Award winning chartered building surveyors

Our commitment to the residential sector is unusual among our peers as the majority of our surveyors almost exclusively provide these services to the residential sector.  As a result, our surveyors are familiar with the nuances and challenges of the residential market which are entirely different to the commercial markets.  We understand that leaseholder liaison and communication is vital together with a sympathy that we are working on peoples’ homes.

Surveying Surgery Service – Triple S

The Triple S dovetails with a property managers monthly surgery / inspection.  It provides leaseholders, RTM’s, landlords and property managers with a regular site based on-tap surveying resource.

This service is available free of charge on blocks where Harris Associates are already involved and which have 15 units or more.  One of our surveyors accompanies the property manager on the relevant day that the property manager conducts his / her monthly surgery.  The aim of the Triple S is to provide initial up front advice and / or answer questions.

The idea behind the Triple S is to be able to offer some initial advice free of charge which may negate the need for further professional input and time charges.  This may involve inspecting flats where lessees have a concern or potential defect or it may include a simple walk around with the property manager identifying problems or defects with the main building(s) and providing initial advice on what to do first.

In essence the Harris Associates Triple S is a sort of triage or front line posting point where we can provide initial assessments and advice.

Building Surveys & Due Diligence

Building Surveys are undertaken for a variety of reasons including for the assessment of overall condition of a property, through to investigating causes of movement, cracking, leaking, dampness and so on.

Due diligence and pre-acquisition surveys are usually undertaken where advice is sought by a client on the condition of the building fabric prior to an investment or purchase of a property.  That investment may be an outright freehold or long leasehold purchase or it may be a short or medium term lease investment.  Irrespective of the nature of the investment an assessment of risk is of paramount importance and usually this type of survey would also include the identification of defects & remedial works, advice on any proposals / planned alterations and advice in connection with on-going maintenance liabilities.

CDM Principal Designer

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) came into force on 6 April 2015, replacing CDM 2007.  A Principal Designer is required to be appointed by a Client where a project involves more than one contractor and are responsible for the planning, monitoring and coordination of health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project.

The Principal Designer is also required to prepare and provide relevant information to other duty holders under the CDM Regulations and will also continue to assist the Principal Contractor during the construction phase.

For more information please contact Paul Stratful (paul@harrisassociatesuk.com).

Contract Administration & Project Management

A core part of our service provision involves us running capital works projects.  These range in value from sub £10K up to £3M+ across the residential and commercial sectors.  Typically, our involvement is split into Pre-Contract and Post Contract phases.

Pre-Contract

  • Detailed site inspections and investigations
  • Preparation of a detailed specification of works
  • Selection of suitable contractors for tendering
  • Collation of tender documentation
  • Tendering
  • Full analysis & recommendations

Post Contract

  • Placement of contract
  • Collation of formal contract documentation and overseeing signing
  • Chairing meetings and carrying out regular site inspections
  • Monitoring & administrating the contract works
  • Monitoring contractor (against parameters of programme, cost & quality)
  • Contractual financial management including valuations
  • Contract certification (including variations, payments, time related certificates)
  • Final accounting & sign off

For further details please contact Shaun Harris (shaun@harrisassociatesuk.com).

Defect Analysis

Our services in respect of this area of our business range from identification of a building defect, through to its remedy which will often require the preparation of schedules of repairs and overseeing the implementation of the works to completion.

We will undertake all investigation and exploratory work and will provide advice on options for repairs and costs.   Where required we arrange for other consultants to provide specialist advice.  We also select suitable and approved contractors and co-ordinate the works to completion.

Development Monitoring & Clients Agent

Acting on behalf of funders, investors and other project stakeholders, we advise and report on all aspects of a project including technical, financial, statutory, programming and legal issues.

Our primary role is one of due diligence, to ensure that our client’s interests are not exposed to undue risk as a project develops.  We carry out monitoring to ensure that quality standards are adhered to throughout the design and construction process and provide regular updates via a strict reporting procedure.

For further details please contact Shaun Harris (shaun@harrisassociatesuk.com).

Expert Witness

Shaun Harris acts as Expert Witness for both landlords and tenants, freeholders and leaseholders, primarily within the residential sector providing expert opinion in connection with the repair and maintenance of property, including planning and forecasting works and expenditure, procurement, management and execution of works contracts. All instructions, representations and opinions provided are done so in accordance with the RICS Best Practice Statement & Guidance Note.

For further details please contact Shaun Harris (shaun@harrisassociatesuk.com).

Fire & Flood Reinstatement Advice and Works Coordination

Working on behalf of freeholders and landlords and in close harmony with the insurance companies and the loss adjuster community we have over the years built a reputation for calm heads and efficient administration.  Whether a property has been fire damaged or flood damaged the key is to follow the process of reinstatement methodically whilst instilling a sense of steady speed.

We place a great deal of stock in working closely with all parties and communicating the how, the why and the when.  With both fire and flood reinstatement projects our involvement requires our teams to commit to higher than normal frequencies of on-site management and direction.

For further details please contact Liam Horton (liam@harrisassociatesuk.com).

Historic Building Expertise

With a large proportion of our work carried out in London, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to historic buildings.  Over 50% of the buildings that we are engaged to advise on are in excess of 100 years old, a high proportion will be listed and most are located in conservation areas.  Our Team is passionate about historic and listed buildings and about how best to maintain and conserve their architectural heritage.  Finding a balance of maintaining the old and making them accessible and relevant to modern lifestyles can be challenging and at Harris Associates we use our skill and expertise to iron out these conflicts.

When it comes to historic buildings we will always aim for the preservation of historic fabric and support the notion of repair rather than outright replacement.  External renovation comprising of façade repairs, cleaning, maintenance and restoration requires careful and appropriate specification of works, execution by a skilled workforce and using techniques and materials that fit with the buildings heritage and design.

Internal alterations and refurbishment will very often require careful integration of modern services and lifestyle and layout requirements with minimal intervention of the original fabric.  Specifically, satisfying modern statute (relating to fire escape, detection and alarm, building regulations and issues of accessibility) can be the toughest of conundrums to solve.  We have the experience of working with local heritage officers, building inspectors and risk assessors to find a workable solution that goes someway in satisfying all parties.

For further details please contact Shaun Harris or Steven McCormack (shaun@harrisassociatesuk.com) or (steven@harrisassociatesuk.com).

Landlord & Tenant Advice

Harris Associates provides independent advice to landlords and tenants on a myriad of L&T related issues. Often working alongside legal representation at due diligence or pre-acquisition stage we can advise on covenant liability, interpretation of specific clauses and provide practical advice and guidance by referencing the liability to the actual situation “on the ground”. We are also asked by agents and representatives of both landlords and tenants to carry out assessments, prepare reports and assist in negotiations either relating to disputes or where a lease is being assigned / purchased or surrendered.

Licences for Alteration

We provide advice and guidance to freehold and management companies, primarily in connection with residential mansion blocks, where lessees wish to carry out alterations to their flat or apartment that require a formal licence for alteration.

Our involvement differs from client to client but typically includes the following:

  • Initial review of tenant alterations
  • Liaising with tenant / tenant’s team to advise and agree “technical aspects”
  • Coordinate appointment of landlord specialists (if required)
  • Advise on Licence terms, including technical aspects, requirements for damage deposit, Schedule(s) of Condition, etc.
  • Carry out Schedules of Condition
  • Ensure that all documentation is in place ahead of works commencement
  • Ensure tenant has satisfied the requirements of the licence
  • Carry out third party checks such as reviewing contractors insurances
  • Where required, monitor and inspect the works regularly
  • Sign off works on completion
  • Sign off and check Schedules of Condition
  • Ensure all documentation is in place and that works have been carried out in accordance with the Licence to Alter

Shaun Harris, is also engaged by clients to compile and draft leaseholder guidance relating to tenants’ proposals for carrying out alterations. This service often involves re-writing existing guidance and modernising the documentation to incorporate up to date best practice, regulatory and legislative stipulations.

For further details please contact Shaun Harris (shaun@harrisassociatesuk.com) or Mazhar Farid (mazhar@harrisassociatesuk.com).

Party Wall Matters

We act as the Appointed Surveyor on behalf of both Building Owners and Adjoining Owners and our expertise sees us active in the commercial office, retail and residential sector.  We have a dedicated Neighbourly Matters team that takes the lead on our party wall and other boundary related dispute services.

For further details please contact shaun@harrisassociatesuk.com

Planned Maintenance Programming (5, 10, 15 & 20 years)

The formulation of a Planned Maintenance Programme (PMP) gives the building owner and / or maintenance provider a management tool which can be used to set in motion a maintenance and improvement strategy.  Having a PMP in place is the keystone to ensuring that the requirements of the property are understood, the necessary works are planned for and a sustainable financial plan is adopted.

Lease obligations, best practice, technological advances, financial parameters, services provision and legal constraints are among the factors that need to be considered when drawing up a PMP.  It is also imperative that as chartered building surveyors we are not overly dictorial but moreover we concentrate on working with our clients to ensure that any PMP remains flexible to the clients sometimes changing priorities.

Reinstatement Cost Assessments (RCA’s)

The regular and cyclical review of the sums insured for fire reinstatement purposes is vital to ensure that the property rebuilding cost is accurate. Under or over-valuation can result in over exposure to unnecessary risk. We have the experience and expertise to carry out fire insurance valuations whether the building be a grade 1 listed townhouse, a mixed use town centre office and shopping centre or an out of town science park.

Statutory Approvals – Planning/ Building Control/ Listed Buildings

Our core services see us working on some fabulous buildings, many of which are listed and / or architecturally outstanding.  Our Design team will very often take the lead on projects where statutory consents are necessary including building control approval, listed building consent, conservation area consent and planning permission.

The complexity of a specific project will dictate the detail and scale of the submissions to achieve the required consents.  We have a wealth of experience in dealing with a wide range of projects including office to residential conversions, extensions, major window replacement schemes, over-cladding of 1960’s blocks through to smaller apartment reconfigurations and small scale alterations.

We also work alongside some market leading Approved Inspectors to ensure that Building Regulations standards are complied with, yet we often consider alternative solutions to satisfy the relevant guidance without compromising compliance.

Transition Services

Our transition service will be of interest to developers, freehold management companies and residential property managers.  This bespoke service provides a smooth transition from development stage through to investment and the property management function.

Amongst other things this service saves money, identifies potential shortcomings, provides a focus on planning for the future and ensures an effective handover of information at the conclusion of the development phase.

We have set out below the three stages of our transition stage:

Service Stage 1

  1. Terms & Conditions – formal service agreement
  2.  Start Harris Transition Manual (this is the start of the road map for the property)
  3. Design Review Stage

Service Stage 2

  1. On-going monitoring during development (to include build quality & design decisions)
  2. Harris Transition Manual updated throughout process

Service Stage 3

  1. Collation of key details and information from design team / developer
  2. Planned Maintenance Programme
  3. Harris Transition Manual becomes the Property Management Manual

The Manual will include the following:

  • Full Key Parties contact list
  • Warranties inc. Design & NHBC / Zurich
  • Statutory Approvals
  • Basic Plans
  • Full Drawing Reference Document & separate copies of the drawings
  • O&M Manual / Guidance
  • PMP including cost forecast
  • Maintenance & Procedures Guidance – i.e. scaffold / access / timescales / maintenance frequency / refuse management / means of escape
  • Input of info or cross reference to management company services / guidelines
  • Licence To Alter & Landlord & Tenant Guidance

Service Stage 4

9.  Retained as development consultant working with appointed managing agent

For more details please contact Shaun Harris (shaun@harrisassociatesuk.com).

Design