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Pre-acquisition Surveys

Updated: Feb 18, 2018

A commercial building survey is not only a detailed inspection of the structure and fabric of the property but offers advice on future maintenance and occupational requirements

A commercial building survey is not only a detailed inspection of the structure and fabric of the property but offers advice on future maintenance, lease conditions and in particular dilapidations liabilities and occupational concerns such as fire risks and health and safety matters.

Structure and fabric

When inspecting any property a good commercial building surveyor will consider the age and type of construction of the property to account for know associated defects with that era or construction method. These could be any issues; from carbonation affecting the concrete structure of a 1960’s office block or dry rot affecting the timbers of an Edwardian pub. A pre-acquisition survey is not merely limited to older buildings, as new buildings too can be fraught with issues. A good commercial building surveyor will consider plans and associated

handover documentation when considering the building.


It’s all well and good to know the immediate repair costs you face when purchasing a commercial property, however, if you are planning to hold the building for 5,10,20 years or longer it would be sensible to plan some proactive maintenance. This is particularly important if you are purchasing the freehold of a multi-let premises and thus take on responsibility for the service charge.

Knowing the potential maintenance costs you face will help you plan your expenditure for up to 20 years from the purchase date.

Lease Considerations

As part of undertaking a commercial building survey it is absolutely necessary to consider any lease obligations you may be taking on, both as a tenant and a landlord. While your solicitor should advise you on leasehold matters, your building surveyor will be able to assess any dilapidations or service charge liabilities and provide insight into potential dilapidations claims, service charge expenditure that either a landlord or a tenant could face.

Occupational Matters

Perhaps you are purchasing a leasehold, or taking out a long lease on a property. This creates an added pressure of maintaining the property to the standard expected under the lease. In doing so, you may be facing a rather costly heating system replacement that was unaccounted for, or perhaps a requirement to upgrade the facilities to meet DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) requirement for your specific business. We work closely with the client in considering their needs and how this may be affected by the existing facilities and any lease covenants or restrictions that may affect their investment.

Condition Surveys

For some commercial properties, a full-blown commercial building survey may be like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut! For instance, a single high street retail unit or a medium sized new build office block. For client’s that have few concerns but are still seeking a once over to ensure that there are no unidentified defects, we provide a commercial property condition report. This report contains all the relevant information on existing building defects and some advice on potential maintenance issues.

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