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Commercial Property Renovations: Who Is Responsible?

Renovation work is a certainty in any property. Naturally, wear and tear take hold of a property, and things need to be upgraded over time. There will always be a need for renovation work, especially when it comes to commercial properties which see increased levels of general wear and tear. When looking to renovate a commercial property, it can be challenging to understand where the responsibility lies, whether it be with the landlord, tenant or business owner. 

When it comes to who has responsibility for the maintenance of a commercial property, the answer is not as black and white as you may think. Many factors go into a commercial property renovation, and all have different levels of responsibility for different parties. This article will discuss where the responsibility lies when renovating a commercial property and how to approach this subject with your landlord or tenant. 

 

Responsibility for Structural Renovation

Structural renovation is essential to a commercial property. With so many people occupying commercial premises, it is vital that the building is kept as safe and structurally sound as possible to ensure the safety of the occupants inside. When we look at the structural issues that can arise with a commercial building, the responsibility lies heavily on the shoulders of the landlord to fix any issues. 

Commercial property landlords must deal with and repair any structural issues that arise, such as damage or general degradation of the foundations, flooring, exterior walls, etc. As the landlord owns the property, they  are responsible for making all necessary structural repairs and amendments to the property when required. 

 

Responsibility for Fixtures & Fittings

“Fixtures and fittings” is a category which can cover many items in a commercial property, so we will break this down. Any fixtures and fittings that are fixed to the walls and have anything to do with electricity or heating are the sole responsibility of the commercial landlord. As the owner of the building, it is their responsibility to ensure that all fixtures and fittings are installed safely and maintained to a high standard, keeping safety a priority. 

Any other fixtures and fittings that do not fall into this category (e.g. pictures on walls, clocks, etc.) are the responsibility of the tenant to install and maintain. If any items like this break, it is the responsibility of the tenant to replace these. 

 

Responsibility for Fire Safety Fixtures

Fire safety is an aspect of the property in which responsibility falls on both sides. As fire safety in general in a commercial property is the responsibility of a “responsible person” within the workplace, this will usually fall on the tenant or business owner. 

While it is the business owner’s responsibility to maintain fire safety, it is the responsibility of the landlord to supply the necessary fire equipment for the building and all of the occupants. It is also the responsibility of the landlord to renovate and maintain any communal areas within a commercial property, as these areas belong to no business exclusively. When a renovation takes place in any part of the building, it is the responsibility of the business owner to supply all necessary fire equipment. 

 

Responsibility for Electrical Renovations

Working with electricity and renovating electrical works within a building can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, tenants should never complete electrical renovation work within the building. Under the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985, it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure all electrical works are carried out safely, as well as ensure all electrical components are maintained to a high standard. 

While tenants are not responsible for the maintenance of any electrical fixings, they are responsible for any electrical property in the building they own. This relates to computers, electrical fans and other equipment that may be used in business operations. 

 

Responsibility for Gas Works 

The responsibility for gas works is much more fluid than anything we have discussed. It relies on the terms set out in the lease before the agreement was finalised. It will usually be the responsibility of the tenant to maintain gas equipment according to the instructions set out by the manufacturer. This also includes any gas equipment that the tenant has installed. 

This will only differ if it is set out in terms of the lease. It is also the responsibility of the landlord to replace any damaged gas equipment they have had installed. Any equipment installed by the tenant is their responsibility alone. 

 

Responsibility for Maintenance & Repairs

Responsibility for maintenance & repairs is split between building stakeholders. The difference is that the landlord will look after anything structural and will be responsible for renovating any structural items within the building, like floors and foundations. Anything that is non-structural will fall on the tenant. This includes items like air conditioning units and any plumbing issues. 

This is on an individual basis and can vary depending on the terms set out in the lease at the time the property occupancy began. It is always wise to read through your lease to check which responsibilities you are obliged to take on. 

 

Summary

We know it can be challenging to define where responsibility lies in a situation that can change so much on an individual basis. Although many variables relate to the responsibilities of the tenant and landlord, here is a summary of the responsibilities that will not change. The definitive responsibilities of the landlord are:

  • Structural renovations like flooring and foundations.

  • Replacement and maintenance of electrical equipment.

  • Fixtures and fittings attached to walls.

 

The primary responsibilities of the tenant or business owner that will rarely change are:

  • Fixtures not attached to walls.

  • Maintenance of gas equipment

  • Maintenance and inspection of fire equipment.

 

Contact Us

Are you a landlord or tenant and need help maintaining your commercial property? Here at Kiasu workforce, we’ve got you covered. If you’d like more information on the wide range of maintenance services we can offer or have any questions regarding the maintenance of your commercial property, get in touch

Our team of property maintenance experts are on hand to answer any questions you may have and help you take the first step toward a stress-free property maintenance experience.

 

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4 Things You Need to Know Before Renovating a Property

A property renovation is a big project and a challenge for even the most experienced DIYer. DIY enthusiasts love to get stuck into a project, but it is crucial to do the prep work first. This guide will look at four essential things you need to know before beginning your renovation.

 

Surveying

The best place to start with any project is to outline what work needs doing. A renovation is no different. When looking at a property to renovate, you will need a clear picture of the issue that needs fixing. Coming across unexpected problems, you haven’t planned or budgeted for is one of the quickest ways to ruin any renovation project.

Before any home renovation, commission a building survey from a chartered building surveyor. This will identify the significant issues with the property. It will also offer guidance on any further surveys your property could need, such as an asbestos report. It is vital to gather all the information upfront to get a clear picture of the project. You will need this for planning the works, budgeting and pretty much every other aspect of the project.

 

Pricing and Budgeting

One of the first things you need to know before beginning a renovation project is how much it will cost. If you don’t know how much money to set aside, you could find yourself halfway through a renovation without the funds to complete the work.

It is also important to have a clear idea of your budget. If your renovation hopes are too ambitious for your budget, it’s best to find out early. Scale back your ambitions (for now) and work to the budget you have. Or, if your budget doesn’t stretch to the essential fixes, find a different project that your wallet can accommodate.

Gathering quotes is a big part of pricing up a project. You will need to know what work you’re hiring for and what you can DIY to do this effectively. The following section will cover this in more detail.

 

DIY Or Hire A Professional

Many parts of a renovation are off-limits to the DIYer. Experts are needed throughout a renovation for everything from electricals to plumbing. Anything that is primarily decorating is open to most DIYers. If you’re more experienced fitting shelving and cabinets, replacing sinks, countertops and laying carpet are all ok. It is important to remember to know your skillset. If you can do something but a professional could do it better, consider the professional. Deciding between a professional and DIYing is often a budgetary concern. However, if the budget permits, hiring someone can have a noticeable difference depending on your experience.

There is an extensive list of work that should only be carried out by a professional. Often these works pose potential hazards or require specialist knowledge to complete effectively. Many of these works will even require particular qualifications to meet legislative requirements. These works include:

This list is not exhaustive. However, these categories include many tasks that require a professional.

 

Health and Safety

Once you’ve decided what work needs doing, you will need to assess the risks. Many home renovation tasks pose safety risks. Its vital to understand these. Hiring professionals for the relevant job is one way to mitigate the risks, but there will still be many that need addressing during your project. Be mindful of all works being carried out, not just the ones you are doing yourself. Ensure you wear the correct PPE when working on a task or when around other work.  Always get help where necessary. Even something as simple as lifting materials may require two or more people to perform safely.

Home renovations can be big projects and vary in scope. Whether you are giving your home a new lease of life with some decorating or carrying out a full renovation, bear in mind the four points in this guide. Understanding the required work, who will do it, and how much it will cost are essential for all projects. And health and safety is of the utmost importance in everything from a minor DIY venture to an audacious construction project.