Energy Performance Certificates

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 6,000 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:

Domestic EPC Register          Commercial EPC Register

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.

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

 

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Fire Risk Assessments

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

The current regime of fire safety legislation came into force in October 2006 and affects  those who are considered  responsible for non-domestic, industrial, commercial and residential premises.

The Regulatory Reform Order consolidated a number of pieces of  fire safety legislation and provides for a risk-based approach to fire safety, allowing more effective enforcement by the fire service and other statutory bodies.fire risk assessments kent

Central to this legislation is the need for a ‘responsible person’ for each property who must  ensure a fire risk assessment is carried out by a competent person.  This risk assessment needs to be subject to regular review.

Completing a fire risk assessment is therefore the first step to making your premises safer from fire and is a requirement by law.

The aim of a  fire risk assessment is to have a robust and methodical look at your premises, the activities carried out in those premises and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the premises.

The report we produce will be a pictorial and written precis of any significant findings and will make mention of any remedial measures which  may need to be taken in order that the premises can be considered safe.

Fire Risk Assessments are mandatory for property owners who have residential premises with communal hallways. In addition fire risk assessments are required for all commercial premises. In addition to the increasing legislation surrounding fire safety is the common law duty of care which requires property owners to ensure that certain fire prevention measures are in place and operational.

fire risk assessment east kentAs members of the Institute of Fire Safety Managers we are experienced in appraising property for fire safety.

We can provide a review of drawings to assess their compliance with fire safety or alternatively we can physically inspect existing premises and provide a report on fire safety.

Most commonly we are engaged to  provide Fire Risk Assessments for the communal area of flats to assist landlords and letting agents in complying with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

The inspection involves assessing the risks which exist and how to effectively manage these. Amongst other things we examine the type of occupier, escape routes, method of construction and whether these require improvement or alteration to reduce risk. We also look at any existing fire prevention measures or installations and make a judgement in terms of whether these are satisfactory.

As well as the initial fire risk assessment survey we can also provide reinspections and annual reviews.

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Vacant Property Management

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.

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Legionella Risk Assessments

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?

legionella risk assessment kentThe 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.

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Party Wall Surveyor

Looking for a Party Wall Surveyor in Kent? Party Wall work is a distinct strand of Building Surveying and here at Graham Kinnear Property Consultant we help Owners and Neighbours throughout Kent and the South East 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 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.

Party Wall in Kent

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:

  1. Building on or over a boundary position which is not currently built upon.
  2. Undertaking works to a shared wall
  3. Excavating ground within 6 metres of an adjoining structure or property

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.

House in Kent with exposed party wall

How Close?

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 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 surveyors.

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!

Party wall Thanet with new wall on line of junction

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.

Visible party wall on terrace house.

So just remind me again where the rules apply….. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. If you are excavating for foundations within 3 metres of any part of your neighbours property then you must serve a party wall notice.
  2. If you are building on or astride the boundary you share with your neighbour then you must serve a party wall notice.
  3. If you are going to undertake any works to a wall that you share with your neighbour then you must serve a party all notice.

I still have more questions….

Then please contact us on 0844 414 8659 or 01843 583000 or by email at [email protected]

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Project Management

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. Construction Management KentWe 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

Site Management

Construction Management

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.Project Management, Construction management

A typical instruction will mean that we provide a report confirming:

  • all statutory consents are in place – Planning, Listed Building Consent, Building Regulations Approval and Party Wall
  • we assess the reasonableness of the  projected build costs
  • we review the  Construction Drawings for compliance.
  • we ensure the Programme of proposed works  is suitable and reasonable
  • we ensure the correct insurance is in place and remains so throughout the project
  • we ensure that the correct contracts are in place. This is normally a JCT contract.
  • we ensure that CDM Health & Safety regulations are in place and complied with
  • we assess whether the appointed contractors are capable of carrying out the construction project in the time allowed.

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.

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Thermographic Surveys, Specific Defect Surveys

Thermographic Surveys can be very helpful in dealing with specific defects within buildings such as defective underfloor heating, leaking concealed pipes, heat loss,  damp, faulty electrical systems and the like. In short the thermal image makes the invisible, visible.

The inspection is not intrusive and therefore can be used to avoid the need for expensive or unsightly exploratory works.

We can undertake a report using a Thermal Imaging Camera and include the images obtained within our written report.

Thermal imaging as part of a thermographic survey can identify heat loss in a building, the escape of water, the identification of cold bridging as well as identifying defects in heating systems, particularly those located underfloor.

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Drone Surveys

Drone Surveys have become increasingly common in the surveying profession as a cost effective means of inspecting areas which would otherwise be inaccessible or require a scaffold to facilitate manual inspection. By undertaking the inspection via Drone there is a reduced cost and reduced health and safety issues as no one will need to use a scaffold.

drone survey kentYou should be aware that any firm offerinmg commercial Drone services must be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, carry the appropriate insurance and have passed both a practical and theory test. The drone pilots at Graham Kinnear Property Consultant all carry appropriate permissions and are authorised for daylight flying.

In addition to building inspections, drone surveys are now established as a valuable approach to  surveying. Not only do they eliminate manual ‘at-height’ working issues, they can also greatly reduce risk and improve safety outcomes.

Our Drones can be deployed faster than a scaffold can be erected and therefore allow property owners to investigate defects using high quality photo and video.

Residential Premises:

Our residential survey work with Drones is principally in respect of roof inspection. We can provide a thorough inspection of the roof, gulleys, gutters, soffits, flashings and roof coverings. Being Building Surveyors we can interpret this data and provide you with a report detailing any areas of concern which require either immediate repair or should be considered as part of a routine maintenance plan.

As well as receiving instructions from property owners, we also accept instructions from Insurance Companies and Loss Adjusting firms who require footage following fire, flood or storm damage.

Commercial & Other Premises:

We undertake inspections of commercial premises as part of a routine maintenance inspection or to identify issues which require remedial works. Given the quality of the images that we obtain, we can make thorough inspections of rooftop Solar Photovoltaic panels, HVAC systems and air conditioning systems. Such inspections can identify problems before they become serious or are sometimes required as part of a manufacturers warranty requirements.

In addition to Commercial Premises we also undertake drone surveys of ecclesiastical buildings which often require defect analysis and recommendations in respect of leadwork, belltowers (and the bells themselves) rainwater goods and the like.

Marketing and Promotion:

Aside from survey work we are often engaged to produce aerial photography and video footage for marketing purposes and some of these commissions have seen us work outside the property sphere.

In addition to providing roof inspections, routine maintenance inspections and other surveying solutions we have even been instructed to undertake drone surveys following roof repairs so that the Customer can ensure the work they have paid for has actually been done!

Our drones are able to record  video footage which can provide an aerial view which was only previously available from a plane or helicopter.

Whether you need an inspection for defect identification, routine maintenance inspection or footage for marketing purposes then please get in touch. Drone services  start at just £200 plus VAT.

Special fee arrangements are provided for those who require an annual inspection contract for multiple premises. 

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Property Dispute Resolution

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.

Boundary Disputes:

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.

Resolving a Boundary Dispute:

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.

Boundary Dispute Kent, Property Dispute resolution

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.

Private Rights of Way / Easements:

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.

Boundary Dispute Kent, Property Dispute resolution

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.

Contractors Workmanship:

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.

Boundary Dispute Kent, Property Dispute resolution

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.

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