market tested?  If your landlord insures but recovers the premium from you have you seen a copy of the policy and do you know if the over is adequate? Can you afford to take the risk of being under-insured or is it time to make further enquiries?

Jeremy Fry MRICS

Next jotting – the Energy Act and could it effect you?

Jeremy’s jottings do not constitute advice on any specific matter.  Lawson Commercial recommends you seek professional advice before taking action.  No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of the jottings.

Two New Small Industrial Units at Heathfield

A great start to 2014 with instructions to market the first small units to become available in Heaathfield for many years. Unit 3 on the Ghyll Road Industrial Estate has 1,145 sq ft on the ground floor and a demountable mezzanine of 476 sq ft. This is available on a new lease at £8,500 pa. Unit 4, which is also available, is a slightly different style of unit as it has a much larger mezzanine floor arranged as useful offices. It has a similar 1,145 sq ft on the ground floor but has 748 sq ft of very useable office space including a kitchen area. It is available at £9,500 pa,

Currently these two units intercommunicate at ground floor level so if you are looking for a larger unit you could have both together which would give you 2,290 sq ft on the ground floor and 1,224 sq ft at mezzanine level being part storage and part offices. This would be a total of just over 3,500 sq ft.

So great flexibility for the New Year.