Listed courtyard offices receive 21st century surveys

June 13, 2019

Three listed buildings at the Cams Estate in Fareham have been surveyed to enable reletting.

Historic office buildings at a thriving business campus in south Hampshire are being surveyed by property consultancy Vail Williams LLP following a hat-trick of instructions.

The firm’s building surveying team for the Solent region have prepared terminal schedules of dilapidations and project-managed works to enable reletting at Cams Estate, Fareham.

Private investors requested that Vail Williams take the lead on the listed buildings of West Farm House, The Granary and Main Barn. They are located on a courtyard at the picturesque 220-acre business park on the edge of Fareham Creek.

All three period properties, with historic associations with the late 17th Century Cams Hall mansion, a few hundred metres away, have been vacated by commercial tenants. This provided the opportunity to sensitively upgrade the interior of West Farm House in conjunction with dilapidations works, following a building inspection to identify tenant dilapidations liability.

Rachael McCabe, a building surveyor at Vail Williams, pictured above, said: “West Farm House, The Granary and Main Barn each have a unique charm because of their age and are sought after as offices. We have been instructed by various private investors to oversee the dilapidations process.

“When dealing with historic properties it is necessary to be aware of each building’s individuality and to handle same sensitively whilst dovetailing with latest regulations relating to fire safety, disabled access, energy efficiency and conservation. Talking generally, the UK’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), now in its second year, means commercial premises old and new cannot be leased unless they meet the minimum Energy Performance Certificate of E or above – compliance is everything.

“Our client for West Farm House, a two-storey detached property of 3,323 sq ft, wanted to generally improve the building, aside from works carried out under the dilapidations process.

“Having been fully let for 15 years, our Business Space agency team made recommendations, including the installation of LED lighting, which offer much improved levels of energy efficiency, light quality and longevity compared to the previous standard of fluorescent lighting. LED lighting is always high up on tenants’ wish lists for office space.”

On completion of the works, the building has immediately gone under offer by Vail Williams Business Space agency team, demonstrating the positive benefit of sensitively upgrading and updating office spaces where possible.

Rachael said: “Taking professional advice from a building surveyor when considering work to any property is important but even more so when dealing with period property in order to protect the historic building fabric and avoid potential pitfalls in terms of listed building consent and/or planning permissions.”

The Granary is a Grade II-listed building with two floors and 3,334 sq ft. It is available freehold, with a guide price of £720,000 or to let through Vail Williams as sole agent. Main Barn, at 3,431 sq ft, originally served the Cams Hall estate before being renovated and converted into offices in the mid- 1990s. It is available to let through Vail Williams.

Rachael said: “The work is fascinating, given the age of the three properties, which are also located in a Conservation area. We look forward to seeing the remaining two offices, The Granary and Main Barn, becoming home to other successful companies on this thriving business park.”

Vail Williams provides a full building consultancy service for client, including acting for landlords and occupiers in connection with commercial property dilapidations, helping to negotiate the best possible outcome for clients.

The consultancy also project-manages subsequent refurbishment and modernisation as required, working closely with Business Space agency colleagues. Services include exit strategy, dilapidations assessments, commercial lease advice on conditional lease breaks, dilapidations schedules and negotiations.

Vail Williams’ full-service property advice includes property valuation, planning and lease advice, investment and development expertise, property asset management and occupier consultancy.