All posts by thepracticalsurveyor

A practising Chartered Building Surveyor and Chartered Building Engineer in the North West of England. A dilapidations expert.

Health and Safety- Turkish Style

A  few pictures taken in Altinkum Turkey 2008. Made me very nervous as I watched from my villa balcony.
Email me your johnny foreign holiday snaps of heath and safety bloopers and I will post them for a laugh .
OK I'll just slap it on .......
OK I’ll just slap it on …….
Its all a question of balance.
Its all a question of balance.
Walking the plank!!
Walking the plank!!

WOW (words of wisdom)

Do not be a plasterer in Turkey.

Dilapidations Lancashire .Practise safe sex? Well practise safe leasing! (Avoiding dilapidations claim.)

Dilapidations,dilapidations claim,dilapidations schedule

Sexual health self-assessment

Ok ladies and gentlemen take this short test to find out whether your sex life is putting your health at risk. How much do you really know about safe sex practices?

What ?I thought this was about surveying !!!

I apologise for the hook but I have your attention and the analogy is true. 

Lease and wealth self-assessment for the tenant.

Take this short test to find out whether your lease is putting your wealth at risk. How much do you really know about safe leasing  practices?

1.OK you have just lined up a hot sexy date. ( Found some attractive premises to rent)

1. Have you any idea what the risks are and just what nasty STDs you can catch? (Have you any idea what your lease requires you to do in respect of repairs, decorations and reinstatement. )

2. Did anyone explain to you just exactly what you might be exposing yourself to?

3. Ok you are just about to jump into bed ( sign a lease)with a complete stranger the mistress or toyboy( The Landlord).You think this is going to be free of liabilities once the coupling is done( lease term). Are you sure you are not going to catch something nasty and unexpected as a result? A LTD! (Lease Transmitted Disaster)

4.The mistress or toyboy (Landlord) can be very seductive and entice you into that bed with all sorts of charming and alluring behaviour and promises ( rent free period )

5. Bang the deed is done. The lease is signed.( less than 30 seconds)You have had unprotected exposure. ( You have signed to the lease and you are contractually bound by seemingly innocuous clauses in a bewildering legal document). Have you done this?

6.The LTD might not show for years but when it does it was all because you engaged in  fumbled hurried unprotected leasing. Don’t you just feel stupid? (Your wealth is going to be seriously affected.)

OK.  STOP NOW!! Do not become another victim of ignorance. Practise safe leasing and take precautions.

As an expert dilapidations surveyor I have worked for some of  the largest and most successful businesses and commercial property managers in the NorthWest. ( Iotech Group Ltd,  Stax plc,  James Hall & Co Spar Stores).

I have acted for the same and many similar businesses where they are Tenants of commercial properties. Leading NorthWest Solicitor practices regularly refer their clients to me.

I have provided expert defence to end of long lease claims against Tenants of up to £1.3 million ( subsequently agreed in the case 0f the £1.3m claim at £650000.)

I have undertaken  dilapidations surveys on behalf of my clients for the past two decades. I understand exactly where Tenants can be most vulnerable to claims at the end of a lease.

I am by experience both a poacher ( for Tenant) and a game keeper.( for Landlord)

If you have neglected to deal with you repair and decorations liabilities, unfortunately the only defence you have available to you at the end of a lease is to engage an  Dilapidations Expert like me and hope that the landlord is not going to be too agressive . ( Hopefully the Landlord has also engaged an  inexperienced dilapidations  surveyor to act for it if you are lucky)

This is damage limitation only: far better not to have put yourself in that situation in the first place.

OK .What is involved in practising safe leasing?

  1. Employ the best specialist Commercial Property Lawyer you can afford( I mean seriously experienced and not the sadly all to often generalist solicitor regurgitating or cut and pasting old leases-come on guys who really gives credibility to  ‘ye shall whitewash distemper  marble and paint’)
  2. Employ the best specialist Dilapidations Building Surveyor you can afford to carry out a pre-lease inspection of the premises and prepare a comprehensive Ingoing Tenant’s Schedule of Condition.This will be in written photographic ( including elevated birds eye ) and increasingly HD Video format and preferably a combination of all three. ( It is if I carry it out.)
  3. Ask your Dilapidations Surveyor to give you an executive summary and advice as to just what are the major issues as to current repair and decorative liabilities and liabilities to be addressed  at lease end.
  4. Negotiate with the Landlord for the Landlord to correct existing defects or give rent free period monetary equivalent for you to keep ( and to put) and the premises in good tenantable repair. But do not then forget to sort matters out.
  5. Or if the Landlord will nor put hand in pocket to repair ( despite possible healthy cash injection from previous sucker tenant) seek to agree to limit your liabilities to repair and surrender the premises at end of lease in no better or worse condition than an agreed attached Ingoing Tenant’s Schedule of Condition. (And it better be very comprehensive! The landlord can seek to attack you with the ferocity of a rabid pitbull.)
  6. Maintain  repair and decorate during the lease term and certainly well before lease end. It far cheaper for you to commission these works. If you have altered the premises or added to the same without landlord’s consent reinstate the premises. Why give yourself a problem and the Landlord a chance to go for that handy cash injection?
  7. Engage a Dilapidations Surveyor to examine the lease and check over the premises and see where you might be exposed to claims for repairs and decorations and plan backwards from date of the end of the lease and implement a programme of remedial works.

I am an Expert Dilapidations Surveyor with over 25 years experience.  If you need help contact me.

I have recently provided safe leasing precautions by preparing a comprehensive schedule of condition of the whole of a multi-hectare site with significant and complex industrial buildings. ( Multiple written schedules, 8 CDRoms of Photos and 2 hours HD  DVD Video).

No LTDs for that Tenant!!! ( provided of course they reasonably maintain and decorate to prevent deterioration from recorded condition)

WOW (words of wisdom)

Simple isn’t it?

The prescription:  Take sensible precautions and enjoy safe leasing to your heart’s content.



When things go wrong-house owners and builders be aware

I am often called in to provide advice and help when things have gone badly wrong. For example domestic building projects are a constant rich source of dispute between house owners and their builders.

You would be surprised just how much money people are prepared to handover to a builder on the basis of no written contract, scant drawings and little or no specification.The  same is true of builders who are prepared to start all manner of works committing serious amounts of time and materials without proper agreements and  contractual paperwork.

Naivity is often evident of both parties. The House owner assumes all builders are fine upstanding fellows or lasses and who know what they are doing and are honest trustworthy and can be simply allowed to get on with the job with no contract: a act of blind faith which is not very often in my experience justified.

On the opposite side there are some good builders who share similar faith in House owners to be reasonable honest people and who will pay on time. Wrong. There are sadly lying coniving and downright untrustworthy houseowners out there who seek to instruct all manner of works, get all sort of extras done and then refuse to pay. The grounds for none payment …’oh the works are rubbish or I expected something else’

Litigation is expensive. Solicitors and Lawyers ( and other experts and I include surveyors) can make a nice living  sorting out these disputes. But why get youselves into such a mess?

What to do? Take professional advice. Engage a building professional to prepare a decent set of drawings and written specification. Draw up a simple contract and include in it everything each party expects the other to do ie name the parties to the contract; describe the works and refer to drawings and any written specification-ie what is to be included and what is not included?; make time the essence ie when are the works to be finished by? Agree the cost of the works .Is this a fixed total sum or can it be varied by some agreed method of valuing changes omissions and additions. Agree a method of resolving any dispute by referral to 3rd party mediator.Agree for works to inspected by 3rd party expert before final payment.

There are some very good published short plain english Small Domestic Works contracts which you can buy or even download for free. Just make a Google enquiry.

What about professional input. People often consider that paying for professional advice is a waste of money. But if you as a House owner have no knowledge of building how can you be sure the works are up to standard and warrant payment? At the very least have the finished works inspected by an expert before you part with those monies. He or she will draw up a list of defects  (‘snags’) and these can then be put right by your builder. Do not assume the Building Control Officer will provide you with any supervisory imput. This is not their job and whilest the majority are helpful they are only interested in Statutory matters of compliance. Sometimes Builders never contact them or not as frequently as they should for staged inspections and they works simply trundle on with little or no 3rd party scrutiny.

Research and enquiry as to competence of selected builder. (Get 3 references from previous satisfied customers) : commission proper drawings and specification; draw up or complete a published contract or written agreement; take professional advice and have periodic and final inspections.- the recipe for avoiding costly building disputes.

Cowboy builders usually run a million miles from any form of written contract or agreement!!

Builders heed my advice and ensure you act similarly to protect your interests to regulate your agreement with the House owner. An independent inspection can protect you as well from bogus claims of poor work and excuse for none payment.

I have got several such cases on at the moment. They all wish they had contacted me at the outset. Shame really

A free downloadable contract can be had from:

If you are in dispute and need help you can contact me.

On matter of Terminal Dilapidations Claim ( Landlord’s handy cash injection). Avoiding Dilapidations Claim

Reviewed an overstated Landlord’s claim today for terminal dilapidations (wants of repair and decoration) at end of commercial lease on industrial premises. My client ,the former tenant, is naturally worried by the staggering amount claimed. ( A third the capital value of the premises)

Moral of tale 

1.Take professional advice from experienced Building Surveyor before Lease on the condition of premises and  by commissioning and attaching a schedule of condition  to the Lease. 

Limit liability to yield up  the premises in no better or worse condition than evidenced by the Schedule

Too late you didn’t do this?

2. Put your house ( or rather the premises ) in order whilest you are still in occupation. Listen to your Surveyor and act on his advice with regard to reducing your potential exposure to eye watering claim

Too late you didn’t do this?

3. Come and see me and I will see what I can do to reduce the scope and amount of claim ,but be prepared to contribute to your former landlord’s bank balance to greater extent than would have been necessary.

Next time do not be a fool and blind to your potential liabilities.

Obtain the best solicitor’s and surveyor’s advice and guidance you can afford before signing that Lease.

I think in the current case I can help and negotiate the claim down. There are certainly some aspects of the claim not covered by the lease covenants and others are clearly overstated and exaggerated.

WOW( words of wisdom)

As you know prevention is always better than a cure.

A begining…….

Welcome to my blog. I am a practising Chartered Building Surveyor here in the North West of England (Preston)

I hope over time to give the benefit of some of my experiences and advice on a whole range of matters relating to the built environment ( buildings and stuff) whether you are home  or business owner. We all need buildings to shelter us and house our activities. Occasionally we  need advice and guidance  whether its when we are thinking of buying or renting somewhere to live or carry on our business . Sometimes things go wrong with our buildings and we need to know what to do.

I have  spent over 30 years variously inspecting ,surveying ,probing and reporting on all types of buildings and giving advice. I have been there, seen it ,done it and got the t-shirt. I am aways learning and there are still surprises.

Some entries will be factual ,some anecdotal and some of passing interest and even vaguely amusing.

Surveying students may occasionally find the content useful and learn things text books or your lecturers will never tell you.

The ice is broken. I have jumped in. I think therefore I blog.