IHBC CPD boost: Mainstream commercial property values, for BPTs and other heritage property bodies, via DBW

In times of economic uncertainty, selling a commercial property can be more difficult and the summary and tips via Designing Buildings Wiki (DBW) – the construction industry knowledge base and host platform for the IHBC’s own Conservation Wiki – may help owners attract a good price.

image: for illustration purposes only – Seán O’Reilly

Trident Building Consultancy (TBC) writes, via (DBW):

More space, more value

The value of commercial property is essentially a multiplier of its lettable floor space: the greater the usable space, the greater the value. Not everyone can – or should – take on complicated extension projects prior to a sale, but there are ways in which you can maximise lettable square footage. A basic consultation with a surveyor can help identify opportunities for more efficient uses – changes such as reducing the floor area in a reception to create an additional office, adding mezzanine floors to double-height areas or creating skylights to make use of the top floor.

  • The appeal of flexibility

Open-plan office layouts are increasingly popular. Removing internal walls to allow tenants to create workspaces, break-out spaces and communal areas is a cost-effective strategy. With an increase in remote working and hot-desking policies, spatial flexibility is a top priority for businesses.

  • Demonstrate demand

Vacant properties can give the impression that a building lacks appeal, and so voids are a deterrent. Consider renegotiating existing leases, attracting new tenants (even encouraging short-term tenants such as ‘pop-ups’) to create a vibrant atmosphere. A building consultancy can give advice on lease renewal, whether the requirement is to terminate all leases upon sale, or to maintain tenancies in a seamless way.

  • Present a building fit for the twenty-first century

Nothing is harder to sell than an outdated, tired property that conjures up fears of asbestos, damp and wiring failures. Improved heating, lighting, super-fast Internet access and wi-fi can modernise a building, both in appearance and function, and provide a competitive edge.

  • Make a strong first impression

Just as purchasers must be attracted into the building, they will also need to attract staff and customers. If an owner wants to invest in any one area of a building, it is the reception that matters. Up-to-date fixtures, natural light and well-functioning doors can provide a welcoming environment without being a huge investment. Pay attention to the external appearance, ensuring the building is well maintained and easy to access. With a little more – but worthwhile – investment it may be worth considering changing external planting and lighting, introducing new cladding or new windows. A single feature such as a fountain, green wall or sculpture can give a building a unique appeal. An effective landscaping strategy can influence whether people choose to enter a building: a water feature creates a sense of tranquillity and can reduce traffic noise, while attractive outside seating can enable employees to benefit from fresh air during breaks.

  • Bring the outside in

Experts say that connection between the outdoors and indoors boosts productivity, increases satisfaction and lowers operating costs. Consider adding ‘green’ walls (a wall partially or completely covered with greenery), using natural colours and materials, and maximising natural light. Biophilic design delivers in a way that can be immediately

appreciated by a building’s users.

  • Capture quality in a name

Giving a property a name can be quick, inexpensive and immediate. A name should provide character, and identify its purpose and position in the market.

  • Signage

Whether a thorough re-brand or simply a freshen-up, new signage pays dividends. Signage will be visible on all marketing materials and will influence the impression of anyone entering the building. Consider the wide range of sign styles, materials, sizes and placements that will be necessary throughout the building and its surroundings.

  • Create a property that stands out from the competition

When determining how to re-position your property, consider which changes will make it uniquely appealing: if a prospective owner is convinced that the building is of the right calibre and does not exist elsewhere, you have a sale.

  • Invest wisely

Finally, do not overspend. If necessary, seek advice from a cost consultant before committing to substantial investment. Every change should create more value than it costs.

About this article

This article was provided by Trident Building Consultancy (TBC) in December 2019.

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