Everything starts with a floor plan. And with ever-changing demands put on landlords and tenants, having up-to-date floor plans of your property will help develop long-term strategies.

In particular, there are two key milestones looming for all in real estate; fire safety regulation changes and minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) legislation changes.

Fire safety regulations 2022 come into force on 23 January 2023, and MEES legislation, stating that every lease in England requires at least a minimum E EPC rating, applies in April 2023. Director of our measured surveys service, Tom Pugh, looks at both regulation changes and where Hollis can help to ensure you have the correct data to stay compliant.

It is surprisingly common for floor plans of properties to be out of date and not reflect recent alterations. Existing information can vary in quality and often don’t provide consistent information across a portfolio, causing potential issues, confusion and delays.

Let’s look at the fire safety regulations…

Following the Grenfell Tower inquiry and requirement for a change in the law, the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 were introduced to improve the fire safety of apartment blocks in both a practical and cost-effective manner proportionate to the risk of fire.

Legislation confirms that for high-rise multi-occupancy residential buildings over 18 metres in height, responsible persons must provide their local Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) with up-to-date electronic building floor plans and place a hard copy of these plans, alongside a single page building plan which identifies key firefighting equipment, in a secure information box on site. Requirements vary slightly depending on the building height, with the most extensive applying to buildings over 18 metres.

These regulations make it a legal requirement for responsible persons to provide information to the FRS to assist them plan and, if required, provide an effective operational response.

…And what about minimum energy efficiency standards?

The entirety of real estate is looking at ESG, from private landlords to portfolio owners, and whether their assets are future proofed. And for many, this means making necessary upgrades to get to this position.

Property ESG certifications are quickly moving from a nice to have, to a must have including the likes of LEED, BREEAM and NABERS which measure a buildings’ environmental performance.

One initiative on the minds of all is the minimum energy efficiency standards. Seen as a significant change for the property sector, from April 2023 buildings with an EPC rating of F, G or below must not be let even where there is an existing tenancy. With the minimum requirement expected to rise in 2027 and again in 2030, commercial property owners will be looking at how to make necessary refurbishments to increase their rating. However, are the measurement plans in place to support these refurbishment strategies?

Whether looking at ESG refurbishments or fire safety requirements, it is essential to have good data to work from, both for you and your contractor’s benefit.

Measuring a future proofed space

As we look ahead to the UK Government 2050 net zero carbon target, thermal models will need to be produced to inform refurbishments that help buildings meet the upcoming target. And once a contractor is later appointed to undertake the work, they will need the appropriate drawings to complete the project. Understanding the level of detail contained in the plans you need depends on the work you are planning to undertake. For example, if we look at ESG refurbishments, do your measurement plans incorporate the below considerations?

  • LED lighting: does your plan show where the lights currently are?
  • Solar PV: have you got enough roof space for solar panels?
  • Roof lights: do you know where your skylights are to make room for solar panels?

If you cannot answer these questions, then it is likely you do not have complete data to reach these ESG goals. This is where we can help. Through our reactive measured survey service, we are able to prepare drawings that are tailored to meet specific client needs. A complete re-survey may not be required; with our in-house expertise, we can assess the data you already have, validating it to ensure it is accurate for the needs of the project.

Reporting made easy

Once you have completed your measured survey, you have the up-to-date data which can be beneficial for other purposes, past that of your ESG refurbishments – for example, for other leasing and asset management initiatives.

We can provide plans with varying levels of detail, from basic plans showing the internal layout to detailed floor plans showing every switch and socket, however it is worth considering the use of your future plans. Whilst requiring a higher initial expenditure, more detailed data can be used for a variety of options and may reduce the requirement to collect additional data and incur further costs if only a basic level of detail is captured initially.

If you would like further information on our measured surveys service, or how to get the most from your real estate, please get in touch with Director of measured surveys, Tom Pugh.