How refurbished offices can help meet demand for commercial space
Lack of available commercial office space is impacting businesses across the UK, particularly regional companies in city locations such as Bristol, Edinburgh and Cardiff.
RICS’s Commercial Market Survey reveals that this is largely due to the UK’s growing need for additional commercial space. Increased requirement for new business premises is creating pressure on the market, with demand currently outstripping supply.
18% of chartered surveyors claim that the number of available commercial properties in the UK has fallen, which in turn, is forcing companies to come up with new ways to create space for their operations.
Creating new office space
Recent RCIS figures indicate that the commercial property market is performing well, with buyers enjoying good capital growth (particularly those who have invested in industrial premises). However, numbers of available UK commercial properties dropped by 35% in 2016, demonstrating that businesses need to start thinking outside the box, or risk missing out on growth potential.
Converting property for commercial use is an effective way to create new space, and may offer other valuable benefits too, including:
If you’re searching in a particular area and there’s not much available on the market, considering an alternative property for conversion immediately widens your options.
The ‘wow’ factor
As many developers have proven in the past, converting buildings such as warehouses, old factories or even residential properties can result in commercial premises that stand out from the crowd. For businesses that regularly welcome clients to their offices, this is a real bonus.
Ability to customise
Refurbishing space to create a new office offers a lot of design freedom, and the ability to tailor the space to suit your needs. This is especially advantageous for creative enterprises such as design firms, who want premises that reflect their business ethos.
Potential for capital growth
As with any form of conversion, if it’s completed to a high standard, it’s likely the property will hold its value, if not increase over time.
Bear in mind, you’ll need to apply for planning permission from the local authorities before commencing any work. Normally, most permissions are granted (or refused) within a few weeks. It’s worthwhile discussing your intentions with a planning officer before applying for planning permission – as they’ll be able to tell you if your proposed project is legally viable or not.
Improving Existing Commercial Space
Refurbishing existing office space isn’t as difficult or expensive as you might think, even if the décor is dated or damaged. Run-down commercial premises are generally cheaper to purchase, and offer considerable potential if you’ve got the available funds to improve the interior.
It’s important to remember that any improvements must adhere to health and safety regulations, and that all design partners working with you are aware of their obligation to adhere to the CDM regulations. Also, if you’re planning to make any significant structural changes – for example, adding partition walls, you’ll need to seek planning permission.