Commercial Property Surveys

You may seek advice on the condition of a commercial property, such as an industrial unit, shop or office, if you are interested in occupation or buy-to-let.


If you're considering renting or buying a commercial property, like a unit, shop or office it's a good idea to seek advice on its condition. 

A Commercial Building Survey can provide insight into the property costs and necessary repairs in the future. It can also help you negotiate a purchase price by suggesting improvements tailored to your needs.

Given the complexities involved it's crucial to consult with a solicitor who specialises in leases. Their expertise will be invaluable in reviewing and negotiating lease terms 

During this process the surveyor plays a role by assessing the condition of the building identifying issues that may arise during the lease term and offering advice on possible alterations or improvements. This information is essential for lease negotiations as it helps with planning and minimising liabilities. Feel free to reach out to us if you need assistance with organising commercial surveying work.

Frequently asked questions

What does a commercial surveyor do?

They are involved in assessing the condition and/or ascertaining the value of commercial land and buildings, often rental properties (e.g. shops, offices, depots and warehouses). A landlord or tenant can instruct one just as a buyer or seller may do.

What other commercial reports could I get?

They are involved in assessing the condition and/or ascertaining the value of commercial land and buildings, often rental properties (e.g. shops, offices, depots and warehouses). A landlord or tenant can instruct one just as a buyer or seller may do.

What are the different types of commercial survey offered?

You may require a full overview of the property condition and maintenance requirements, for which a Commercial Building Survey is suitable. This details defects and the remedial action required. Commentary on other elements, such as services, hazardous materials, etc. is also included.

If advice is needed on an individual issue, such as a roofing defect, you may consider commissioning a Specific Defect Report.

If only a list of defects is required, then a commercial Schedule of Condition is sufficient. This does not include the expansive information and detailed advice from a Commercial Building Survey.

If there is a claim for damages, then a Schedule of Dilapidations is best. This tells you what repairs a tenant needs to action or pay for. Depending on the lease terms, landlords may seek to make a dilapidations claim at the end of the lease. This claim can cover items of disrepair or unauthorized alteration, including issues that may have existed before the lease was taken. Dilapidations claims can result in substantial financial obligations for tenants.

How exactly can I use a commercial building survey?

Your circumstances are relevant to the commercial survey, such as whether the report is to be tailored to existing ownership, freehold purchase (with tenant in situ), a new lease or lease assignment, etc. You can the use the report to negotiate favourable terms for a purchase or lease agreement including:

  • requesting the exclusion of specific elements of repair and maintenance from your lease obligations;
  • asking that certain repairs be undertaken by the landlord before finalizing the lease agreement;
  • accepting liability for necessary works but negotiating for a rent-free period to offset the associated costs.

By leveraging the insights gained from a thorough Commercial Building Survey, you can strategically navigate lease negotiations, ensuring that terms align with your needs and mitigating potential financial and maintenance liabilities.

What is the difference between a building survey and a schedule of condition?

Unlike a Commercial Building Survey, a Schedule of Condition is not a detailed diagnostic report on defects, remedial works, and future maintenance issues. Instead, it is a written tabulated list outlining the defects of the building, element by element, area by area, and accompanied by photographs. It presents the building's condition in areas relevant to the tenancy and at the time that the lease was initiated.

For landlords who have invested in preparing a property for lease, a Commercial Schedule of Condition becomes a valuable tool to justify and resolve dilapidations claims at the lease's end. This can streamline the process, potentially saving time and money in resolving alleged disrepair issues and avoiding drawn-out legal proceedings.

What lease terms should I explore?

Many clients, particularly those looking for a place for their organisation or business, often consider the possibility of entering into a lease for a specific duration. 

This involves negotiating the terms of a lease with the landlord. However, in some cases it may be possible to assume an existing lease by negotiating with the tenant and acquiring their lease. This is known as assignment.

Commercial lease terms can vary greatly particularly when it comes to determining who is responsible for building maintenance and repairs. Both landlords and tenants should involve both a surveyor and solicitor in the process.

What different responsibilities are there between a freeholder and leaseholder?

If you're considering investing in a property you should understand the obligations of the current tenant under the existing lease. It's important to be aware if they might have difficulty fulfilling their lease obligations as this could affect your ability to rent out the property.

When entering into a commercial lease agreement it's essential to have an understanding of the extent to which the property is leased and what responsibilities both the landlord and tenant have. This may include maintaining and ensuring that the property remains in adequate condition. Ideally a commercial surveyor would review the lease agreement. Assess what indirect liabilities you would have (such as service charges) based on the extent of your leased property by getting in touch with our team.