Low Rise Commercial Surveys

In surveying terms there are two main property sectors: – residential and commercial. Residential buildings are owned by private individuals – owner occupied properties.

By contrast, commercial property assets/buildings mainly operate as businesses. Commercial properties fall into six categories:-

  • Retail – shops, shopping centres.
  • Offices – large office blocks, mixed use.
  • Industrial – garages, manufacturing, logistics, storage.
  • Leisure – hotels, sports centres.
  • Public sector, schools, healthcare, education etc.
  • Residential.


Low rise commercial properties can be divided into the following age categories in a range of pre 1920s through to post 1980s.

Although building processes and techniques have and are still evolving, basic building principles remain the same. Basic concepts of load transfer from the roof through the external walls to foundations remains the same. The core of investing in such properties is examining these elements for structural integrity and water ingress.

Low rise residential properties are normally leased with internal finishes complete, but unfurnished. Tenant occupation is based usually on a fully repairing and insuring lease known as (FRI lease).

Service provision to low rise commercial properties comprise of:

  • Heating and hot water provision.
  • Electricity.
  • Water supply.
  • Fire detection.

Again, in general both retail and shopping centres will rarely extend above four storeys in height.

With traditional high street retail investment and also shopping centres, it is important the surveyor understands the investment aspirations of the client and client understands the maintenance implications of a particular type of building, ie listed buildings may require higher levels of maintenance and corresponding costs. We, therefore, inspect the following for both commercial and high street retail units:

  • Roofs.
  • Structure.
  • Facades.
  • Finishes.
  • Services.
  • External areas.
  • Legal/technical.

Particularly when inspecting Georgian or Victorian buildings, maintenance costs maybe be higher, especially if the assets are also Listed, and in a Conservation Area. Here our knowledge of period and Listed buildings can save the client money and time.

We quote on a bespoke individual basis for this type of building survey.

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