Robert is responsible for the operational delivery of a number of technical areas within our corporate & investor management team, including the formulation of all service charge budgets, leading in the calculation, verification, apportionment and cost analysis of expenditure, variance tracking, reporting and reconciliation.

Robert also oversees the mitigation of our clients’ legislative and regulatory ‘duty of care’ requirements relating to their estates. He has extensive knowledge across a number of statutory instruments including the control of substances hazardous to health, the regulatory reform (Fire Safety) order, the control of asbestos, pressure system safety, gas safety, fixed wiring regulations and lift operations and lifting equipment.

Robert joined Rapleys’ corporate & investor management team in 2015. Prior to this he has worked for number of different sectors including private practice, private trust and the charity sector.


Tom began working for Rapleys in September 2013 after completing his A levels. As a senior client accountant within the corporate & investor management department, the majority of his time is dedicated to the New Look Retailers portfolio which includes daily tasks such as processing head lease payments, ad hoc payments, raising tenant charges and managing VAT invoices. He also assists on the Ann Summers portfolio with tasks such as producing monthly client statements.

He has recently started studying for his AAT qualification with an online college. He is hoping to complete his studies as soon as possible to help with his development and offer the best possible service for the clients he looks after.


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.


Marcin is an Associate in Rapleys’ Planning team with over three years experience in both the public and private sector. Since joining Rapleys in December 2015, Marcin has been involved in a wide variety of planning projects within retail, commercial and mixed used developments and has developed strong planning and project management skills.

He is responsible for the preparation of planning applications and appeals, monitoring planning policy documents, organising public consultation events, and undertaking feasibility and planning appraisals (particularly in the convenience retail sector).

Marcin manages planning projects from conception through to completion, and has also represented clients at planning committees.



Adam is a general practice surveyor who joined Rapleys as a partner in September 2015. Adam runs a new department acting for clients in the charity sector.

His particular area of expertise lies in advising church clients on transactional work, lease advisory matters, valuations, development consulting and most areas of general practice.

Adam has vast experience advising churches on funding the replacement of existing, outdated church accommodation through residential development of part of a site. This usually entails an early involvement with regard to the feasibility and financial viability of sites, through to assistance in the disposal of the residential element paying for the new church accommodation.

Adam acts on behalf of a number of Diocese’s of the Church of England, the Thames North Synod of the United Reformed Church, Baptist Union and London Baptist Property Board as well as numerous individual churches.

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.


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.



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.’

Rapleys’ property and planning consultancy continue to deliver on their ambitious business development plan with the announcement of the latest office move for the Edinburgh team.

The team moves to Rutland Square this week, after a decision was taken not to renew the lease in Caledonian Exchange. The move provides Rapleys with superior accommodation that better suits their needs as well as a growing client base. By stepping over into EH1, Rapleys are at the centre of the commercial property market in the city and ultimately their valued clients will benefit from this accessible and vibrant location.

The key service lines offered from this hub are Town Planning, Corporate & Investor Management, Business Space, Retail & Leisure and Automotive & Roadside. With local knowledge and national insight from the wider network of offices the professional teams provide comprehensive property and planning solutions on a value-added basis consistently.

Colin Steele, Partner and head of the Edinburgh office, comments: “this move comes at a great time as we continue to expand the team and service lines available here from our Edinburgh hub. On a wider practice level, the last 12 months have seen many of our regional offices move up and on to better spaces, improving the environment for the benefit of colleagues and clients alike. It is great to align ourselves to the overall business development plan and we will continue to offer the excellent, local services that our clients value us for, from this new location.”

Robert Clarke, Senior Partner adds: “I am delighted with the new office space at Rutland Square. It is a recognised and established business address in the heart of the city. Needless to say, we look forward to welcoming clients to, and advising from, our new home in Edinburgh.”

Full contact details for Rapleys Edinburgh

8A Rutland Square
Edinburgh EH1 2AS

0370 777 6292

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.

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.”

As an Investor in People (IIP) awarded company, Rapleys is committed to our staff and their development. We are pleased to announce that we have continued to grow our team in the last three months with 10 new professional appointments.

Our new team members will allow us to better service our clients and promote new service lines across our office network.

Please click through to the full newsletter to meet our new team members and those who have been awarded promo

We will soon be 12 months from perhaps the most radical impact on real estate leases and property leasing strategy in over 60 years. January 1st 2019 finally sees the introduction of the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) IFRS16, and preparation will be important.

IFRS16 will bring all leases (as Lessee – Lessor accounting is largely unchanged) on to corporate balance sheets and thereby radically change the reported financial shape of many corporates, whilst introducing ramifications that no company should ignore.

Now is the time to engage with your accountants/auditors to review preparations for this wholesale change in the reporting of lease liabilities – and liaise with your real estate advisers to ensure you are armed with the data and specialist property knowledge that you will inevitably need to have to hand.

What are the changes?

After years of consultation, the IASB have finally implemented their proposals to secure greater transparency for companies’ leasing commitments in company reports and accounts, which will become effective January 1st 2019.

All lease commitments, which include those for cars, photocopiers, even jumbo jets and power plants, will henceforth be treated as a form of financing (and therefore debt) and will come on to balance sheets. Previously, real estate leases have predominantly been treated as ‘operating leases’ and their impact has been expressed only ‘in year’ as a rent expense in the P&L.

Every lease held by a company (with minor exclusions) will need to be appraised and will enter the balance sheet during 2019:

  1. as a liability, effectively a sum equivalent to the capitalisation of the rent liabilities for the unexpired term (at a company’s marginal cost of borrowing) and,
  2. as a ‘right of use asset’, initially a similar value.

The changes will see a significant expansion of a company’s balance sheet, but most significantly a potentially dramatic increase in debt, with a knock on effect for gearing and other ratios.

For companies with multiple leases, such as retailers and pub operators, this could have a significant impact on performance measures, share valuation, loan covenants, executive reward schemes, etc. Further impact arises from the way that the two sides of the asset and liability are ‘unwound’ over time, which impacts operating profits in the early periods, but enhances EBITDA. (Your accountants should offer advice on this matter).

So what does this mean for your portfolio?

We expect that the impact for real estate decision-makers will be far reaching:

Firstly, it will be critical to ensure capture of essential data regarding leasing commitments, which will now be required by auditors. The rent component of a contract will need to be separated from any ‘service’ elements (relatively easy for a traditional lease with rent and a service charge, but more difficult for inclusive leases).

Secondly, sound decisions will need to be made to justify treatment of lease breaks, options, rent reviews, indexed and turnover rents, when the ‘value’ of each lease is initially assessed. Reassessment later, because for example a break option is not, as initially anticipated, then exercised, could be at a cost.

Thirdly, in our view, the unforeseen consequences will need to be considered carefully. Some of these will relate to wider (non-property) impacts, such as breach of loan covenants, re-pegging of executive reward schemes, etc, but there will be a knock-on for real estate.

Possible consequences which need to be considered:

  • Will it drive more shorter term leases, to keep balance sheets in check?
  • Will it see a reduction in companies’ leased footprint overall, as more radical steps are taken to manage the balance sheet impact? (The serviced office providers and co-working operators are certainly banking on this.)
  • Will it further the pain for physical retailers when compared with their ‘virtual’ online competitors?
  • Will it drive more freehold ownership? If a company is to inflate the balance sheet anyway then why not own a real capital asset?
  • Will it drive different decisions in relation to future growth and the exercise of renewals and breaks, because accounting implications will now be added to existing operational considerations? (Some argue that greater cross-functional input from businesses will drive better decision making).
  • For international operators, might it push global locational decisions towards countries with favourable environments, that for example allow deductions of interest payments against profits?
  • Will past sale and leaseback decisions need to be reassessed, and existing leases renegotiated to lessen their accounting impact?
  • Will negotiating strength at a break or expiry be impacted because a counter-party can identify your intentions from your company’s report and accounts?

This will be a voyage to a new world for all.

Just as the introduction of tenants’ security of tenure (England & Wales) changed the relationship between landlord and tenant in 1954, so these changes will transform the way that lessees view and manage their leases in the future.

Rapleys is supporting our clients in undertaking thorough reviews of leased portfolios, to capture all relevant data and to drive early decisions around their initial and longer term accounting treatment.

We are experts in the proposed changes, having been involved in consultations at each step of the emerging standards since 2010.

Please call us if there is any aspect of these changes where you believe our knowledge and expertise may be valuable to you and your business.


Vacant property (and vacant land) is once again on the increase due to the slow down in the economy and the uncertainty Brexit has brought to the UK property market.

Whilst statistics might still point to relatively low current vacancy rates, we have seen a recent notable increase in vacant properties across all sectors.

It is therefore timely to take stock and ensure you are prepared and that properties are in the best possible state of readiness for sale or letting, anticipating more turbulent times ahead.

Vacated properties can have significant financial and risk management implications. From a financial point of view, accounting provisions under the new UK GAAP (Section 21, FRS 102) make the treatment of contingent liabilities for leaseholds more onerous and the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 (As amended) and other legislation places various obligations on owners of property.

Running costs

Fixed costs – Planning ahead is key in mitigating losses and a strategy to reduce these costs is needed. This may include income from temporary lettings to contribute towards the upkeep.

Utilities – Maintaining services in a vacant property can be costly and an early assessment to identify which utilities can be terminated and those services that it is necessary to maintain is important in managing running costs.

Impact on asset value

If the asset is not secured immediately (and monitored regularly) there is a good chance that the building may be systematically damaged, affecting asset value. Theft of copper and lead, as well as squatting and general vandalism such as graffiti can significantly impact asset value and prejudice insurance policies.

Increased costs of managing vacant properties

Property managers and owners can often be distracted from their core duties when managing vacant property. Vacant property management often involves issues which need to be acted upon immediately, which invariably means prioritising vacant property management over core activities (or employing extra EM/ FM resource to manage vacant assets).

Risk Management

Health and safety is a major concern for organisations holding vacant property as they need to ensure that the property is not only secure but safe. It is imperative that a Health & Safety Assessment is undertaken on any vacant property and land as soon as possible and any works identified as necessary should be instigated promptly. We have the experience to ensure that a cost effective, fit-for-purpose strategy is implemented for each and every vacant asset.

Rapleys can assist by providing a one stop solution for managing all aspects of your vacant property. Our Account Managers co-ordinate various services, act as a single point of contact and carry out financial and risk assessments so your team can focus on their core jobs.



The cost of construction is often the largest single component of a property development expenditure budget and accurate cost planning is an essential aspect of assessing a project’s financial viability.

Construction schemes are often complex affairs that require rigorous project management and clarity of approach to control costs, design development, contractor procurement and execution on site.

Besides assessing the financial implications of a developing design, a key aspect of cost planning is forecasting the impact of inflation on construction prices. Forecasting market trends can be difficult at the best of times but the current political situation with an impending General Election and uncertainty over Brexit presents further challenges.


The majority of construction components and materials used in the UK are imported. According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 61.6% of building components imported into the UK come from the EU. Consequently, a weakened Pound will result in currency induced cost increases. The same data reported that the construction material price index increased by 5.8% in the year to January 2017. However for some commodities such as slate, timber and steel, the increases are much greater.


Similarly, the UK construction sector also relies heavily on labour imported from the EU. RICS has recently warned that a hard Brexit and potential restrictions on labour movement would result in the industry losing more than 175,000 EU workers. Any skills drought combined with industry wage agreements would result in significant labour cost increases and even jeopardise the delivery of future projects.

Going forward

These cost increase factors could be countered to an extent by shrinkage in investor confidence and a subsequent fall in demand. Furthermore, contractor supply and capacity would increase as current projects are completed.

A cooling of the market would lead to contractors becoming increasingly anxious to secure their orders for 2018 and beyond. This could force them to reduce their margins and result in the balance of power shifting in favour of clients.

So while there is continued concern that the full ramifications of Brexit will not be fully understood for sometime, more competitive pricing in the next few years could present clients with clear opportunities to reduce their capital expenditure and procure construction projects more cheaply.

For more information on this or any other project management issues please contact Alastair Bliss.