Energy Performance Certificates or EPC is a mandatory requirement whenever a property is sold or let. This is true regardless of whether the property is a new or existing property or whether it is commercial or residential.
Different assessments are required depending on whether the property is commercial or residential and a further, more involved assessment is required for newly built or newly converted premises.
Graham Kinnear Property Consultant are expert in the the field of Energy Performance Certificates having undertaken over 10,000 surveys on every property type from studio flats to farmhouses, shops, offices, trade counters and even a bottling plant.
The EPC records the energy efficiency of a property, providing a rating of the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a building on a scale from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is very inefficient.
The report can only be undertaken by an approved accredited surveyor. We hold accreditations with Quidos, Elmhurst, ECMK and Stroma and can provide your reports via our Accreditation accounts or through your own Corporate Accounts.
EPCs are produced using standard methods about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type. This allows prospective buyers, tenants, owners, and occupiers to see and compare information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from a building, so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment decision.
For dwellings, two ratings are shown, the current rating and the potential rating. The actual energy-efficiency rating is a measure of a dwelling’s overall efficiency. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the dwelling is, the lower the associated carbon emissions are and the lower fuel bills are likely to be.
The energy efficiency rating is based on the performance of the building itself and its services such as heating and lighting. The certificate also lists the potential rating indicating what can be achieved if the recommendations were implemented.
The EPC is generally valid for a period of 10 years. You can check whether your property has a valid EPC and when any current certificate expires by clicking on the following links:
Following recent legislation, in the event that you are wishing to rent out a property, you should be aware that you will require your EPC score to be a Band E or higher. Further details of this requirement are discussed in the video below or alternatively you can read some of our blog posts
We accept instructions from private individuals, estate/letting agents, property companies, auction houses, solicitors and a number of the nationwide panel firms. Discounts are offered for multiple or regular instructions.
Residential EPCs £50 plus VAT,
Commercial EPCs start at £180 plus VAT,
New Build (SAP) Assessments £175 plus VAT
There are a variety of reasons why property is sometimes vacant. It may be you are selling or letting your property, perhaps awaiting the grant of probate, or perhaps waiting on a planning decision or for building works to commence.
We provide a management service to private owners, insurance companies, asset managers, insolvency practitioners and LPA receivers whereby we can inspect and monitor vacant premises to ensure security and comply with any insurance conditions.
Our service can include the initial securing of the premises by way of lock change, services disconnection, water drain down and the securing of entry points and letterboxes. Beyond this we can undertake routine visits and provide a full report of our findings and recommendations.
Depending on your requirements we can also arrange for routine cleaning and gardening services.
Periodic roof and ground inspections are also available via pole camera or Drone if required.Contact Us
Legionella Risk Assessments are now a mandatory requirement for those who rent out property. We undertake Legionella Risk Assessments throughout the South East for domestic premises as part of the landlords compliance. In addition to the initial risk assessment we can provide on going management and/or regular review assessments.
The Approved Code of Practice L8 provides that Landlords must have a legionella risk assessment undertaken of their rental property and to ensure that this assessment is regularly monitored to control and where possible reduce any risks which may exist. You can download a copy of the Government L8 Guidance here: hse-acop-l8-legionnaires-disease-the control-of-legionella-in-water-systems
The report that we undertake looks at the water system at the property and its fittings and makes comment and recommendations in terms of how any risks can be managed.
In addition to the initial inspection we are able to undertake the ongoing monitoring should you wish.
Why do we have to have a risk assessment now when we have not needed one previously?
The law has changed in that previously a risk assessment for legionella was only required if the system had a capacity of 300 litres or more of water. That minimum amount has been reduced to zero litres and therefore there is now a requirement to risk assess residential properties.
The landlord has no water tank as water comes from the mains so does he still need an assessment?
Yes. There may be other factors within your system that increase the risks of legionellosis, eg deadlegs, showerheads and/or long runs of pipe work containing warm water. A risk assessment should also consider anyone who could be potentially exposed to any legionella bacteria in your system, and particularly groups that are at a higher risk of contracting legionellosis. However, once you have completed your risk assessment you may decide that the risks are insignificant. If you do, you need take no further action other than to review the assessment regularly in case anything changes in your system
Why is this down the landlord and not the water board?
The water board are not responsible for the water once it enters the property. The obligation for the risk assessment and ongoing monitoring lies with the landlord of the property.
How often does this have to be done?
There should be an initial risk assessment and there should then be a monitoring programme in place. Most of the reports suggest that a monitoring visit should take place every 24 months however if the water system is particularly complex or there are concerns regarding the standard of the system then more frequent monitoring could be recommended.
What is involved with the risk assessment?
The surveyor will look at the water system in the property, the pipework, any tanks, heaters and cylinders and take temperature readings at each water outlet. This information will then form the basis of the report that will be provided to you.
What happens if I don’t have a risk assessment done?
Technically you would be in breach of the legislative process. Certainly in the event of an outbreak of legionnaires disease in one of your properties you could be in a difficult situation in the event that you had not undertaken a risk assessment and therefore made efforts to control/reduce any risk that existed.
How long does the survey take?
For a standard residential dwelling the survey will take around 45 minutes.
What recommendations may the survey make?
Safeguards may involve disinfecting water systems, cleaning shower heads, servicing air conditioning units, removing or stagnant water pools and water tanks from systems, insulating pipework, and keeping water cisterns properly covered and free of debris.
Does the law apply to flats and HMOs or just houses?
All property let for residential purposes should have a risk assessment undertaken.Contact Us
Looking for a Party Wall Surveyor? Party Wall work is a distinct strand of Building Surveying and here at Graham Kinnear Property Consultant we help Owners and Neighbours throughout England and Wales to deal with Party Wall matters. Graham Kinnear is a fellow of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, Member of the Pyramus & Thisbe Club Fellow of the Institute of Party Wall Surveyors.
The following video gives a very brief over view of the Party Wall Surveyor process and when it applies.
The Party Wall Etc Act 1996 came into force on 1st July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales. It does not apply in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
A Party Wall is defined as a wall which forms part of a building and stands on lands belonging to different owners, or so much of a wall as separates buildings belonging to different owners.
The purpose of the Party Wall Etc Act is to provide a robust framework in which issues relating to party wall maters can be resolved without the need to resort to potentially expensive legal action between neighbours. It is also a mechanism where a Surveyor can authorise an Owner to undertake works which would otherwise be unlawful at common law. In addition to the permissions it gives to those wishing to undertake building works, it provides protection and safeguards to those who live adjacent or near to such developments.
In short the Act sets out precisely what can be done when building works are proposed that may have an effect on an Adjoining owner.
The types of work which are covered by the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 include the following:
The 1996 Act is in some senses a rather complex piece of legislation and therefore we offer a free, no obligation review of plans and drawings in order that we can advise you and /or your Architect whether the Act applies to your proposed development or indeed whether you are likely to be affected by a development proposed by your neighbour. If you have any questions at all then please get in touch!
So how does the process work?
In simple terms a Party Wall divides the buildings of two owners with the boundary between the two properties, usually, but not always, positioned at the centre of the wall. If an owner plans to undertake works which directly affect a party wall they must write to their neighbour explaining what it is they propose to do and when they are planning to start. We can help you with the notices you may need to send if you are looking to undertake work to your property.
So if I don’t share a wall with my neighbour the work won’t be covered by the Party Wall Act?
Many owners are surprised to learn that the Act actually covers two other specific types of work (that’s why the “etc” bit is in the title!); new walls (but not fences) built at or astride the boundary and excavation (ie digging for foundations) close to an adjoining owners structure.
For excavation to be notifiable under the Act it must be within 3 metres of a neighbouring structure, increasing to six metres for deep excavation and deeper than the foundations to that structure.
What will my neighbour do once they receive the Notice?
If they are relaxed about the work and the affect that it may have on their property then they can simply confirm their consent in writing. However if they are concerned it is recommended that they seek professional advice from a Party Wall Surveyor before replying to the notice. They can, at any time, dissent to the notices and appoint a surveyor to help address their concerns. If they do not reply to the notice within 14 days then they will be deemed to have dissented and be “in dispute” with yourself, the building owner.
Dispute sounds serious?
Dispute is simply the term used in the Act when an adjoining owner does not consent. It doesn’t mean that you cannot remain friends with your neighbour or that you cannot undertake the proposed work; it just means that the Act’s dispute resolution procedures are triggered and the owners are obliged to appoint a party wall surveyor.
To do what?
The appointed surveyors will review the plans, assess the risk to the adjoining property and agree what must be done to reduce that risk. They will also ensure that the building owner carries out their work in a manner that limits the inconvenience to the adjoining owner.
Who can act as a Surveyor?
Other than the owners themselves, pretty much anyone, although as there are important construction issues to be agreed it would clearly be helpful if they had a relevant qualification and were familiar with party wall procedures. That will normally mean appointing a surveyor who is a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and or the Pyramus & Thisbe Club. If you need a Party Wall Surveyor in Kent then we hope our firm will be your first choice!
So how much will this cost?
In all normal circumstances, the building owner pays the surveyors fees; which is only fair given that it is them benefitting from the building work. Our costs for the drafting and service of all the required notices under the Party Wall Etc Act are £150.00 plus VAT.
What happens if my neighbours property gets damaged?
The Legislation can either allow the building owners contractor to make good any damage to the neighbours property or request a payment in lieu in order that they can employ their own contractor. If there is a dispute over the cause or extent of damage you can use the Act’s dispute resolution procedures. If there is an award produced, it will include a record of your property before the work commences.
What if I start the works without adhering to the Party Wall Etc Act?
If you start your project without adhering to the Party Wall Etc Act then in essence the notifiable aspects of your project would be unlawful and your neighbour would be potentially entitled to apply for an injunction forcing you to stop your project. Furthermore in the event of a dispute with your neighbour you would have to resort to the potentially expensive route of civil litigation as the protections offered by the Party Wall Etc Act would not be in play given that Party Wall Notices were never served.
So just remind me again where the rules apply….. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
I still have more questions….Contact Us
Project Management is one of our key services at Graham Kinnear Property Consultant. We are proud to have brought many derelict buildings back to life as well as successfully overseen the construction of new buildings from the ground up. If you are contemplating a development in the Kent area then we would be delighted to hear from you. We provide a project management service which can operate from the start of the development to the finish, or at any point inbetween. Regrettably we are currently only able to accept instructions in the Kent area. This is due to the fact that our project management service is very intensive and requires frequent site visits. We are therefore only able to act to the standard that we want to, in our immediate locality.
We aim to ensure that the project is completed to the required standard, compliant and delivered to the Client both on time and on budget. Our service will save you stress and time and should save you money that an over-run on time or overspend on budget would otherwise incur.
The services that we can undertake can include any or all of the following:
Costing of Development
Selection and appointment of Contractors
Negotiation on Price/Rates
Drawing up and signature of contract with Builders
Dealing with Party Wall or other pre development compliance issues
Undertaking a Health and Safety Review and required Risk Assessments
Arrangement of site security
Liaison with Building Control or Approved Inspector
Weekly progress meetings either on site or by photo/video/skype
Dealing with Utility Providers
Snagging and Handover
Negotiation and release of retentions
Additionally we can provide post completion works including
Building Regulation Sign Off
Energy Performance Certificates/ SAP Assessments
Fire Risk Assessments
Installation Certificates for Gas & Electric supplies and installations
Fire Sprinkler System commissioning certificate
We genuinely believe that we will, in all likelihood, save you far more money than we ever charge you as well as removing an enormous amount of stress and headache that self managing a project can often bring.
Get in touch for a no obligation informal discussion about your plans and let us explain how we feel we can help. Our fees are bespoke to your project. They will depend on the size of the project and the level of involvement that you require.
Bank / Funding Monitoring
We also accept appointments from Banks and lending institutions to monitor development sites where funding is being provided. This role, more commonly known as bank fund monitoring, involves our undertaking an initial survey following which our team will monitor the development on an ongoing basis.
A typical instruction will mean that we provide a report confirming:
The report we produce will highlight any shortfalls or areas of concern that need to be addressed or amended.
During the construction phase every time the developer needs to draw down funds, we carry out a thorough site visit to ensure the stated works have been completed to the required standard and, that being the case, we advise the bank or lending intuition that they can release further funds for the next phase of the project.
In essence we are the eyes and ears of the project in a very similar way that we provide project management to private Clients.
Property Dispute Resolution allows property owners to resolve property disagreements, hopefully without the need to resort to expensive litigation. We provide a Dispute Resolution service in relation to a number of property situations, most notably Boundary Disputes, Rights of Way, Easements and Contractors workmanship. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
A Boundary dispute is, in simple terms, an ownership disagreement between two or more neighbouring property owners. The land registry records the details of the majority of land and property in the UK and provides a title plan which shows the approximate boundary position on an Ordanance Survey Map. This information is not detailed enough in many boundary disputes and the services of a Surveyor are often required.
The red line drawn around a property on the Land Registry plan only shows the general boundary. It does not identify whether the boundary runs along the centre of a hedge or along one side of it. These maps are often unreliable because they do not mark exact property boundaries. A line surrounding the property may not be the property boundary.
Boundary positions change over time for many reasons: a diverted water course, or a wooden fence that moves slightly every time it is replaced. The reason for such changes is rarely recorded and often leads to disputes.
To resolve a Boundary Dispute, we look at the available Land Registry documents as well as aerial photography records, old maps, deeds and photographs. We also obtain information from a visit to the site in question.
Upon the conclusion of our inspection and research we provide a detailed map showing the correct position of the boundaries and this will enable you to have informed discussions with your neighbour to resolve your differences. We can host those discussions for you should you wish.
If your boundary dispute has to be determined by a Court then we can provide an Expert Witness report, compliant with the Civil Procedure Rules which can assist in the litigation process.
Alternatively, even if you are not in dispute with a neighbour and just require confirmation of the boundary position, then we would be delighted to assist you.
We do however ask that you approach this process with an open mind and a desire to resolve matters. In the words of LJ Mummery in the case of Wilkinson v Farmer “Everybody agrees that, if at all possible, disagreements between neighbours about rights of way, boundaries or whatever should be settled without ever going near a Court. In my view, professional advisers have a duty to warn their clients at an early stage about the downside of neighbour litigation.” We sound this warning before we are even appointed by including it here on our website!
Private Rights of Way and Easements relate to an individuals right to use or benefit from the land of another person as well as that owners obligation to allow the use of their land. A common example would be a right of way over neighbouring gardens to the rear of a row of terraced properties.
A private right of way is a legal right established by usage or by grant and they are a common area where neighbouring owners can end up in dispute.
Following a site visit and research of all available data, we provide a report which details the existence of any rights of way and easements and which will seek to assist in resolving a dispute between the parties.
In the event that the dispute needs to be resolved via the Courts, we can provide a report, compliant with the Civil Procedure Rules, to assist in the litigation process.
Again we require all potential Clients to approach these matters with a view of resolving matters without the need to revert to Court. In the case of Bradford & Anor v Keith James and Ors Lord Justice Mummery further commented “There are too many calamitous neighbour disputes in the courts. Greater use should be made of the services of local mediators. An attempt at mediation should be made right at the beginning of the dispute and certainly well before things turn nasty and become expensive. Costs become an additional aggravating issue. Almost by its own momentum, the case that cried out for compromise moves onwards and upwards to a conclusion that is disastrous for one of the parties, possibly for both”
Contractors workmanship is sometimes subject to dispute and we can provide an objective, informed and inpartial opinion in terms of the methods of construction and materials used as well as the quality of the work undertaken.
Whether the issue relates to small construction works, a conversion project or a newly constructed dwelling, we can assist.
We undertake an initial site survey and consider the works against any brief given together with legislative requirements and current codes of practice. Our aim is to bring a satisfactory resolution without the need to resort to expensive and potentially protracted litigation.Contact Us
We can provide a detailed schedule of works which provides a comprehensive insight to the works required to your property. This is generally required in three scenarios:
1) if you are planning maintenance or repair to a block of apartments that you are responsible for, either as Landlord, Managing Agent or Right to Manage Company.
2) If you are a landlord of commercial premises and need to provide your outgoing tenant with a schedule of works prior to the end of their lease or
3) If you want to provide a comprehensive specification in order to procure tenders and quotes for works which you wish to undertake on your property.
A schedule of works in respect of a block of flats is covered by Section 20 of the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act. It is intended to protect leaseholders from paying unnecessarily large sums for work carried out to their buildings. In essence it conveys that a leasees contribution to the works will be heavily restricted in the event that the landlord fails to follow a strict consultation process.
Section 20 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 sets out a three-stage process which must be followed by landlords or indeed their managing agents where appointed, if carrying out works to a building where the contribution from any one lessee will be in excess of £250, or in respect of a qualifying long-term agreement where the contribution from any one leaseholder may exceed £100 in a single year.
Accordingly, prior to the service of Notice, most landlords will appoint a surveying firm such as ourselves to undertake a schedule of required works in order that they can have an understanding of the nature and extent of the works required.
In respect of commercial leases, particularly those which are of a full repairing nature, there is normally a clause which requires the tenant to put the property into repair prior to the end of the lease. Obtaining a schedule of works from a firm such as ourselves provides landlord and tenant with a clear, impartial schedule of the works which are required to be undertaken and will therefore often avoid or resolve any dispute between the parties.
For those simply wishing to undertake works to their property either by way of refurbishment or general repair, a schedule of works enables contractors to more accurately price the work and more accurately determine the timescale which the works will take. In addition, by detailing the works required there is less likelihood that there will be a dispute with the Builders in respect of works which should have been undertaken.
Please contact us with your requirements on 01843 583000 or [email protected] and we can provide you with a competitive fixed fee for producing a schedule for your project.Contact Us