Dan Tapscott, Head of Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team comments on important reminders and lessons learned from a recent Rights to Light case.
Rights to Light case law moves at a relatively slow pace. It has been 10 years since the notable HKRUK II (CHC) Ltd v Heaney  judgement, where the courts awarded an injunction against a constructed and occupied scheme in favour of a neighbouring office rather than allow compensation to be paid. We then had Coventry v Lawrence  which questioned whether the courts’ willingness to opt for an injunction first before allowing compensation was correct or has been adopted too readily. Scandia Care Ltd and another v Ottercroft Ltd  reminded us of the importance of the conduct of the parties. Now we have the outcome of Beaumont Business Centres Limited v Florala Properties Limited  to consider.
It is a case where Rights to Light matters have been rumbling along for quite some time between the parties, but in brief:
• Beaumont’s property is a serviced office building which was refurbished and extended by a further storey in 2011/12.
• Florala purchased their property in 2013 and raised concerns over their Rights to Light because of Beaumont’s building work, with a reciprocal agreement tabled for Florala’s impending development of their building.
• Discussions surrounding this continued, but in 2015 Beaumont sold its freehold interest and a sale and leaseback agreement resulted in another Beaumont property taking on a leasehold interest in the property. The original Rights to Light claim remained with the new freeholder which resulted in Florala arguing that the end goal was therefore a ransom demand rather than a preservation of light.
• Meanwhile, in 2015 Florala obtained planning permission for the redevelopment of their own building into an apart-hotel. In 2017/18 Florala proceeded with these works which included a vertical extension of 11.25m. Beaumont had objected to the proposals and although proceedings for an injunction began, they did not apply for an interim injunction for the works to be paused. Florala sought a summary judgement claiming that Beaumont had no grounds for the injunction but this was dismissed.
• Beaumont’s proceedings reached the High Court which led to an injunction being granted requiring Florala to pull down part of its offending development which had been completed almost 2 years ago.
The court considered a wide variety of aspects of Rights to Light and there are a number of key conclusions and reminders for the industry. These can be summarised as follows:
1) The primary remedy the court will use is awarding an injunction before damages via compensation. Developers should not assume compensation in the commercial world is the natural default;
2) The pre-existing Rights to Light Deed between the defendant and the landlord of the claimant’s property didn’t help the defendant even with changes in ownership to contend with. Careful consideration of such documents needs to be paid, when relying on them or on the drafting when entering into them;
3) The claimant’s neighbouring property was poorly lit to begin with therefore the court found the remaining light received to be precious and worth protecting. The fact that there was a previous reliance on artificial light in these offices was irrelevant;
4) The analysis used in the case to quantify the levels of interference was Waldram analysis (based upon the calculations of Percy Waldram in the 1920s). Comparable analysis was submitted considering ‘Radiance testing’ which is more advanced and, in our opinion, more holistic, considering reflected light bouncing off adjacent surfaces. However, this was largely ignored by the court;
5) If damages via compensation were to be accepted (by Beaumont choosing not to join the tenant) then the basis of these calculated by the court was again a third of the developers profits from the offending parts of the massing; and
6) The matter was dealt with over a long time and on a reactive basis. Hindsight is a great thing but ‘neighbourliness’ at the outset seemed to be thrown out of the window. Conduct of the parties remains key, proceeding at risk of is unadvisable. The ‘high handed’ manner the courts regarded of the developer pressing on when there were clear and unresolved objections did not help them. Florala has sought to appeal this decision. It will be interesting to see what arises from this or whether the matter is resolved ‘on the steps’ as was the case with the appeal for HKRUK II (CHC) Ltd v Heaney leaving the construction industry to either proceed at risk or to prudently tread carefully.
Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team operate throughout the UK providing Rights to Light, Daylight & Sunlight, Party Wall and Access Arrangement services for both developers and neighbours to development.
If you are planning a development where we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Dan Tapscott or a member of the Neighbourly Matters team at Rapleys.
Dan Tapscott, Head of Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team comments on the Government’s “Planning for the Future” guidance [published in March 2020] and considers the direction of travel regarding vertical extension rights.
It is applauded that the Government are looking at ways to enable ‘innovative’ development to happen, including building upwards with vertical extensions. However, we know this is an area that will still warrant detailed consideration by developers in order to avoid Rights to Light objections. These could be quite costly or make developments unviable, even if they get a green light in terms of planning.
A Right to Light (or Right of Light; there is no difference) is an easement, similar to a Right of Way. This enables the passage of diffuse skylight through a defined aperture such as a window to be protected by law. If the level of light received is reduced to an unreasonable degree, then the relevant owners of the property who can make use of the right can raise an objection. The remedy to an objection would either be damages via compensation or the awarding of an injunction to forbid the offending construction commencing, or for its removal, even if the new building is occupied.
Planning laws do not override common or civil law and therefore it is important that before detailed design work progresses, developers ensure they are aware of where the risks are and their strategy for dealing with them. The use of Rights to Light Envelope Studies is an area that could prove invaluable to help guide a design team to work within certain parameters, to avoid unreasonable levels of interference to the neighbouring properties. We believe that in taking this course of action prior to considering what can be achieved via any relaxation in planning laws for Permitted Development, would be the best all-round approach.
The remaining options for developers to deal with matters arising are negotiation with the effected parties in a proactive manner, ignore the issue and wait six years after the injury has been triggered for an objection to arise or consider an insurance based approach.
There has been talk of reform in the Rights to Light industry since the issuing of the Law Commission report in 2014, although nothing has progressed since then. As and when this comes back online (when we hope that the advances in technology for calculating light loss are taken into account), it will be interesting to identify areas of joined up thinking rather than those which conflict.
Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team operate throughout the UK providing Rights to Light, Daylight & Sunlight, Party Wall and Access Arrangement services for both developers and neighbours to development.
If you are planning a development where we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Dan or a member of the Neighbourly Matters team at Rapleys.
Josie joined Rapleys in July 2018 as a Senior Building Surveyor in our Birmingham Office to strengthen our Building Consultancy offer in the second city. She gained promotion in May 2019 to Associate. With 12 years surveying experience, Josie has benefitted from working in education, healthcare, local authority, retail and automotive sectors.
Formerly a Managing Surveyor at Faithful+Gould, Josie has worked with a diverse range of clients and delivered the full spectrum of surveying services including technical due diligence, design and specification, dilapidations, PPM surveys and statutory compliance matters. Most recently Josie has worked client side as a property manager at Ei Group, the UK’s largest pub portfolio operator. The role included condition and compliance coordination, dilapidations management and delivery of capital investment schemes.
Whilst at Faithful+Gould, Josie was project lead on a two year Property Rationalisation Programme for a local authority client. During this commission she supported the organisation in realising £4m of property savings by maximising the use of retained offices and/or customer spaces and disposing of surplus properties. The all encompassing role included designing and delivering office refurbishments, introducing modern and flexible working practices and managing the cultural change piece with end users as well as handling disposal activities.
Josie offers an intuitive approach to her client relationships and stakeholder engagement. With wide ranging building surveying expertise, combined with client side experience, Josie is well placed to offer a complete solution to the demands of portfolio management.
Women make up around 14% of construction industry professionals and this number can only be set to rise with more and more women choosing construction jobs. Misconceptions about gender specific roles are gradually diminishing with the industry and a growing number of women choosing a career in construction.
Women in Construction are helping to challenge the diversity divide and reshape the industry. Each year they hold a summit at The London Build Expo and last year Natasha Bray was selected as a Woman in Construction Ambassador.
Natasha joined Rapleys in November 2017 and is the lead contact for Neighbourly Matters services in London. She specialises in Daylight & Sunlight and legal Rights to Light. Last year Natasha was selected as a Women in Construction Ambassador to help reshape the gender imbalance of the construction industry. Natasha has a strong background in Compulsory Purchase and s.203 Housing and Planning Act 2016 with Council related schemes. She also has experience in managing large scale developments and schemes with a large number of potentially affected neighbours.
We spoke to Natasha to find out more about her experiences as a woman in the construction industry and what that has meant for her since the start of her career and her role in here at Rapleys.
What does a typical day involve?
My day is always extremely varied, one day I could be meeting clients discussing the best strategy for their sites, the next I could be at the other end of the country taking measurements of a property. A lot of the work is heavily reliant on technology so you will always find me with a laptop in hand.
What makes you proud of your work?
Many of the clients I have worked with tend to find the Neighbourly Matters area particularly problematic. I am therefore always proud to be able to find a solution to a problem that seemed impossible to begin with.
What personal qualities help you succeed?
As a person I am very goal orientated, if I have a list of tasks to do for either the day or the week, I do not feel satisfied until they are complete. This really helps me keep on top of my work and allows me to provide the best service I can to my clients.
What perks are there about working in this industry that not many people know about?
For me the biggest perk is the variety of people and work I get involved with. No two days look the same and that really helps to keep the day to day interesting.
What was it about a career in the construction industry that appealed to you?
I have always like the idea of being part of creating something out of nothing. My role allows me to be part of solving the problems that come along with that.
What advice would you give someone interested in a career in construction?
Work experience is worth its weight in gold. I would encourage everyone looking at construction as a career prospect to get experience in as many different roles as possible. Even if you decide you do not like a good number of them, it is better to start ticking off things you don’t like that to fully commit to something you may not enjoy.
How do you think the construction industry can attract more women?
This is a question that in my opinion has many different answers. However, for me personally I think that an active effort to celebrate the women in the construction industry currently is very important.
In order to open the field up to more women it makes sense to make the current women more visible. The sooner we can spread the message that the industry has plenty of jobs women would enjoy, the sooner young women will realise this industry is an option.
What are the challenges, if any, that you face as a woman in a male-dominated field?
Aside from the occasional comment of “oh are you not feeling well” on the days where I have decided not to wear makeup. I luckily have not faced any substantial challenges as a result of being a woman in a male dominated field. I do however recognise that this is likely a result of my personality.
I have over the years called out any occasions where I have felt that actions or comments have occurred because I am a woman and that the same treatment would not have been received if I were a man. This has certainly reduced the number of similar comments I would have received than if I had just laughed them all off.
I think as a woman in this industry it really benefits you to be confident enough in yourself and your convictions to speak up in uncomfortable situations. Hopefully the more people that speak up, the easier it will be to reduce the amount of these situations.
How do you think women are leading the charge on improving diversity in the construction workplace?
Being one of the largest groups of underrepresented people in the industry I think a lot of women have made it their mission to improve access to the industry for those that would normally not look to construction as a viable career route. This is certainly something that I myself am keeping under constant review.
Rapleys are pleased to confirm that our Building Consultancy Group have been shortlisted for the Property Awards 2020. The Building Consultancy Group, headed by Justin Tuckwell, are shortlisted alongside Hollis, Savills, Knight Frank, Shoosmiths, Aitchison Raffety and others, for Professional Team of the Year.
After a period of significant growth, driven by the team’s pioneering approach to the specialist services delivered, we are grateful for the recognition by the prestigious Property Awards and look forward to celebrating in the success of all come April.
Justin Tuckwell comments; ‘To have a niche building consultancy division leading the way in terms of revenue, profit, client and staff growth in a national multi-disciplinary business is unique. Reaching the shortlist of Professional Team of the Year further confirms our forward-thinking position within the business and industry. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team and I am very grateful for all their efforts throughout this incredible time for us.’
Click here for the full details of all the award categories and nominations.
Jason Mound leads the Land Development Project Management service offering having started with Rapleys in July 2018. Jason previously worked with national regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties plc and since led Atkins Land Development consultancy, also having worked previously in design and build contracting.
Jason offers clients land development management services through the full spectrum of development including due diligence, acquisition, planning, delivery and estate management phases helping optimise land assets. Jason’s key experience is in infrastructure planning and delivery, managing multi-disciplinary design teams and helping clients to de-risk their land assets, thus enabling land for development whether through sale of serviced land parcels or joint ventures with housing partners.
This service, coupled with Rapleys strategic land and planning consultancy, offers clients a unique insight in bringing forward land for development. Jason is currently supporting master developers and land owners on strategic land developments across the UK including Millbrook Park in Mill Hill and Canford Park in Poole.
Client feedback is critical to our continued delivery of excellent service so we are always delighted to hear from clients on existing and completed projects.
Rapleys Building Consultancy Group are pleased to share the following feedback:
Keith Hurford, Project Director, Millbrook Park
‘Rapleys are engaged by Inglis Consortium as Lead Consultant/ Development Project Manager assisting me as Project Director in all matters relating to the development of Millbrook Park, a development of 2240 units. This work has included planning, cost consultancy, infrastructure strategy, infrastructure procurement, delivery, sales and marketing, land disposals and liaison with residential phase developers.
Rapleys have a keen eye for driving value through the design process and driving performance from a multi discipline consultant team. Their team led by Jason Mound is pragmatic, determined and particularly good at problem solving when they arise.
Rapleys have provided an excellent service and are a valuable member of the overall delivery team. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their involvement in similar developments.’
The case study can be viewed here.
Nathan Ross, Project Manager, WH White
‘Rapleys are providing development PM support to WH White Limited for the development of up to 800 homes and associated development at Bearwood in North Poole. Jason has significant experience in the management and delivery of large residential developments similar to Canford Park and has brought this experience and wealth of knowledge to WH White to enhance the development asset at Canford Park.
We found Rapleys and Jason to be knowledgeable and efficient in the process and design of the development and would certainly use them again on future projects. We are currently assembling a team for a larger development in the area through the next local plan process and will be seeking support from Rapleys for the project.’
The case study can be viewed here.
Natasha joined Rapleys in November 2017 and is the lead contact for neighbourly matters services in London. She specialises in Daylight and Sunlight, and legal Rights of Light.
Natasha previously worked as a Rights of Light Surveyor and Expert Witness, and has a particular interest in these services.
Her main focus is maximising the development potential of sites whilst providing efficient and client based service. Natasha has a strong background in compulsory purchase and s.203 Housing and Planning Act 2016 with council related schemes. She also has experience in managing large scale developments and schemes with a large number of potentially affected neighbours.
Natasha also has a further strong focus on protecting rights of neighbours affected by proposed developments.
Rapleys’ property and planning consultancy continues to show the ongoing growth of its business by announcing this week that the Cambridge team will relocate to larger premises, and therefore increase their profile, just nine months after opening in the city.
Remaining in the CB1 business district was of upmost importance to Rapleys and its new and existing client base. The practice has taken a private office at 50-60 Station Road; a modern, high quality environment, next to the station.
The new office will house, amongst other teams, the practices’ Town Planning, Development, Building Consultancy, Business Space and Automotive & Roadside departments.
Stuart Harris, Head of Cambridge Office comments: “Whilst Rapleys’ arrival in Cambridge was far from any ‘cold start’ with our long standing presence in the county, we have been delighted by the traction gained in our opening months in the city. This has necessitated a fairly rapid expansion of both the size and quality of space available to us.”
Robert Clarke, Senior Partner, adds: “I am very pleased with the new office at Station Road and look forward to welcoming our clients to the innovative space. Our move is a direct response to client needs. We are excited by the future prospects in Cambridge and the wider region.”
Full contact details for the Rapleys Cambridge office:
Featured in Commercial News.
Dan joined Rapleys in 2016 to establish a dedicated Neighbourly Matters service area within the Building Consultancy team delivering Rights to Light, Daylight & Sunlight Amenity, Party Walls and Access Arrangement services.
Formerly, Dan had spent over a decade with Watts Group Limited (previously known as Watts & Partners) working for numerous clients primarily within the commercial property sector. Here he honed his skills and built a reputation for specialising in Neighbourly Matters besides undertaking other traditional Building Surveying services such as Technical Due Diligence and Defects Analysis.
Dan prides himself in establishing and building strong relationships with clients and project teams. His focus on Neighbourly Matters centres around risk management and ensuring clients can maximise the development potential from their sites. When acting ‘the other side of the fence’ he ensures clients assets are well represented and their assets are suitably protected.
Dan is Secretary of the Severnside branch of the Pyramus & Thisbe Club who promote excellence in the field of Party Wall practice. He also sits on the RICS Great Western Committee. He has mentored many Building Surveyors through their Assessment of Professional Competence and he regularly gives seminars on Neighbourly Matters to developers, solicitors and professionals within the property industry.
Rapleys has made several new appointments across the business over the summer months, collectively strengthening our service offering, and representing the ongoing growth of the practice.
- Campbell Moffat (Senior Associate, Corporate Investor Management)
- Laura Briggs (Senior Surveyor, Corporate Investor Management)
- Jamie Alderson (Planner, Town Planning)
- Harriet Nind (Planner, Town Planning)
- Marcus Fatoye (Surveyor, Corporate Investor Management)
- Callum Dickinson (Graduate Surveyor, Automotive & Roadside)
- Oliver Exton (Graduate Surveyor, Automotive & Roadside)
- Bradley Wild-Smith (Accounts Assistant)
- Stacey Collarbon (Property Accounts Assistant, Corporate Investor Management)
- Ben Godfrey (Data Analyst, Corporate Investor Management)
- Serena Ridley (Client Accountant, Corporate Investor Management)
- Stephen Wilde (Client Accountant, Corporate Investor Management)
- Shanice Redmond (QHSE/Data Management Assistant)
- Emma Bailey (PA to Head of Building Consultancy Group)
Robert Clarke, Senior Partner, comments; ‘I am delighted to welcome our new recruits and look forward to working with them to serve our clients’ needs in the future.’
Justin is a Chartered Building Surveyor and Chartered Environmental Surveyor with 20 years experience in both the commercial and residential building surveying market sectors.
He started his career in London working in the ‘high end’ residential market providing all services from acquisition and defect diagnosis advice, through to supporting the lead partner on Expert Witness work in association with contractor default, negligent construction works and personal injury claims linked to defective workmanship.
Justin specialises in the residential, healthcare, automotive and retail sectors. His specialisms include defect diagnosis, design and project co-ordination of construction works (principally in respect of refurbishment) including maintenance and alteration works to existing buildings.
Justin is Rapleys’ in-house expert in determining party wall and dilapidation disputes which has involved defending and also prosecuting significant claims working alongside clients’ legal advisors, specialists and Counsel on behalf of both landlords and tenants.
He provides expert advice to his clients in connection with building defects, boundary disputes, dilapidations, party wall and building contractual issues.
Justin is Head of the Building Consultancy team nationally, dealing with all aspects of building surveying matters for Rapleys’ corporate occupier and landlord clients.
He joined Rapleys in 2001 and was elected as partner in 2008.
Rapleys’ Building Consultancy Group is pleased to introduce the most recent Associates’ to join the team.
Adam Reed, Bristol
Adam is a commercially driven chartered Building Surveyor who joins the team with a wealth of experience across a broad spectrum of building surveying services. Having a strong working knowledge of the regional market, and notably being a member of the BCO NextGen Committee for the South West region, will prove invaluable for the Bristol service line within the national Building Consultancy Group.
Adam is adept at providing the full range of commercial building surveyor services to clients including; technical due diligence, dilapidations, contract administration and CDM advisory. Recent projects have included CAT A office refurbishment and industrial contract administration. Each project has been approached professionally and client relationship management always prioritised, ultimately providing reasoned commercial advice and added value to each project.
Adam comments: ‘I am looking forward to getting involved in the wide-ranging projects and services that the whole Building Consultancy Group delivers at a national and regional level. My move to Rapleys comes as they go from strength to strength in the market and I am confident I can add further to the growth of the team and services.’
Jack Downing, Birmingham
Jack joins the Land Development Project Management service line within the Building Consultancy Group. This move follows experience leading the design and delivery of primary infrastructure on a range of mixed use developments nationally.
Bringing over ten years’ experience in infrastructure engineering, Jack is a qualified member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and has managed numerous land development and building schemes. With a strong track record in value led and outcome based design, Jack has a keen eye for delivery strategy whilst keeping a firm grip on the detail to ensure risks are managed and opportunities are realised.
Jack comments: ‘I am exciting to join the team and I feel there is a significant opportunity to build and expand our offering to clients. I am very much looking forward to playing a key role in residential and mixed use development sites and making use of Rapleys’ full range of property services. Delivering a client focused service has always been at the heart of my approach. I do this by investing the time to understand the client’s key drivers so I can ensure these are achieved and I will continue this as I progress here.’
Justin Tuckwell, Head of Building Consultancy, comments: ‘I am delighted to welcome both Adam and Jack to Rapleys. Their talent and skillsets were carefully considered to enable a continued, and improved, service to our clients. I am excited to support their careers and develop their skills. I am confident that with their combined experience and proven service delivery our position will be further strengthened in the market as the Building Consultancy Group continues to expand.’
Rapleys are proud to announce a 4 year framework with Coventry City Council. The commission is to provide maintenance and condition surveys, project surveying and design work across a wide range of corporate and educational buildings within the Coventry City boundary.
As part of Coventry City Council’s 10 year business plan, Coventry City Council have set out their priorities and vision for the future of the city. The Council are committed to attracting new businesses, improving the standards of educational facilities and ultimately helping the people of Coventry deliver effective and worthwhile community services, such as libraries and youth services. Each initiative will have clear direction and innovative ideas at the core of their models.
Rapleys role in achieving this for the city is twofold. The first part of the commission includes maintenance and condition surveys of necessary buildings and will commence with a batch of pilot surveys in the area. The second lot includes surveying and engineering projects.
The project is due to be completed by September 2020, with an option to extend for a further 2 years. For Rapleys the commission is set to deliver approximately £100k of consultancy fees each year, for the four years. This is in line with the Council’s budget and will ensure value is retained in their commitment to creating a sustainable future.
This commission coincides seamlessly with the Building Consultancy Groups expansion and the win is critical for the team as a whole to shape a very exciting future, especially for the Birmingham based members of the team who will tackle this instruction head on. Justin Tuckwell, Head of Rapleys Building Consultancy Group comments; ‘From our business development perspective, starting such a varied and large project will provide invaluable experience to our graduate surveyors in the team as well as further enhancing the portfolios of our more experienced surveyors. The Councils ambitions align with ours and we are confident of a long and prosperous collaboration.’
The commission win is part of a strategic plan that Rapleys have developed to grow and develop public sector client portfolios, sharing the best practices that they already provide to private sector clients.
As featured on Insider Magazine – click here.
Rapleys’ Charities/Non-Profit team continue to be very active in the market and are delighted to share some of our available properties:
A full list is available here.
Apart from our usual consultancy of building and property matters, including landlord and tenant and building surveys, we are also currently engaged in a number of exciting development projects which can be found on the download link. For a no obligation initial meeting to discuss any of your property requirements contact Graham Smith or Adam Harvey
We are also delighted to be attending and sponsoring the networking reception again at this years Charity Property Conference. To find out more about this event and to secure your space please follow this link. We look forward to seeing you there!
Simon joined Rapleys in 2002 as a graduate building surveyor and is now a partner in building consultancy. He has experience in all property sectors with particular specialism within the railway, industrial and residential sectors.
He also specialises in residential dilapidation matters and leads multi-disciplinary teams in the preparation and negotiation of complex dilapidations claims for bulk rented housing estates.
Simon is an Incorporated Member of the Association for Project Safety and has experience in all matters of Health and Safety Consultancy. He has acted as CDM co-ordinator and more recently as principle designer on large scale commercial and residential construction projects.
He is experienced in developing bespoke forms for tablet based, electronic data capture and in running projects to undertake detailed surveys of property portfolios in excess of 600 properties.
Rapleys are pleased to confirm a number of promotions across the business this month:
Guy Davies – Building Consultancy Group, London
Rebecca Harper – Investment, London
Josie Hayes – Building Consultancy Group, Birmingham
Chloe Ballantine – Town Planning, London
Conor Healy – Town Planning, London
Charles Alexander – Development Services Group, London
Robert Clarke, Senior Partner, adds: ‘It is a great pleasure to announce these promotions. They are well-deserved. I look forward to their ongoing contribution to the business and, more particularly, our valued client base.’
Rapleys’ Building Consultancy Group has appointed 7 surveyors to its team across the network. The new members will be based in Bristol, Birmingham, London and Manchester to further establish the group’s geographical coverage, as well as increasing the range of technical expertise. The new posts will support the delivery of comprehensive, consistent and excellent service levels to all new and existing clients.
Supporting the service line in Bristol, Adam Reed joins as an Associate. Adam will work alongside Partner Simon Harbour to support and grow the South West client base. Adam has significant experience across the building surveying core services offered. Martin Hunt, Graduate Surveyor, also joins the Bristol team and will be supporting Dan Tapscott, Partner, in the Neighbourly Matters team which delivers services nationally.
Rapleys’ Midlands provision is boosted with Associate Jack Downing joining the specialist land development project management team and bringing with him a wealth of experience in infrastructure and development engineering. In addition Jordon Fearon has joined as graduate to support Josie Hayes in the building surveying team as the property market in the second city continues on its impressive growth trajectory.
Meanwhile, Mark Noon and Dan Heath, Graduate Surveyors join to assist the fast growing London building surveying team on all projects including building surveys, defect analysis, party wall issues, schedules of condition and other core services.
Finally Ed Hill has joined the Manchester team as Graduate Surveyor for additional support in our core building surveying offering to the North West client base.
Justin Tuckwell, Head of Rapleys’ Building Consultancy Group, commented: “Being able to grow our team by this substantial number demonstrates our successful delivery of services with previous and current clients, as well as being testament to the buoyancy of the property market across the UK. All appointments have been made carefully to ensure the team comprises of talented and supportive members who work cohesively to deliver Rapleys’ high standards. I am excited to nurture the progression of the Building Consultancy Group as a whole as we penetrate and establish ourselves further within this competitive industry.”
Rapleys’ Neighbourly Matters team have been extensively involved in a mixed use redevelopment of a former brewery site in South Bristol.
The development, which was granted planning permission last week, comprises a residential led scheme of 94 new homes, with apartments arranged in two blocks of 7 and 8 storeys. With 2,000 sq m of co-working and commercial space also being provided on the site of the former Ashton Gate Brewery and Thomas Baynton’s Brewery with a number of the original buildings retained and refurbished.
Rapleys have been onboard since the early stages advising on Daylight & Sunlight Amenity, carrying out several analyses on a variety of neighbouring properties. Rapleys have also engaged early on in the design process, advising on Party Wall matters and will shortly be serving notices on the relevant adjoining properties for the demolition and construction phases.
The Old Brewery MCC LLP is a joint venture between Change Real Estate and Cannon Family Office.
Dan Tapscott, Partner, Head of Neighbourly Matters, comments: ‘This development has been a pleasure to get involved with; a variety of building types on a brownfield site with circa 35 neighbouring properties to consider is just the type of challenge our national Neighbourly Matters team are geared up for. The clients approach in enabling early engagement across the project team will ensure the effective delivery of the scheme.’
Commercial property and planning consultancy Rapleys has advised Lookers PLC on the development of its new £10m dealership located on York Road, Battersea.
The 90,000 sq ft Volskwagen dealership forms part of a multi-million pound mixed-use joint venture between Lookers and Linden Homes. The state of the art dealership comprises the first three floors of the development, including significant amenity and customer experience space as well as a state-of-the-art automotive services department.
The multi discipline Rapleys team, led by partner Angus Irvine, brought together experts from across the firm’s Development, Planning, Investment and Building Consultancy practices to work with Lookers to maximise the significant land value of the site.
Principally this included a full planning and feasibility study, resulting in the unlocking of air rights to facilitate a multi-storey, mixed-use development comprising both the car dealership and a residential scheme. Rapleys identified and secured Linden Homes as the joint venture partner for the project, subsequently securing planning permission for the full commercial and residential scheme, to include 174 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, both private and affordable, across the fifteen storey, four tower development.
Rapleys also advised Lookers on relocating the existing dealership to an alternative site while works were being undertaken, to minimise any disruption to the day-to-day business.
Angus Irvine, Partner and head of Development, commented: “As competition for land, particularly in urban conurbations, increases, it is critical that investors and developers have a creative approach to maximising the value of their assets. Frequently this means changing or expanding uses and more often than not, building up rather than out. Lookers’ new dealership is a terrific example of this; maintaining and enhancing commercial operations while delivering much needed private and affordable housing in the heart of London courtesy of JV partner Linden Homes.”
Alex has gained experience in all mainstream areas of commercial building surveying with a focus on condition surveys, defect diagnosis, contract administration and project management of both new build and refurbishment schemes.
Alex has specialised in the project management of large programmes of refurbishment, repair and fit out for a variety of high street retailers.
Having gained NEBOSH qualifications in Occupational Health & Safety, Fire Safety & Risk Management and Construction Health & Safety, Alex is experienced in acting as a CDM advisor, principal designer and advising on Construction Health and Safety matters, Fire Safety matters and the preparation fire risk assessments.
Alex was promoted to partner in 2018 after joining Rapleys in 2014.
Property and planning consultancy Rapleys announces the launch of a new office in Cambridge. The new office is Rapleys’ second in Cambridgeshire, with the firm being founded in Huntingdon and maintaining a strong presence and heritage in region since 1951.
The Cambridge office consists of both professional advisory and transactional teams from across Rapleys’ service lines, delivering a joined-up, multi-disciplinary offering to clients in the region. Each team consists of professionals who live and work in the city, with strong established relationships across Cambridge’s range of complementary consultancy services.
Stuart Harris has been appointed Head of the Cambridge office, and joins Rapleys with more than 30 years’ experience working in the industry and region, including roles with Strutt & Parker and Carter Jonas.
Stuart, alongside the existing partnership, will be responsible for promoting and coordinating the delivery of the firm’s core property consultancy and town planning services in the city, including: Town Planning, Building Consultancy, Development, Affordable Housing & Viability, Commercial Agency, Landlord & Tenant and Investment.
Robert Clarke, Senior Partner at Rapleys, commented: “Our new Cambridge office, alongside the appointment of Stuart, represents a key further stage in Rapleys’ evolution, which builds on our long-established heritage, presence and reputation in the region going back to the founding of the firm in Huntingdon in 1951. We saw a real opportunity in Cambridge, which is undergoing substantial growth, and a market opening where we can bring in services – such as Affordable Housing and Viability, Strategic Land, Building Consultancy and Town Planning – which are currently underrepresented in the region or are subject to increasing demand. At the same time, our expanded footprint and capacity in the region further complements our national expansion programme – providing clients access to partner-led teams with both local expertise and UK-wide reach.”
Stuart Harris, Head of the Cambridge Office at Rapleys, added: “Principally I am delighted to join Rapleys at this exciting juncture. There are significant opportunities in Cambridge, which is rapidly increasing in commercial importance and is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. This looks set to continue – not least driven by the wider strategic plan for the region including the Cambridge-Oxford arc and expressway – and we are seeing an increasing demand particularly for planning and consulting services from businesses seeking to capitalise on this growth. I look forward to working with the wider Rapleys team to help clients seize these opportunities.”
Rapleys’ Cambridge team can be contacted at 20 Station Road, Cambridge CB1 2JD / 0370 777 6292.
Those of us in the surveying world of Daylight & Sunlight have been waiting with baited breath to understand the implications of the new European Standard for Daylighting and its ever so snappy title EN17037. With great thanks to the CIBSE Daylight Group and the many great speakers at their event, all was revealed recently.
EN17037 does consider other factors, such as sunlight, view and glare but the most interesting topic of conversation was the new provisions for daylight. Very helpfully, Paul Littlefair of the Building Research Establishment, was on hand to translate the new provisions and explain how these deviated from the current standards used by consultants and Planning Authorities contained within the Building Research Establishment’s Report 209 “Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight – A Guide to Good Practice” (2011 2nd Edition).
The new standard, EN17037, recommends using daylight illuminance testing; requiring that a room obtains certain lux levels over 50% and 95% of the space for 50% of daylight hours. Minimum, medium and high levels are recommended as a means by which to judge the performance of a room. The recommendations are as follows:
- Minimum – 300 lux exceeded over 50% of the space (median illuminance) and 100 lux exceeded over 95% of the space (minimum illuminance), for 50% of daylight hours
- Medium – 500 lux for median and 300 for minimum for 50% of daylight hours
- High – 750 lux for median and 500 lux for minimum for 50% daylight hours
The procedure for this testing requires that the daylight illuminance is calculated on a grid of points for every hour of the year. Taking the hourly median daylight illuminance exceeded over half the space and the minimum daylight illuminance. Choose the values equalled or exceeded for 2190 hours.
Comparing this to the current recommendations for Average Daylight Factor the recommendations for median daylight factor translate to an ADF figure around 1.5 times higher. As an example, looking at the minimum recommendations of EN17037, 2.1% median daylight factor equates to roughly 3.2% average daylight factor. Therefore, even the minimum recommendations of EN17037 are likely to be difficult to achieve and are certainly an uplift on the current highest targets of 2% for any room containing a kitchen. This will be especially problematic for dwellings in urban areas, such as London. It is also worth noting that the recommendations are the same for all room types, so the increase in light that needs to be achieved will be more apparent for rooms that had lower ADF targets, such as bedrooms (1%).
In reality this will reflect the current situation, in that it is likely the units on upper floors will have the best chance of meeting the high recommendations. With each floor moving down the façade of the building going from high, through medium and minimum and some even below that.
This reality naturally causes some concern and worry about the difficulty this would create in designing schemes that would meet these higher targets. Thankfully, the National Annex, soon to be proposed by the BRE would seek to relieve this.
Currently, a few options are on the table in terms of proposals for the National Annex, these are summarised below:
- Use minimum values of average daylight factor in BS 8206 Part 2 (or largely that contained within the BRE guide) as an alternative method for dwellings
- Adapt EN17037 methodology, but use lower illuminances for dwellings, resulting in lower recommended median daylight factors
- A combination of the above two options.
A vote among the event attendees was taken at the time, giving a clear winner, however final decisions of course remain to be seen. In short, Rapleys are in favour of the proposed method changes, but certainly agree that there will be difficulty in achieving the recommendations. If these can be reduced to a more achievable level we can see only good things for the industry going forward.
With the changing climate and potential impact this may have on developers moving forward Rapleys are acutely aware that this may pose challenges in the future.
The market may also question, due to Brexit, whether this Standard has to be embraced or can be ignored. As with any Daylight & Sunlight Study, those reviewing a design should always consider the requirements outlined by each specific local authority, so best to consider on a case by case basis. Although, it should not be forgotten that all designs should strive to ensure the best levels of Daylight & Sunlight and not the minimum.
Following another exciting and active year Rapleys are delighted to see the range of clients and projects continue to grow across all property sectors nationally. It is encouraging that any doom and gloom in the media is not what we have been experiencing. Perhaps our clients are being a bit more cautious but if anything this gives us a greater opportunity to provide crucial and practical Neighbourly Matters advice to reduce levels of uncertainty for them and their investors.
From arenas to offices, hotels to fire stations, universities/student accommodation developments to strategic city centre reviews to car showrooms and high rise residential buildings; the cross section of work undertaken and our geographical spread has been wide. These projects all bring with them individual and exciting challenges, whether our client is the developer or neighbours to the development.
We’ve also had a busy year promoting the service having delivered over 50 seminars to developers, architects, solicitors and local authorities as well as speaking at industry conferences. In addition to several published articles on our specialism, we have also developed a dedicated website to collate all our Neighbourly Matters services together: www.rapleysrightstolight.com
In November we were thrilled to host our first client drinks reception in the new London office which helped demonstrate the new in-house Rights to Light and Daylight & Sunlight analysis we can run. Bringing this in-house has certainly been an aspiration fulfilled, ensuring we continue to be as responsive, competitive and agile as possible for our clients.
Peer recognition in the industry is always welcome and there were two notable achievements in the past twelve months. As you may be aware, the RICS has launched a new Rights to Light pathway to chartership status and our own Dan Tapscott was only too happy to accept the invitation to become an assessor to assist in bringing on those entering the profession. Similarly, Dan was approached to be on the panel of the Bristol Urban Design Forum to critique significant and substantial upcoming planning applications which is both rewarding and insightful.
Of course Dan would not have been able to take up such roles were it not for the wider Building Consultancy Group, especially Natasha Bray, who leads the service in our London office. Natasha has been with us just over a year and has been a fantastic addition to Rapleys. Input from the Building Surveyors has also been substantial and invaluable in the delivery of our Party Wall service.
Turning to this year, we are on an ambitious recruitment drive throughout our network of offices to keep our exemplary service deliverable. If you are or know someone who would be keen to join us, please get in contact. There are positions available across the sector so get in touch with Dan Tapscott for the Neighbourly Matters roles or Justin Tuckwell, Head of Building Consultancy Group, for the other surveyor roles.
James is a partner in the building consultancy team and has a broad range of experience across all mainstream areas of commercial building surveying.
He specialises in management of refurbishment projects, preparing and negotiating dilapidations claims on behalf of both landlords and tenants, undertaking pre-acquisition and technical due diligence building surveys and advising on Party Wall matters in both residential and commercial schemes.
James has project managed refurbishments valued in excess of £8million and negotiated numerous large dilapidations claims on behalf of various clients ranging from pension and investment funds to top global brands. James has also acted for both Building and Adjoining Owners regarding complex party wall schemes and undertaken building surveys on various prestigious commercial properties ranging from small scale to hundreds of thousands of square feet in size.
As we soar into 2019, there is no slowing down across the business and the Building Consultancy Group, in particular, are delighted to announce exciting opportunities to join their team.
As the service experiences rapid expansion across the network of UK offices, there are several graduate surveyor positions available in Bristol, London, Manchester, Birmingham and Huntingdon. To add to this, Bristol also require a Neighbourly Matters assistant to join the team in carrying out essential work in this highly specialised area.
Collectively, the team cover the full spectrum of services from party wall advice, dilapidations, project work, building surveys and everything in between. The role will be fast paced and provide an excellent platform to harvest all the skills required to progress your career with us.
We recruit and retain knowledgeable and passionate professionals and provide a collaborative culture that enables individuals to thrive in our robust training and development programme. Through this system, Rapleys are proud to be recognised as an Investors in People awarded company, independently verifying our commitment to you.
Dave has substantial experience in commercial building surveying advice, particularly in respect of the repair and maintenance obligations and strategic dilapidations advice for property owners and occupiers, including the preparation of planned preventative maintenance programmes.
He is an expert in preparing and negotiating dilapidations claims, pre-acquisition due diligence advice for freehold and leasehold properties, and strategic planned preventative maintenance/lifecycle cost advice. He also has extensive experience of monitoring developments on behalf of funding institutions, project management and contract administration of maintenance alterations and refurbishment fit out works as well as construction health and safety advice (CDM).
Prior to joining Rapleys in 1993, Dave worked across a range of developments in both Central London and the regions at a city based, multi-disciplinary practice.
Dave was elected a partner in 2000.
With expansion plans well underway for the Building Consultancy Group, head of the Group, Justin Tuckwell, welcomes a new look line up to the Birmingham base.
This regional hub has gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months – including a move to a bigger and brighter space – and the variety of service offerings are showing no signs of slowing down, just like the city skyline surrounding them. Dan Tapscott, head of the Neighbourly Matters service, adds “the number of tower cranes is always a good barometer of development in a city and Birmingham is no exception. Our Neighbourly Matters service operates throughout our UK office network and we are now dealing with a number of developments in Birmingham and the Midlands delivering Rights to Light and Party Wall expertise in particular.”
Within the wider Building Consultancy Group, Josie Hayes, previously of Faithful+Gould, has joined Chris Barnett to lead the team and further develop key services to the existing client base and bring on new and valued clients.
Jason Mound sits within the team and provides development management consultant advice, which complements our other services in the Midlands such as planning, strategic land and development agency.
Collectively, the expertise available within this region and throughout the whole office network cover a full spectrum of building consultancy services, ensuring our clients projects can be fully supported by Rapleys and the client remains at the focus of every project.
Rapleys is delighted to welcome several new faces this month, including three new partners to the business – Simon Matley, Will Maby and Adam de Acetis.
Simon Matley joins the Manchester office working within the Building Consultancy & Project Management team and brings a wealth of experience across all services within the sector. Combining experience and innovative approaches Simon is sure to assist in further expanding the services of the team over the North West and far beyond. Simon commented: “I am very much looking forward to working for a company focused on consultancy services and delivering a more independent interdisciplinary approach to clients. Together with my experience in the North West and Manchester markets I am excited to apply a national approach to business development giving the clients the consistent approach to service that is at the heart of the Rapleys ethos. Exciting times ahead!”
Will Maby joins the Viability & Affordable Housing department, which is a service increasingly in demand at Rapleys, to support Nick Fell and the wider team. The specialist experience Will has garnered during his career to date will be invaluable to Rapleys’ clients, focusing on strategic valuation advice to private developers as well as registered providers. Will adds; “I am delighted to have joined Rapleys in what is an exciting period of growth for the business. I am very much looking forward to contributing to the further expansion of the Viability & Affordable Housing team.”
Also joining the business, Adam de Acetis brings unrivalled asset and property management experience to the Corporate & Investor Management team based in London. Adam will identify and execute added value opportunities for Rapleys existing clients, whilst providing senior resource to generate and support the growth of the client base. Adam comments: “Rapleys are at an exciting stage with their positioning in the market place. They have an excellent platform and superb people and I look forward to being involved in the next phase of Rapleys progression”.
Robert Clarke, Senior Partner, added: “I am delighted to welcome Simon, Will and Adam to the business. They are proven professionals and will, undoubtedly, add value to our client base, whilst further extending our service lines across the UK. Their appointments underscore the ongoing growth, and reach, of Rapleys.”
A Right to Light is an easement where apertures, such as windows and doors, can acquire or be granted rights that are protected by law. If additional massing is proposed close to any neighbouring apertures, it is very possible the light loss may be considered to be actionable.
Such actions range from simple conversations with the development site owner, to formal negotiations and can even go as far as needing the input of the courts. One of the more formal means by which to finalise any dispute over Legal Rights to Light is via the use of a Summary Judgement. This simply is a request to the court to decide on the issue without the need for a trial.
The recent case of Beaumont Business Centres Ltd v Florala Properties Ltd brings the use of Summary Judgements back to the forefront. In this case a Summary Judgement was sought by the property developer to finalise the dispute with the neighbour.
During this, the property developer made reference to a deed between the objecting party and their former and present Landlords. This stated that should light loss occur as a result of an increase in height of the development property, the former Landlord and objecting party (tenant) would have the right to negotiate a settlement.
The property developer felt that this clause highlighted that the intention of the objecting parties were to use this claim for monetary gain, rather than to protect their right. The seeking of monetary gain rather than preserving rights can threaten the ability to seek an injunction. As a result, the developer felt that an injunction was not the appropriate remedy in this case.
It was the courts decision that the clause did not remove the objector’s right to a full hearing on the matter of an injunction. It however, did not go on to pass comment on the likely outcome of such a trial. The courts interpretation of the deed in question was that its purpose was to make clear the beneficiaries of any negotiated settlement, rather than to only confer the ability to seek financial settlement.
Two distinct perspectives can be drawn from this case:
- For all property owners seeking to protect their rights against the impact of new developments, this is a win, with another case preserving the right to make a claim for an injunction; and
- Conversely, the property developer in this case is clearly knowledgeable enough to know the importance of the intention of the objectors claim. They took their time to understand and form an opinion on the objector’s deed, arguably using everything at their disposal to allow the development to go ahead. The area of Legal Rights to Light can easily be a minefield for less knowledgeable developers.
Clearly, the area of Rights to Light remains a challenging territory for development and growth, with the scope for a greater amount of cases to lift the veil on the multiple grey areas. With the subject of Rights to Light reform having been sidelined by the Government for the time being this case illustrates that each case is different and requires detailed, expert advice from the outset.
For further advice on Rights to Light or other Neighbourly Matters such as Daylight & Sunlight Amenity, Party Wall or Access Arrangements such as for crane oversail or scaffolding licences, Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team who operate throughout the UK will be well placed to assist. Contact either Natasha Bray or Dan Tapscott.
Following the release of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) earlier this week, teams across Rapleys have been reviewing and digesting it all in depth. Further to the immediate Planning team response, one particular section of the new policy which has caught the attention of our Neighbourly Matters team is ‘Section 11: making effective use of land’. Dan Tapscott, Head of our Neighbourly Matters team comments:
“The drive for making better use of the land we have is a key aspect of this policy which makes specific reference to the importance of Daylight and Sunlight [para 123 (c)]. The Policy calls for local authorities to exercise a flexible approach when considering this subject. This translates to accepting compromise and levels of natural light that fall below recognised guidelines for both neighbours to development and the developments themselves.
Therefore the value and worth in getting maximum efficiencies in the design of schemes and delivering good quality design has never been more crucial. Encouragingly, our clients are increasingly embracing a reverse engineered approach via the use of envelope studies that can inform the design team of where the constraints and areas of sensitivity lie. I think the outcome of the NPPF’s comment on Daylight and Sunlight will inevitably see a rise in the requirement for detailed and accurate studies and therefore the benefits to all parties of a diligent approach from the outset are clear.”
Following Justin Tuckwell’s appointment as head of the Building Consultancy team in 2016, it’s been a strong period of growth across the entire network of offices.
Simon Harbour, based in Bristol, was recently appointed an equity partner in the business representing the Building Surveying function. This appointment further strengthens the determination to offer a comprehensive service to all parts of the South West and beyond.
The Neighbourly Matters service has a dedicated team with Dan Tapscott, appointed in 2017, leading the team and Natasha Bray heading up the function from the London office. The unique position of the Neighbourly Matters team, sitting within a wider Building Consultancy Group, can really benefit the client and sets them above and beyond others.
Twelve months since joining Rapleys Balvinder Sagoo has expanded his team in the Birmingham office and now has three more building surveyors, Chris Barnett, Josie Hays and Mohammed Afran. Birmingham, as well as the wider area, is showing great signs of regeneration and growth in construction so it has never been a better time to offer a full spectrum of Building Consultancy services on their doorstep.
In London, Paul Adams, former head of automotive and aerospace at Arcadis, has recently joined to drive forward the project management service with a particular focus on the retail and automotive sectors. In today’s market we are seeing the retail and automotive properties merging, and Paul’s expertise in this field will be a very welcome addition to the services Rapleys can provide, from conception to completion.
Jason Mound, started with Rapleys on 2 July to develop a new function within the Building Consultancy Group – Land Development Project Management. The focus will be on strategic land sites and Jason will offer management services through the full spectrum of development including due diligence, acquisition, delivery and estate management plus much more. Along with the Planning consultancy services and the Strategic Land team the offering to clients will be broader and offer the unique insights desired.
The Rapleys Healthcare arm of the Building Consultancy group has not slowed down either and has recently secured large instructions from Dental Partners, backed by August Capital and Colloseum Dental, further reinforcing Rapleys leading position in the dental healthcare market.
We are also delighted to welcome Matthew Bromley, former head of Building Surveying at RLB, who has been appointed to set up a new bid consultancy department focusing on public sector frameworks/commissions.
Rapleys is pleased to announce the introduction of Land Development Project Management services to developers, land owners, Local Authorities and investors on a national basis, complementing our existing service offering to the development market.
Jason Mound joins Rapleys to lead the Land Development Project Management service having previously worked with national regeneration specialist St Modwen Properties plc and since led Atkins Land Development consultancy, also having worked previously in design and build contracting.
Jason offers clients land development management services through the full spectrum of development including due diligence, acquisition, planning, delivery and estate management phases helping to optimise land assets. Jason’s key experience is in infrastructure planning and delivery, managing multi-disciplinary design teams and helping clients to de-risk their land assets, thus enabling land for development, whether through sale of serviced land parcels or joint ventures with housing partners.
This service, coupled with Rapleys strategic land and planning consultancy, offers clients a unique insight in bringing forward land for development. Jason is currently supporting master developers and land owners on strategic land developments across the UK.
Justin Tuckwell, Head of Rapleys Building Consultancy Group comments: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the services of Jason, a clear leader in his market. With Jason on board we are now able to offer a further service line to our client base throughout the UK.”
Within the Charities sector of Rapleys we have had a number of church buildings to sell recently. We have come to expect a strong response from a diverse range of faith groups when these redundant buildings are in a city. Lately, however, rural locations have proved to be equally stimulating in responses. This is some cheer when we are equally well aware of some churches that have been struggling to keep the doors open.
All around we see closures along the high street which have left empty retail buildings. Can we find a silver lining here? Usually a church does not want to relocate; location, location, location after all! However, by integrating our ecclesiastic specialists with other teams at Rapleys, between planning, retail agency and charities consultancy, we have a one-stop-shop formula that we are finding to be of great interest to clients.
This collective approach has resulted in a number of groups being introduced to empty retail units or warehouses. Out of town retail or commercial parks can be attractive where travel and parking can be easily provided, but the location remains close. In some cases we have considered shared occupation on different days of the week.
Rapleys are currently instrumental in working with a number of churches who have existing property suitable to facilitate the development of their site to gain new facilities. The sale of part of the site is the primary funder for a new church. Not everybody is so fortunate to have such circumstances however. Therefore, the acquisition of redundant buildings might be a worthwhile consideration as an opportunity, at a preferential price or at a reduced rental. In either case there is the likelihood of follow up with a change of planning use application and maybe a conversion to suit.
The creation of new space for church activity, possibly in support of the neighbourhood, demonstrates the integration of church life with that of its community. For example, we have recently agreed many tenancies for preschool companies.
Should anything in the above strike a chord and you would like to enquire further, please contact Graham Smith in the first instance for either an introduction to the charities consultancy or any other department at Rapleys.
We are pleased to confirm the following promotions (effective May 2018):
Simon Harbour – Building Consultancy & Project Management
Nick Fell – Affordable Housing & Viability
Neil Jones – Town Planning
Richard Huteson – Town Planning
James Porter – Building Consultancy & Project Management
Colin Arnott – Corporate & Investor Management
Alex Chambers – Building Consultancy & Project Management
Robert Clarke, Senior Partner, adds ‘I am delighted to announce these promotions. They underline the growth and ever increasing profile of the practice. I look forward to sharing our onward journey with them.’
Rapleys Rights to Light specialist, Dan Tapscott, examines whether a recent ruling in favour of Chelsea Football Club scores big or is an own goal for the property and construction industry.
Chelsea Football Club were granted planning permission by the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham for a £1bn redevelopment of their Stamford Bridge stadium. This will increase crowd capacity from 41,000 to 60,000, some 17,000 of which shall be hospitality seating. The increase in total crowd capacity will bring things in line with comparable venues in London, although the level of hospitality seating will be higher than elsewhere.
Chelsea claim that the development will “further enhance the economic, cultural and social services they provide”, including £6m worth of educational programmes, a £7m improvement to local infrastructure and an additional £16.3m spent on local businesses as 2.4 million people visit the area annually.
Infringement of Rights to Light
Meanwhile, the owners of a neighbouring property (situated the other side of the railway line, within the neighbouring Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) sought an injunction for an infringement of their Rights to Light. The neighbours had been in residence for over 50 years and the development was deemed as having “an unacceptable and harmful impact” on the windows and rooms directly facing Stamford Bridge. The neighbour was therefore seeking a redesign of the scheme to ensure that the Rights to Light enjoyed by their property were not affected to an unreasonable degree.
Chelsea Football Club were resistant to altering their design and had offered £50,000 worth of legal advice and compensation reported to be in the region of a six-figure sum but could not reach an agreement with the neighbour.
David & Goliath?
Broadly speaking, the Courts have been relatively biased towards awarding injunctions where injuries occur in the case of residential properties compared with commercial properties, where it is generally perceived as being more amenable in reaching financial settlements, but there have been exceptions. Therefore, on the face of it, the neighbours appeared to have a very strong case given the degree of infringement, their early objection and the fact they had occupied the property for so long; suffering the injury or moving away did not appear to be a viable option. Certainly the situation had something of a ‘David and Goliath’ scenario about it.
“Appropriated for planning purposes”
Chelsea Football Club pitched to the Local Authority that they invoked Section 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016. This is a simple but powerful piece of legislation whereby, if the local authority have or take an interest in the property, then it can be “appropriated for planning purposes” to assist with enabling the development to proceed for the benefit of the wider community. This effectively means that the neighbour is no longer entitled to an injunction and the levels of compensation are capped. In recent years developers for several large high rise developments in central London have asked the local authority to step in to assist in this manner but we have experience of this approach being adopted across the UK.
In this instance, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham appropriated the development site thereby giving the greenlight, subject to planning (and budget) for the development to proceed without the risk of injunctions arising from Rights to Light infringements. Developer 1 – Neighbour nil.
The outcome of this decision has caused some debate due to the emotive nature of the facts surrounding this matter. The neighbour having been in occupation for so long vs the clout of this development with a multitude of resources behind it seems unequitable to many.
Could the development have been designed in such a way to respect the Rights to Light of its neighbours? Was the area truly in need of an additional influx of people to bring further economic benefit and to ‘regenerate’ one of the most affluent areas of the country?
Need for consultancy advice
In our opinion this was quite a gamble and illustrates the benefit of early engagement with a Neighbourly Matters consultant early on to consider areas of risk and assist the design team to work around them if possible. Envelope studies using 3D models and specialist software are useful tools in the process. If working around the ‘at risk’ properties is not possible then other options can be reviewed rather than waiting to see what happens post planning. If the Local Authority had chosen not to assist then the re-design and knock on effect to the programme and project budget would have been significant.
The overall conclusion is that each case differs and we are not dealing with a level playing field.
Rapleys Neighbourly Matters team operate nationally and as well as delivering Rights to Light advice, also advise on Daylight & Sunlight Amenity, Party Walls and Access Arrangements such as for crane oversail and scaffolding licences. We act on behalf of developers and neighbours to development.
This week, the Court of Appeal case Knight v Goulandris  EWCA Civ 237 confirmed that service of a Party Wall Award via email immediately triggers the fourteen day appeal period, after which an Award is legally binding. The knock on effect of this not only means those who wish to appeal an Award in the County Court will have to get their skates on but construction work can start sooner than the traditional postal method of service.
This is the first major judgement since The Party Wall etc. Act (Electronic Communications) Order 2016 was published; the first amendment to the Act in 20 years. At the time this news was widely welcomed, although little or no guidance as to how things would work practically were available. The outcome for a large proportion of the industry has, frustratingly, been to just carry on as normal. By contrast, Rapleys’ Neighbourly Matters team are at the forefront of interpreting and utilising the positive attributes now at our surveyors’ disposal.
Our team deal with Party Walls and also deliver Access Arrangement services, such as crane oversail licences as well as Rights to Light and Daylight & Sunlight Amenity services. By using an advanced electronic signature system we are able to engross Awards and issue to our opposite numbers for signature, whilst an administrator issuing the document automatically acts as the witness. A simple move but it is proving very effective.
When acting on large scale and complex projects with multiple parties the feedback from our appointing owners has been universally positive. There is a reduction in paperwork and we are able to easily refer to and disseminate the information to the relevant members of the project team. Combined with other initiatives such as live project tracking updates, reviewing site progress via drone footage or using apps like FaceTime it has been easy to adapt and this working practice has become second nature. It would seem strange to revert back to traditional and slower work practices now.
Furthermore, whilst we have yet to encounter appointing owners wanting service of notices via the myriad of social media channels, we’d happily consider it. Provided all the relevant parties are in agreement to the method of service / receipt then it really should be a case of anything goes. A refreshing way of thinking and after all, collaboration and agreement is what we are all working towards in any Party Wall matter!
Dan Tapscott, partner in our Building Consultancy department and head of the Neighbourly Matters team, is also secretary of the Severnside branch of the Pyramus & Thisbe Club, an organisation who promote excellence in the field of Party Wall practice.
As Rapleys’ Neighbourly Matters service enters its second year, Dan Tapscott reflects on progress and growth. Based on the variety and exciting work undertaken over the last year, along with the key appointment of specialist Natasha Bray, 2018 is already shaping up well.
This niche service was established to compliment Rapleys’ existing services and to provide a dedicated offering to clients throughout the office network. The breadth of instructions over the first year of trading has certainly achieved what we set out to do and the future is looking bright. Here are just a few notable commissions that spring to mind:
- Party Wall advice on listed properties, new builds, subterranean basements and even an arena!
- Numerous Rights to Light analyses including a city centre redevelopment scheme with over 30 neighbouring properties
- Giving strategic Neighbourly Advice to student accommodation companies (notably a single scheme with 5,000 bedrooms planned)
- Providing Expert Witness work on a Daylight & Sunlight Planning appeal for the redevelopment of a Victorian prison into residential accommodation
- Investigating a boundary dispute project for one of our national roadside clients
- Providing Neighbourly Relations services, liaising with neighbouring occupiers on residential and retail schemes
- Entering into negotiations on a Rights to Light matter surrounding a Grade 1 Listed 18th Century retail property
- Appraising proposals for multi-storey developments, university lecture theatres, even a fire station!
- The negotiation of Access Licences for scaffolding and crane oversail to a busy, multi-occupied retail arcade
- Represented various nationwide retail clients throughout the Party Wall process during neighbouring development work
Along with publishing various articles and providing circa 30 seminars to clients, colleagues, consultants and developers, we have also recruited Natasha Bray (a Rights to Light and Daylight & Sunlight specialist in our London office) – it has been a busy and productive year.
As 2018 gets underway, appointments have already been confirmed amongst others, for a Party Wall job involving the SS Great Britain dock and surrounding area and a Rights to Light analysis on a 25 storey tower block. The ability to liaise with in-house colleagues from planners to agents, valuers to other niche specialists, in my opinion, really gives a great added value service for our clients.
We have ambitious plans for expansion with our ultimate goal of having Neighbourly Matters specialists in every office, giving Rapleys the greatest national coverage for this service. I am very optimistic for achieving this sooner rather than later and from the feedback received, so are our clients.
A common project objective is completing construction work as quickly as possible, but it is key to choose an appropriate form of construction that optimises time on site without compromising the quality of the design or the end product. Modular construction is the quickest means of delivering a new building and, with the latest technical innovations, is also capable of delivering high quality.
Modular construction, which involves buildings being constructed off site with pre-fabricated components, became popular after the Second World War when there was huge demand for new buildings – particularly dwellings – to replace bomb damaged structures.
While modular and pre-fabricated construction successfully satisfied the requirement for buildings to be completed quickly, a common perception was that the quality of finish, aesthetic appearance and durability were not so readily achieved. This point of view continued during the following decades with people typically associating modular construction with poor quality buildings such as cold, damp and draughty temporary classrooms.
However, over recent years technical innovation and advancements in design and production techniques have meant that modular buildings can now be bigger, more flexible and achieve higher aesthetic and quality standards. This has resulted in a resurgence in both popularity and acceptance.
A high profile recent example of the speed with which modular buildings can be completed is the temporary school, known as KAA2, which was required to accommodate 960 pupils following the Grenfell Tower fire. The new school, constructed of 210 modular units, was completed by modular experts, Portakabin, just 13 weeks after project inception.
While speed of construction on site remains the main advantage of modular buildings over more traditional forms of construction, the other benefits typically include:
- More programme certainty with construction being less susceptible to adverse weather conditions
- Improved quality control achieved through standardisation, repetition and fabrication processes being undertaken in a factory controlled environment
- Reduced cost through supply chain management, economies of scale and reduction of waste
- Brand consistency – particularly appealing for occupiers with a corporate identity eg. restaurant and retail chains
- Improved sustainability and environmental credentials resulting from reduced resource inputs and less waste material – the charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has reported that off-site fabrication can reduce waste on site by up to 90% when compared to traditional construction
- Provide suitable temporary accommodation on sites where major refurbishment or redevelopment is to take place on owner occupied buildings
While modular construction does provide clear benefits, there are also downsides that need to be fully considered and mitigated:
- Rigorous pre-planning is required to ensure that a coordinated and integrated fabrication and construction sequence is agreed at the earliest opportunity.
- Before fabrication commences, the design should be checked to ensure compliance with the brief. Design changes during fabrication, or worse still on-site, will be increasingly costly.
- A lack of coordination during the design and installation stages will lead to delays and cost increases that will negate the benefits of implementing a modular approach.
There are also other ways this construction method can be utilised if full modularity is not appropriate or viable. Elements of prefabrication, such as bathroom and kitchen pods, can be incorporated into more traditional building designs to derive some of the pros without the cons.
We regularly help clients find the best form of construction for their projects and project manage the instruction through to completion. If you would like any help or advice on your next construction project, please contact Alastair Bliss.
Rapleys is pleased to announce the appointment of Natasha Bray as senior associate to head up our London neighbourly matters team.
Earlier this year our dedicated national neighbourly matters service was launched, as overseen by specialist Dan Tapscott. Interest and demand for this service, which includes Rights to Light, Daylight & Sunlight, Party Walls and Access Arrangements, acting for both developers and neighbours to development, has been high leading to expansion.
“Commissions being worked on range across all property sectors and clients, both old and new to Rapleys, are providing excellent feedback. The neighbourly matters service is a great fit alongside existing multi-disciplinary property and planning consultancy teams, which really ensures clients get the best advice.
Natasha is an outgoing, highly experienced Rights to Light and Daylight & Sunlight practitioner who I am confident will play a key role as things develop.” says Dan.
Natasha states “I am ecstatic to be joining Rapleys and to play my part in further growing the expanding neighbourly matters team. Rapleys are very focussed and diligent in becoming a leading face in the neighbourly matters arena and I plan to continue driving this forward.
People are at the heart of everything we do as neighbourly matters consultants, therefore, the client has always been and will always remain our main focus.”
If you are or know someone who would be interested in discussing opportunities to work within our neighbourly matters team, please get in contact.
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations are due in six months time and are expected to have a significant impact for landlords and occupiers on private rented property in England and Wales.
From April 2018, the regulations will require all new lettings (including sub-lettings) to meet the minimum standard EPC rating of ‘E’.
The MEES regulations are likely to have the greatest impact on landlords of property, but occupiers will be affected too. These risks may impact lease event negotiations, investor/occupier demand, valuations and debt provision.
From 1st April 2018, the regulations will apply to the granting of a new lease and the renewal of existing leases. Landlords will be required to ensure compliance before the lease is granted.
From 1st April 2023, the regulations will apply to ALL privately rented property in scope of the regulations, including where a lease is already in place and a property is occupied.
Properties that do not require an EPC under current regulations will not be required to meet MEES (for example stand alone buildings less than 50m²). Moreover, MEES does not apply to short lettings (6 months or less) and lettings over 99 years or more.
MEES has a great potential to negatively impact property values as a consequence of:
- Reduced ability to attract and retain occupiers
- Reduced rental income
- Increased voids
- Additional capital required to bring the property up to standard.
Can you rely on your existing EPC?
A significant number of EPC’s were produced in 2008/9. Up until recently the requirements around the production of EPC’s was fairly loose, with a number of default values or assumptions being made. The quality of these early EPC’s is questionable. If you are reliant on an EPC produced between 2008 and 2015, then the risk of an inaccurate EPC is greater. The EPC could be poorly prepared which means the property falls foul of the MEES regulations unnecessarily.
Rapleys can help manage your MEES risk by:
- Undertaking a risk assessment of your property or portfolio
- Accurately assessing the current EPC rating of your property or portfolio
- Providing strategic advice of how to meet the minimum required EPC rating
- Aligning risk assessment with life cycle building data to enable informed strategy decisions
- Providing advice on how MEES impact your dilapidations liability and claims.
For any further help on your EPC risk assessment, please contact us,
As with any development, although you may have been granted planning permission, this does not necessarily mean you can build your proposal. A Right to Light is an easement, similar to a Right of Way.
If Rights to Light are ignored and your development negatively affects your neighbour’s property, it could lead to an injunction (stopping the offending part of the development being constructed or removing it) or potentially sizeable compensation further down the line.
It is therefore in a developer’s best interest to tackle Rights to Light matters early on.
In each instance three questions need to be asked:
1) Have the affected windows of the property acquired a Right to Light?
2) If a Right to Light has been acquired, will unreasonable interference be caused by the proposed development?
3) If unreasonable interference is likely, what is the most likely remedy; an injunction or damages?
Dan Tapscott leads our Neighbourly Matters team and recently wrote an article published in Daylighting Magazine which discusses the key factors involved in undertaking a Rights to Light analysis and how to limit objections from the neighbours of your development.
Click here to read the full article.
Contact Dan for more information.
Rapleys continues its expansion in the Midlands with the appointment of a new partner to establish and lead the Building Consultancy team in the firm’s Birmingham office.
Balvinder Sagoo joins from GVA where he spent 11 years, the last 5 as a director. He has more than 17 years’ commercial building surveying experience in the Midlands with his key clients at GVA including Aviva, ABB, Canada Life and CBRE Global Investors.
Balvinder’s skills greatly complement Rapleys’ existing Building Consultancy and Project Management offer, and he also brings with him a wealth of experience in the office and retail sectors for occupiers and investors.
Balvinder said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to join a progressive partnership with an established national team but with the remit to develop our building surveying business in the midlands.
My focus will be to complement our existing transactional and professional functions, more specifically refurbishment, fit out, dilapidations and technical due diligence. We will also be offering project management and cost consultancy, alongside traditional building surveying services.”
Rapleys established its Birmingham office last year with a retail & leisure agency and development team, and is looking to further grow in this expanding market in the near future.
Head of office Alfred Bartlett said: “I am delighted to have someone of Balvinder’s standing in the market joining the office and partnership. Our ambition is to grow the Rapleys offer in Birmingham to cover the full range of services to developer, investor, landlord and occupier clients. Balvinder’s appointment is part of the ongoing strategy to fulfill this objective.”
Proposed developments can cause uncertainty, even hostility, amongst neighbours, be it residents or businesses. If information is scarce, people often assume the worst. Dan Tapscott, who heads up Rapleys’ Neighbourly Matters service, has many years experience acting on behalf of both developers and neighbours, often dealing with complex and sensitive negotiations. This helps facilitate communication, avoid costly delays and even maximise development potential on sites.
Here are Dan Tapscott’s top ‘neighbourly’ tips when undertaking a construction project:
1. Know your neighbours
During planning, objectors will identify themselves; don’t ignore them and hope they’ll go away – the chances are they won’t. Understand why they are objecting and address their concerns. Using a neighbourly matters consultant can bring both expertise and impartiality when dealing with emotive situations.
2. Be neighbourly
First impressions matter. Take people’s concerns seriously and see if steps can be taken to alleviate them; painting a fence, trimming a hedge or adding some ‘business as usual’ signage can go a long way. A professional, such as a party wall surveyor, is well placed to listen and relay concerns back to a developer accordingly.
3. Know your legal obligations
Issues around access, proximity to boundaries and permissions to erect scaffolding, hoardings or oversailing cranes commonly crop up. Ignoring the law around these could lead to a costly injunction and time critical delays to a development. Employing an access arrangements adviser with knowledge of the relevant legislation can avoid these pitfalls.
4. Watch out for spurious claims of damage
There will always be those who will ‘have a go’ to see what they can get out of a developer. Keeping a photographic record of condition from the outset can allay fears on both sides and provide valuable information in the event of a dispute arising. Using an independent professional to undertake this work builds reassurance and trust
5. Avoid conflicts before putting a spade in the ground
A well thought out design can go a long way in tackling potential issues before they arise and therefore can greatly help in keeping neighbours ‘on side’. For example, using a 3D digital model of the development during the design phase can produce a ‘design envelope’ which takes into consideration aspects such as rights to light and daylight & sunlight, thereby reducing the risk of these issues occurring at a later stage.
In summary, think ahead and be considerate and proactive but, if you miss any of these steps, Rapleys are here to help.
For more information on Rights to Light, Daylight & Sunlight Amenity, Party Wall and Access Arrangements please contact neighbourly matters expert Dan Tapscott.
Rapleys will now offer Neighbourly Matters services after the appointment of leading specialist, Dan Tapscott. Dan, who joins as a partner, will establish and lead the national service offering from his base in Bristol and is looking to quickly establish a team across the UK.
The new department will help drive forward Rapleys’ long-term strategy to cement its position as one of the UK’s leading independent property and planning firms.
Focusing on rights to light, party walls, daylight & sunlight amenity and access arrangements, Dan will support developers in maximising the development potential on their sites from inception to completion. He will also be representing neighbours to construction projects to protect and preserve their assets.
The team has already begun to be built with Jo Colebrook joining as a graduate surveyor in January.
Dan states “I am genuinely excited to be joining Rapleys. They are focused and ambitious and their multi-disciplinary services compliment my skillset in the field of Neighbourly Matters perfectly.
Having gained experience on notable schemes over the past 10 years in the South West, I am looking forward to replicating this throughout the Rapleys office network and establishing our team as the go to provider of Neighbourly Matters consultancy services UK wide.”
Robert Clarke, senior partner at Rapleys, commented:
“I am looking forward to working alongside Dan. He has an excellent reputation in the market. His appointment demonstrates our ability to attract specialist, and quality, professionals to the partnership. He will lead our new service line in neighbourly matters. His skill set will complement our existing Building Consultancy and Town Planning teams, to the benefit of our client base.”
Rapleys is pleased to announce our new service offering Neighbourly Matters after the appointment of leading specialist, Dan Tapscott.
Dan will lead a newly established national team focusing on all Neighbourly Matters issues including rights to light, party walls, daylight & sunlight amenity and access arrangements. Dan will support developers in maximising the development potential on their sites from inception to completion. He will also be representing neighbours to construction projects to protect and preserve their assets.
Increased development activity which can be seen in all regions and cities means that Neighbourly Matters issues are becoming more prevalent, both for those planning and developing their property portfolios and for those on the other side of the fence. Seeking the advice of a Neighbourly Matters expert early on can help to reduce the delays, costs and disputes further down the line.
Currently based in the Bristol office, Dan is looking to expand his team quickly to ensure full coverage across the UK. The team is already growing, with Jo Colebrook joining the Bristol Building Consultancy team in January.
With Dan’s appointment, Rapleys can now offer the full scope of Building Consultancy services to clients.
Dan states “I am genuinely excited to be joining Rapleys. Their multi-disciplinary services compliment my skillset in the field of Neighbourly Matters perfectly.
Having gained experience on notable schemes over the past 10 years in the South West, I am looking forward to replicating this throughout the Rapleys office network and establishing our team as the go to provider of Neighbourly Matters consultancy services UK wide.”
For more information on any Neighbourly Matters services or for advice in this area, please contact Dan Tapscott.