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Frequently asked questions

How often are fixed wiring tests required in commercial buildings?

Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and age and if your commercial property hasn't had a periodic inspection in the last 5 years or is due for an inspection please call Temple Property Services today on 020 7539 7262.


When should commercial air conditioning systems be inspected?

Air conditioning systems rated greater than 250kw should already have been inspected by an Accredited Inspector before 9th January 2009.

The new regulations require air conditioning systems over 12kw to have been inspected by 4th January 2011. However, if the system was put into service after 1st January 2008, then the 1st inspection must be undertaken within 5 years of that date and then every 5 years thereafter.  

How do I make sure my builder is competitive?

There are a number of methods for inviting bids from prospective building contractors on a competitive basis, although the most appropriate route will depend on a number of factors such as the amount of time available before you need to start the work and the extent of information which is available at the time you invite bids.

You will also need to consider the relative importance of the three principal criteria of design, cost and programme.

Where a project is complex in nature and has considerable time constraints (for example, if it is part of a sequence of projects in an occupied or otherwise complicated building), you may find it to be a benefit to pay a premium to a building contractor who has knowledge and experience of working on similar projects in that building.

Taking the most competitive bid, in this instance, may present a risk which ultimately leads to additional cost.

In an ideal world you will send out specifications and drawings which describe and illustrate the work in detail and appoint the successful candidate on the basis of a lump sum price.

It is likely that the most competitive prices will be obtained where the work to be priced and the basis of the contract are set out clearly and where sufficient time is given to contractors to obtain the best prices from their suppliers and any subcontractors.

On larger contracts, a projected cashflow and programme should be obtained early to compare the spend profiles.

However, circumstances may not always lend themselves to this approach and it may only be possible to make this selection on the basis of the amount of profit they wish to make and their quantifiable direct costs for running the site.

The costs for the work itself will then have to be negotiated, preferably using pre-agreed rates for the different materials and activities.

A combination of these approaches works well where there are a number of similar projects in the capital project programme, only one of which has been defined in any detail; the successful Building Contractor can, therefore, be instructed on the basis of a fixed price for the initial piece of work and then further fixed prices agreed on the same rates for subsequent project as details become available.

There is no ‘right way’ to procure a failsafe construction contract, but if you stick to the basic rule that you don’t commit to something until you know exactly what the work comprises, how much it’s going to cost and when it will be finished, then the risk of misunderstandings and conflict will be reduced.


How do people get Legionnaires' disease?

People can catch legionnaires’ disease by inhaling small droplets of water, suspended in the air, containing the bacteria. Certain conditions increase the risk from legionella, including:

  • water temperature between 20–45 °C, which is suitable for growth

  • a source of nutrients for the organism e.g. presence of sludge, scale or fouling

  • stored and/or re-cirulated water

  • creating and spreading breathable droplets of water, e.g. aerosol created by a cooling tower, or water outlets

What are the symptoms of Legionnaires' disease?

The symptoms are similar to those of flu, i.e. high temperature, fever and chills, cough, muscle pains and headache. In a severe case, there may also be pneumonia, and occasionally diarrhoea, as well as signs of mental confusion. Legionnaires’ disease is not known to spread from person to person. 

What is the difference between ‘freehold’ and ‘leasehold’?

If you purchase a freehold property, you will own the home and the land it is built on. There may however be a freehold company who owns the estate areas, such as communal car parking or garden areas. If you buy a leasehold property you are actually buying the rights to live in a property for a set period of time. You won’t actually own the structure, or the grounds it is situated on. Most flats are leasehold.

Contact Temple Property Services today for advice and assistance on freehold and leasehold properties.

How much will it cost to acquire a commercial property (additional to the purchase price or rent)?

Apart from your solicitor's fees and VAT, there will be some additional expenses just as there are when buying a home. There will usually be fees for making enquiries/searches of the local authority, etc. There may registration fees (if a company is entering into a mortgage or if the property is freehold or held on a lease over 21 years). There may be VAT and Stamp Duty to be paid. Current information on Stamp Duty thresholds can be found on the HM Revenue & Customs website –  

Contact Temple Property Services today for guidance on commercial properties

What payments other than rent is a Tenant obliged to make?

The Lease must be read carefully to check what financial commitments are involved. Usually the Tenant is obliged to pay towards the insurance of the building and if the premises form part of a larger building, the Tenant will most likely have to contribute towards the maintenance and running of that building. The financial implications of other obligations e.g. to repair or display signs etc should not be overlooked.

Contact Temple Property Services today for more advice and information