Chartered Building Surveyor, Kevin Marling from Delaney Marling Partnerships highlighted the requirements for a condition survey at an industrial/warehouse property in Hull.

This steel portal framed building has had a number of historical uses, more recently a printing firm, caravan manufacturing and a go-karting business. It will possibly be used as a warehousing and manufacturing site for a local business which has grown significantly in Hull.

Append to the Lease

This survey is for the company which has new lease for the commercial building, that is ready to be signed to enable them to take the building over for a fixed lease period. The condition survey report that was prepared for the client will be appended to the lease and first, our team needed to establish the condition to record the current state of the building prior to the lease being signed. This process will establish its condition at the point when the lease was signed and limit the tenant's obligations at the end of the lease. The tenant will not be obligated to put the building back to any better condition that when the lease commences.

Stickers located around the inside of the property indicate that an asbestos survey has been undertaken by either the landlord or previous tenants as required by the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations (CAWR). These stickers indicate that the materials which line internal walls in part of the building have an asbestos content. The tenant has to be aware of these exact locations of asbestos to help control the risks and hazards it brings and the potential for release of fibres and contamination within the building. A management survey is required to understand the locations for this to take place.

The tenant was concerned that the roof panels also contained asbestos however, it was apparent that the roof liner panels are made up of plasterboard as the bowing affect can be seen clearly, whereas, asbestos is a tough material which doesn't bend or warp. An asbestos register as required under CAWR should have also confirmed this, but at the time of the survey this was not available.

When in good condition, asbestos should be left alone. The mere presence of asbestos in a home or a building is not hazardous, however, the danger is that asbestos materials may become damaged over time and may release asbestos fibres and become a health hazard.

As part of the occupation of the building, the tenant is required to provide an asbestos register and monitor the condition each year, and if carrying out remedial/refurbishment work, a more detailed refurbishment and demolition report is required.

This condition survey included a full inspection of the building, using a mechanical lifter to reach all areas of the roof for a defect analysis.

Floor Loading

As part of the survey, DMP needs to understand what the building will be used for by the client. Not all floor slabs within the existing buildings are capable of taking increased loading brought on by a new use. Historically, they could have been designed for storage and new heavier manufacturing machines may require a floor capable of increased dead and live loadings. We looked at the floor slabs and with experience in the area in similar buildings, we know there can be problems with the loading capability. The wrong slab design can lead to cracking and structural issues caused by eccentric loads and vibration from machines. Once machines are in place and the manufacturing process commences, remedial works can stop machines running and be very costly to a business.

Without establishing the floor construction using cores cut from the slabs, we've recommended to the client that spreading the machine loads using floor plates may prevent any problems in the future.