Surveyed on xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Offices in Northamptonshire


Mr A Client

Prepared by:

GEM Associates Limited



0800 298 5424


visit our website:


Address: xxxxxxxxxxx Northamptonshire

Mr A Client
We have not seen a copy of the lease and we have therefore assumed the property has a full repairing and insuring covenant – or will have under the propose lease. We have assumed it is a standard lease with no unusual or onerous clauses. Your Legal Adviser should confirm this and advise us of any unusual or onerous clauses immediately.
With this survey we have taken approximately 140 photographs during the course of a Schedule of Condition. We reserve the right to produce these photographs as evidence of the condition of the property if so required at a future date.
Orientation: All directions are taken as if viewing the property from xxx Street.



Situation and Description
Summary of Construction
Report Format
Outside Areas


We have been asked to prepare a Pre-lease Survey and Wants of Repair on xxxxxx, Northamptonshire, for xxxxx Limited, represented by xxxxx for an E-Commerce business, who will require some office space and some storage.


This is a two storey property sitting on a sloping site consisting of a relatively new purpose built unit. To the rear there is an older property. From what we could ascertain the property is sub-divided and let to two companies, this being the third vacant area.

The property is situated in a predominately residential area on the xxx Street side, although there is some retail across the road. To the rear there are some commercial businesses, such as a garage in the adjoining property.



Main Roof: A mansard-style roof with felt to the top and slates
to the sides
Rainwater Goods: Boxed gutters (various linings) and plastic
Walls: Brickwork finished in a cavity bond (assumed)
External Joinery:
Timber double glazed windows


Ceilings: Plasterboard (assumed)
The perimeter walls are dry lined with a plasterboard finish; the internal walls being formed with studwork with a plasterboard finish (all assumed)
Ground and First Floor: These both felt solid and firm underfoot, we therefore assume it is a concrete construction. With this type of building it is likely to be a reinforced concrete slab


The property has a mains water supply and drainage along with two toilets with wash hand basins. Heating is from Vulcana 6 wall units.

The above is explained in full in the main body of the Report along with the technical terms used. We have used the term ‘assumed’ as we have not opened up the structure.


Ground Floor

  •   Access stairway to the first floor

First Floor

  •   Various different sized offices. Two large open plan spaces to the rear of the   property

Outside Areas

We believe there is a parking space to the rear (please remember we have not seen a copy of the deeds) with pedestrian access to the front and rear of the property.


The following photos are of the internal of the property to help you recall what it looked like and the general ambience (or lack of). We have not necessarily taken photographs of each and every room.

General view of one of the smaller offices
General view of the corridor
The larger storage area to the rear of the property and the doors leading out onto the rear access area.
The largest storage/open plan office area.


To help you understand our Report we utilise various techniques and different styles and types of text, these are as follows:-


This has been given in the survey where it is considered it will aid understanding of the issues, or be of interest. This is shown in “italics” for clarity.


Throughout the Report, we have endeavoured to define any technical terms used. This is shown in “Courier New” type face for clarity.


We utilise photographs to illustrate issues or features. In some hotographs a pencil has been used to highlight a specific area (with this property we have taken approximately one hundred photographs in total and we have enclosed a sample of these within the report).


Any reference to left or right is taken from the front of the property, including observations to the rear which you may not be able to physically see from the front of the property.


We have used the term ACTION REQUIRED where we believe that there are items that you should carry out action upon or negotiate upon prior to purchasing the property.

Where a problem is identified, we will do our best to offer a solution. However, with most building issues, there are usually many ways to resolve them dependent upon cost, time available and the length of time you wish the repair/replacement to last.


Summaries are dangerous as they try to précis often quite complex subjects into a few paragraphs. This is particularly so in a summary about someone’s future business premises, when we are trying to secondguess what their priorities are, so it is important the Report is read in full.

It is inevitable with a report on a building of this nature that some of the issues we have focussed in on you may dismiss as irrelevant and some of the areas that we have decided are part of the ‘character’ of this property you may think are very important. We have taken in the region of 140 photographs during the course of this survey and many pages of notes, so if a comment has not been discussed that you are interested in/concerned about, please phone and talk to us before you purchase the property (or indeed commit to purchasing the property), as we will more than likely have noted it and be able to comment upon it. If we have not we will happily go back.

Having said all of that, here are our comments:

Generally we found the property overall in below average condition, considering the property’s age, type and style, due manly to the roof issues and possible lease issues (please remember we have not seen a copy of the lease). However this is a sweeping statement so we would also, in addition, draw your attention to the following and also recommend that you read the report in full. We have divided the Executive Summary into three sections. The first area looks at the properties potential, next we have areas of concern and finally we have items that we feel are critical. We have divided the Executive Summary into ‘The Good’, ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly’, to help distinguish what in our mind are the main issues.

The Good

Survey reports often are full of only the faults and general ‘doom and gloom’, so we thought we would start with some positive comments on the property!

The property offers a variety of offices and storage facilities in reasonable condition and, due to the design of the building the partitions are easily moveable to change the size of the offices or storage areas. The unit is a good size for a starter business of this kind.

The Bad

Problems / issues raised in the ‘bad’ section are usually solvable, but often need negotiation upon. However, a large number of them may sometimes put us off the property.

1) Parking

From what we could see there is no designated parking area for your property, which will be a problem/bone of contention, particularly when you have members of staff. From our discussions with yourself you believed there is one car parking space. We would expect, with offices of this size, there to be more car parking spaces, indeed it probably was a requirement when the original planning permission was given.

ACTION REQUIRED: You should discuss with your Landlord how many parking spaces are available.

Please see the Access and Parking Section of this Report

2) Fire Requirements

Generally Leases have standard terms in them that require the building Lessee to comply with current Legislation. The building, in its current state, does not meet Fire Regulations.

Door Closers Missing to Fire Doors

We noted that some of the doors to the property are fire doors. These should have door closers on them that prevent the spread of fire. This photo shows a broken door closer, but in most cases they are missing. We also noted that there were no fire extinguishers throughout, although you do have some signage.

Shared Fire Exits

We believe there has to be some overall Fire Policy/fire protection system where a property is in multi occupation, such as this one. If a Fire Policy is not in place then problems can occur, for example a problem such as the padlocked shared exit to the front right hand side spiral fire escape.

ACTION REQUIRED: Before legal completion of the Lease contact a fire protection company and ask for a quotation to bring the property up to current Fire Regulations standards and also the cost of a regular maintenance contract.

ANTICIPATED COSTS: Quotations required, but in this instance we would expect costs to be in the region of a few thousand pounds, based upon what we have seen.

3) Services


The lighting that is present in theoffice areas is not to modern day standards. You currently have florescence strip lighting, as can be seen in this photo.

As owner occupiers you can make a decision with regard to how you wish to deal with this, however, when you have employees the requirements then fall under the Offices, Shops and Factories Act.

ACTION REQUIRED: In due course suitable lighting will be needed throughout the property. We suggest that you obtain a quotation from an NICEIC registered electrician.

ANTICIPATED COST: Quotations are required, but we believe in the region of £1,000 - £2,000.


We suggest that you box-in the exposed fuse board and associated electrics to give a half hour fire protection.

ACTION REQUIRED: Box-in using a half hour fire protection box.

ANTICIPATED COST: In the region of £200.

Please see the Services Section of this Report.

4) Spalling Concrete to the Underside of First Floor

The first floor is a reinforced concrete slab (from what we could see). We could see that this is spalling and deteriorating in areas, for example around the front fire exit.

If you look closely at this photo you will see that the concrete to the left hand side looks to have been repaired in the past and to the right hand side you can see the exposed reinforcement rod, which is not ideal, as it should be covered.

ACTION REQUIRED: Although under the Full Repairing and Insuring Lease this would be your responsibility we do feel you should draw it to the attention of the Landlord and get some sort of agreement to repair it.

ANTICIPATED COST: All costs should be met by the Landlord.

Please see the Flooring Section of this Report.

The Ugly

We normally put here things that we feel will be difficult to resolve and will need serious consideration.

5) Mansard Roof

The roof and roof drainage is via a flat roof that forms the top of the mansard roof and the mansard walls that also form the roof, which are clad in slates and then discharge into a box gutter where the water is taken away via downpipes.

Main Flat Roof

During the course of our inspection it was raining. We were therefore able to go onto the main roof and discover that there were large areas of ponding, which will lead to accelerated deterioration. We noted areas where the asphalt has started to deteriorate and/or has had previous bitumen repairs.

There is what we consider to be bad design detailing to the perimeter of the flat roof (or possibly this has been amended by the people that last did the roof). A few particularly bad areas need amendments to stop water discharging in these areas. In this photo you can see the staining that is occurring due to this poor detail.

This is a close up photo of the deterioration to the perimeter of the flat roof.

A product known as Flashband (trade name) has been used to repair the edge details of the slates. This is not ideal, as Flashband is generally considered to be a temporary fixing material.

Although this is the only area of repair that we could see to the parapet wall, it does show that there must have been problems or no-one would have taken the trouble to carry out the repair work otherwise.

This photo shows the roof over the left hand stairwell. We believe that dampness is getting in around the cement fillet on this parapet wall.

Please see the next item for our ACTION REQUIRED comments.

Box Gutters

We are particularly concerned about the poor quality detailing to the box gutters to the property as a whole. Any leak would cause fairly rapid deterioration and would be costly.

In this photo you can see the box gutter to the right hand side of the property (all directions given as you face the property) looking towards the front of the property. You can see that water sits in the box gutter, even when it is not raining and also that the asphalt is deteriorating if you look on the of the box gutter.

ACTION REQUIRED: All of the issues with regard to the flat roof need to be addressed. We can see two options on this, either completely re-roof the property with a high performance felt and insulation cut to falls, appropriate lead flashing detailing, completely removing any flat areas and weak areas on the flat roof and in addition to this any liability with association to the box gutters needs removing.

Alternatively the liability with regard to the roofs and the box gutters should be removed completely from the Lease.

6) Who Owns What?

By this we mean who is responsible for what repairs. For example if the box gutter that is above the gym, although it is adjacent to your storage area and above the ground floor offices, leaks, who pays for the repair? Will it be a shared cost or is it the cost of the gym that it actually sits over.

This is a photo of the box gutter alongside the gym that we are discussing above. Here you can see that water is sitting in it and winter has only just begun.

This is just one example of many we could give.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your Legal Advisor needs a clear understanding of who is responsible for what with regard to the roofs and to fully explain this to you.


The Summary Upon Reflection is a second summary so to speak, which is carried out when we are doing the second or third draft a few days after the initial survey when we have had time to reflect upon our thoughts on the property. We would add the following in this instance:

We feel very strongly that the roof issues are an unacceptable risk to take in this instance, particularly if, as indicated by another occupier, they are entirely your responsibility.

Even a substantial rent free period would not entice us to take this property on without some form of agreement with regard to the roofs.

We would ask that you read the Report and contact us on any issues that you require further clarification on.

If so wish when you want to do the roof work we can prepare specifications and obtain quotations for the work, whatever you do don’t allow the agents to organise the quotes as he will utilise people he regularly uses who know they have to keep in with him/her to get further work and therefore are very keen to please the estate agent, as opposed to you the real client and at the end of the day it doesn’t take long to organise.


Just a few more comments about the Report format before you read the actual main body of the Report.


We have assumed that the property is to be sold Freehold or Long leasehold, with no unusual or onerous clauses and that vacant possession will be available on completion. Your Legal Advisor should confirm that this is the case.


It is important to remember that the estate agents are acting for the seller (usually known as the vendor) and not the purchaser and are therefore eager to sell the property (no sale – no fee!). We as your employed Independent Chartered Surveyor represent your interests only.


To carry out your legal work you can use a solicitor or a legal advisor. We have used both terms within the report.


This report is being carried out under our terms of engagement for Residential Building Surveys, as agreed to and signed by yourselves. If you have not seen and signed a copy of our terms of engagement please phone immediately.


Our aim is for you to be completely happy with the service we provide, and we will try and help you in whatever way possible with your house purchase - just phone us.



1. Roofs

Please see our comments in the Executive Summary.

2. Box Gutters and Downpipes

Please see our comments in the Executive Summary.

3. Walls

The walls are made up in part of the slates to the mansard roof and in part of the brickwork section.


The slates look in reasonable condition, although some are missing.

ACTION REQUIRED: Repair will be needed in due course. This should form part of the works to the roof.


We noted some staining to the rear walls. This is due to the poor roof detail above, which needs amending to resolve this problem.

We are also concerned about the single

skin brickwork detail to the top of the box gutters, which we think may allow dampness into the property. Indeed there looks to be some minor spalling to the brickwork in this photo.

ACTION REQUIRED: The roof detailing needs amending. Please see our comments in the Roof Section in the Executive Summary.

4. External Joinery

The property has timber double glazed windows that open by way of a pivot action. We opened a random selection of these and they opened reasonably well. Although the windows look similar they actually differ in the way that they have been finished.

We would draw your attention to the problem with redecorating these windows. You will need scaffolding and/or approval to access some of the other roofs, for example the Gym Roof. It is fairly standard for a redecoration clause to form part of a Lease.

ACTION REQUIRED: You should negotiate this clause out of the lease.


5. Ceilings, Walls and Partitions

We believe the ceilings to be plasterboard. There is a small stain to the stairwell, which we believe is due to the lack of lead flashing above. Please see our comments in the Executive Summary.

The dividing walls are hollow to tap. We therefore believe they are studwork and can be removed. We believe this property is what is known as portal frame and therefore allows an open plan layout.

6. Floors

The floor is solid and firm underfoot, therefore we assume it is concrete. Please see our comments in the Executive Summary regarding the spalling concrete around the front fire exit.

7. Internal Joinery

Maintenance is required to the doors. Please see our comments in the Executive Summary with regard to the addition of door closers.

8. Internal Decorations

The property looked to have been recently redecorated throughout.

9. Thermal Efficiency

We believe that this roof has a fairly thin construction without any insulation. Therefore, when heating the property the heat will pass through it rather than being retained. Please see our comments within the Executive Summary where we have recommended that insulation is added to the flat roof. We would add that without this you will get heat gain during the summer and heat loss in the winter.

10. Services

Electrics and Gas

Please see our comments in the Executive Summary.

Plumbing and Heating

The taps have been run for approximately an hour with no build up or blockage in that time.

The heating has not been turned on and therefore we cannot comment on it.

11. Sanitary Fittings

The sanitary fittings have suffered from day to day use without any cleaning or repair work. However, they are what we would term as ‘saveable’.



12. Access and Parking

We would reiterate that you should establish exactly how you can access the property and also whether you do have parking to the rear of the property. We do not think the gym owner will be pleased if you park in front of his main entrance.

13. Main Drains

No manholes or inspection chambers were found within the curtilage of the property.

14. Boundaries

As we have not seen the lease it is difficult to advise about the boundaries of this property. Our main concern when we walked the boundary is that there is a wall to the rear right hand side that is in a poor state of repair. You really do not want this included in the lease. We think it is unlikely to be your responsibility but we have mentioned it just in case.

For and on Behalf of

GEM Associates Limited
Chartered Surveyors

This Report is dated: xxxxxxxxxxx

Our limitations are set out in our Terms of Engagement, we would remind you specifically that:

We have carried out a visual inspection only, therefore elements of the structure that were covered, unexposed or inaccessible during our survey cannot be confirmed as being free from defect, structural or otherwise. We have however made our best assumptions based upon our knowledge of this type of construction.

We have carried out a visual inspection and have not undertaken material tests to determined whether any hazardous materials have been used in the construction such as high alumina cement, asbestos etc. We have however carried out a visual inspection and where we believe these materials may have been used have done our best to identify them.

Our report is for the sole use of the party to whom it is addressed to on the cover of this report. No responsibility is accepted under the Third Parties Act for any third parties who use this report in whole or in part without written consent from GEM ASSOCIATES LIMITED.
Limitations Continued:

We have only carried out a visual inspection of the services and have not undertaken comprehensive testing of any services. We therefore cannot confirm that they are operational, but again we have made our best assumptions based upon our visual inspection. We can arrange tests if you so wish.

We are Chartered Building Surveyors and Engineers and we have carried out the report without the aid of specialists or specialist reports, for example an environmental report or an audit report upon the property. We are therefore unable to advise whether any contaminated or other adverse environmental issues affect the site.

This Pre-lease Survey and Wants of Repair has been prepared by GEM Associates Ltd in xxxxxx. The inspection was carried out on xxxxxx. This report does not constitute a Structural Survey (now known as a Building Survey).