Does Twitter help SEO?

The answer is YES!

Research shows that up to 85% of users will click a company’s social media profile before clicking their website. From all the platforms we decided to focus, today, on Twitter. 

Let’s look at some of the statistics:

According to information available on the web, this channel boasts of 326M monthly active users; There are 500 million tweets sent each day and 6000 tweets every second.  The growing user commitment is a great opportunity for brands.

If numbers are anything to go by then, according to a Twitter survey, 54% of users reported that they had taken action after seeing a brand mentioned in Tweets (including visiting their website, searching for the brand, or retweeting content).

Let’s not forget the Google and Twitter partnership which makes many of the top tweets searchable. Neil Patel aptly points out that search engines use social signals from social media to rank your website. Likes, shares, and comments affect SEO in huge ways.

Here are a few ways you can start to take full advantage of the benefits of Twitter for SEO:

  1. Have a dedicated strategy to increase your following

  2. Add key words and key search phrases to your Twitter bio. Use these words periodically

  3. Show appreciation for those who forward your Tweets. Use @mentions to reference people when they engage.

  4. Retweet to help double your traffic

  5. Redirect users to your website by inserting backlinks to your content

  6. Engage with your audience

  7. Include images, videos and Gifs in your posts. They help the tweets to stand out 

 At Flashbulb we have been using Twitter to drive results for our clients. Get in touch to know more.

 

Logicor completes new letting with Lloyds Transport in Relay Park, Tamworth

Logicor has completed a new 10-year lease with Lloyds Transport at Tamworth85, an 85,000 sq ft building on Relay Park, B77 5PB.

Tamworth85 is a high-quality building in a prime logistics location. The strategically located business park is in a prominent position off Junction 10 of the M42, approximately 17 miles north east of Birmingham.

Mike Best, Director, Asset Management at Logicor, says: “We are delighted to welcome Lloyds Transport to the Logicor UK portfolio on a long-term lease”.

Logicor was advised by Savills, M1 Agency and Colliers.

Party Wall Compensation – Limited to Diminution Only?

Alistair Redler BSc FRICS, Delva Patman Redler

The Party Wall Act contains a number of provisions requiring a Building Owner to pay compensation to an Adjoining Owner.  This includes Section 1(7) compensating for “any damage to his property” S.7(2) “for any loss or damage”, and S.11(8) “paid to him in lieu of the carrying out of work to make the damage good”.  Where compensation is for physical damage this could be a simple matter of agreeing compensation based on the cost of repair but recent case law has made clear that is not necessarily the case.  The compensation can be limited by the actual diminution in the value of their property.

There are three key reasons why compensation could be less than the actual cost of repair.

The first is where the proposed action of the Adjoining Owner means that they would not actually incur the loss.  The key case Party Wall Act case is was Breuer -v- Leccacorvi 2011 where the Courts determined that the Adjoining Owner was not likely to suffer any actual loss because she had stated a clear intent to sell her property and would therefore be unlikely to undertake the repairs.  The repairs themselves would not result in a material difference to the price she would obtain for the sale. 

The second reason is where the damage is very minor and insignificant to the property value or where the affected surfaces were already clearly defective prior to work commencing.  Whether compensation should be paid for relatively minor damage does depend on the nature of the Adjoining Owner and the practical impact on them.  For example, where minor defects are caused to a commercially rented property or where an Adjoining Owner can be expected to undertake redecorations in the very near future anyway, then there may be no effective loss.  It could be that there should still be a payment for redecoration but not additional costs for moving out and alternative accommodation.  However, if the Adjoining Owner is a domestic owner in occupation not intending to sell, it would not be appropriate for them to have to live with cracks in a wall or damp staining when such defects did not exist originally, simply on the basis that if they were to sell, then there would be unlikely to be any material difference in the sale price they would obtain.  Surveyors should deal with the actual facts of any particular case and a residential owner with rooms in good condition before works started should be entitled to have their property returned to that condition if damage is caused. 

The third reason is where there is more than one effective remedy open to an adjoining owner and they should choose the lower value option.  Other cases outside the Party Wall Act, particularly those in contract, have accepted the principle that damages can be limited to the actual diminution in value to a neighbouring owner.  For example, whether negligence that resulted in a factory burning down required payment for the factory to be fully rebuilt, and whether a swimming pool built slightly shallower than contracted required payment of the cost of making that pool deeper.  In each case, the decisions have been based on the full facts. 

This issue was recently raised in the case of Lea Valley Developments Limited -v- Derbyshire 2017.  The Building Owners’ works had caused such substantial damage to the Adjoining Owners’ house, which was rented out as flats, that it required demolition and rebuilding.  The issue in dispute between the parties was whether the building owner had to pay the full cost of reconstruction or should have the damages limited to the actual diminution in value of the Adjoining Owners’ land.  The Building Owner assessed the difference between the value of the Adjoining Owners’ property prior to work commencing and with a severely damaged building on it and argued that the compensation should be limited to the difference between the two which was substantially lower than the cost of demolishing and rebuilding.  The Court held that this was a matter for the appointed surveyors to determine and not the Court. 

In such cases, the key assessment to be made by the surveyors is what action is needed to restore the Adjoining Owner to the effective position they were in prior to the damage being caused.  Lea Valley Developments were seeking to argue that Mr Derbyshire would have been adequately compensated if he had simply sold the plot of land and obtained that payment plus the diminution in value between that sum and the original value of the undamaged site.  What that argument misses is that an investment property has both a capital value and a revenue stream.  Where an investment property is damaged such that it cannot be let, then the remedy needs to restore to the Adjoining Owner a rental property of appropriate capital value that provides an appropriate rental income.  Therefore, the alternative assessment of loss needs to include the costs involved in selling the plot of land, acquiring a suitable similar property and tenants, including all costs involved in achieving that, as well as the difference between the purchase price and the sale price of the damaged land.  That could be similar to, or higher than, the cost of demolishing and rebuilding on the same plot.

The issue for party wall surveyors therefore is to properly assess the full circumstances rather than simply find excuses to limit a compensation payment to less than the reinstatement cost.  The starting point should be the reinstatement cost and then consideration given to whether any mitigating circumstances would equitably result in a reduction.

Property investment joins the 21st Century: Trends, technology and international investment

The International Property Investment Network (IPIN) warmly invites you to join them for a fascinating evening of insights and ideas from the interweaving worlds of property investment and financial technology. You’ll hear from the exciting new companies that are shaking up the way that large property players pick assets and are creating the platforms that allow individuals to invest internationally like the pros, and also from the experts who have been living and breathing real estate for decades, and on whose experience and expertise these exciting new developments are building.

We’ll be discussing what markets and sectors are hot now and look good for the future, giving you the chance to voice your own thoughts and put questions to our speakers and panel during the sessions, and to make new connections and swap ideas during our networking and drinks before and after the formal section of the evening’s agenda.

For this event we’re excited to have joined forces with We are Fintech, one of the UK’s largest and most established Fintech Meetups, and are very thankful to Baker Botts LLP for sponsoring the event and providing their fantastic City office as the venue, and to Pionr, the global marketplace for real estate investment, for organising the event.

Here are some of the areas that we’ll be looking at:

·         Where is technology moving, and how is this affecting the way that investments in real estate are made and managed?

·         How can individuals invest in international property safely and transparently?

·         Which real estate sectors and geographies are attracting the smart money?

·         What are the biggest threats and opportunities presented by the current global economic outlook?

·         Can investing in international property be a sensible way to protect your wealth against falling markets?

·         What effect can we expect from Brexit on the real estate market?

·         And many more…

Speakers and panellists include:

Malcolm Frodsham, Director, Real Estate Strategies

Malcolm has 20 years of experience in real estate data, modelling and risk management techniques.  He founded Real Estate Strategies in 2013, an independent management owned business that provides high quality forecasts, research and strategic consulting on the European real estate market. Prior to Real Estate Strategies, Malcolm was Director of Research at IPD and prior to that Head of Research and Strategy at Legal & General Property.

Jonathan Wiggin, CEO & Founder, Pionr

Jonathan is an award-winning entrepreneur, strategic advisor and mentor, with extensive experience in technology, investment, real estate and emerging markets. He has directed gold mines in the Arctic, developed properties in the Balkans, and was part of the team that created and listed the first publicly-traded forestry company in Russia. He’s advised and mentored multiple tech companies, facilitating the sale of one business to Facebook. A graduate of the University of Oxford, he is fluent in Russian, Serbian-Croatian, Italian and French. Pionr, the new global marketplace for property investment is his most exciting business to date, created to disrupt the multi-trillion-dollar real estate investment market.

Olly Freedman, Sales Director, Datscha

Olly has 13 years experience working in Commercial proptech in the UK, Sweden and Finland. He joined Datscha in 2014, and is a Member of the RICS with an MSc in Information Systems and Technology and has lectured at Cambridge University on the subject of proptech. Datscha is one of the world’s pioneering proptech platforms which has become renowned for its ability, through its comprehensive data sources, to reveal the ultimate owners of commercial property.

To attend this free event, click here.

 

Avison Young maintains position as Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club member

Commercial real estate firm recognised eight consecutive years for overall business performance and sustained growth

Avison Young, the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, announced today that it is a 2019 winner of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation, having retained its Best Managed designation for eight consecutive years.

Sponsored by Deloitte Private, CIBC, Canadian Business, Smith School of Business and TMX Group, the Best Managed program recognises the best-in-class of Canadian-owned and managed companies with revenues greater than $15 million demonstrating strategy, capability and commitment to achieve sustainable growth.

Every year, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies compete for this designation in a rigorous and independent process that evaluates the calibre of their management abilities and practices.

Now in its 26th year, Canada’s Best Managed Companies is one of the country’s leading business awards programs, recognising Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative, world-class business practices.

The announcement was made today in a Deloitte-issued press release and in Canadian Business and Maclean’s magazine.

“On behalf of the board of directors of Avison Young, our employees, our clients and our partners, we are humbled to achieve Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club status once again,” comments Avison Young Chair and CEO Mark Rose. “This recognition not only highlights our company's success in our Principal-led growth strategy and management approach, but also the expertise and commitment of our employees, our collaborative culture, and our continued focus on pursuing innovation and investing in meeting the needs of our clients.”

Rose continues: “As a company that was founded in Canada and now operates in 20 countries, we couldn’t be more proud to receive this award, and we thank Deloitte and the other award administrators for recognizing Avison Young among a distinguished group of Platinum members.”

Over the past 10 years, Toronto-headquartered Avison Young has grown from 300 real estate professionals in 11 offices in Canada to approximately 5,000 professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries.

“Companies that earn Platinum Club status exemplify exceptional vision and leadership and a sustained commitment to growth and innovation,” says Dino Medves, Senior Vice-President and Head, CIBC Commercial Banking. “CIBC is proud to recognize these and all of the 2019 Canada’s Best Managed Companies as leaders in their industries.”

In July 2018, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), one of Canada's leading institutional fund managers, made a C$250-million preferred equity investment to accelerate Avison Young's strategic growth plan. In October 2018, Avison Young opened its first office in Asia, in Seoul, South Korea; and in February 2019, Avison Young acquired U.K.-based GVA in a transformational deal that established Avison Young as the only privately held, Principal-led, global, full-service commercial real estate services firm.

“Winning this prestigious award once is a clear sign that a company is performing to the highest possible standards. However, when a company receives the award for eight consecutive years, it becomes apparent that the company has raised the bar and established an entirely new set of standards for its industry,” says Michael Keenan, Avison Young Principal and Managing Director of the firm’s Vancouver, BC office. “While winning this award is a source of great pride for all of us at Avison Young, what it means for our clients is that they can trust us.”

Applicants are evaluated by an independent panel of judges comprising representatives from program sponsors in addition to special guest judges. The 2019 Best Managed companies share commonalities that include a clear strategy and vision, investment in capability and commitment to talent.

“This year’s Best Managed winners are a testament to the success found when businesses invest in talent, innovate intentionally, and think long term,” states Lorrie King, Partner, Deloitte Private and Co-Leader, Canada’s Best Managed Companies program. “These companies should be proud of this achievement, and their responsibility in acting as role models for other Canadian businesses.”

The 2019 winners of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies award will be honoured at the annual Canada’s Best Managed Companies gala in Toronto on April 17, 2019. On the same date, the Best Managed symposium will address leading-edge business issues that are key to the success of today’s business leaders.

Avison Young board member Carol Johnson notes: “In this competitive environment, our employees and clients require sustained and exceptional business performance – achieved through a clear vision and strategy, executed with strong investment partners and a commitment to excellence. Avison Young continues in this spirit, taking bold actions to build a differentiated company that can deliver on the promises we make to our stakeholders. We especially want to thank our clients, Principals and partners who believe in us and work courageously to deliver every day.”

Adds Jason Sibthorpe, Avison Young Principal and President of the company’s U.K. region: “Avison Young will always be a business that is defined by its culture, putting our people and our clients at the heart of everything we do. We strive to be creative, innovative, diverse and inclusive.  Whilst this is a Canadian award, our familial and professional ethos cascades across the entire international business, and we are all so proud to have such recognition and to share in the kudos of such an important accolade.”

PEOPLE-FOCUSED WORKPLACES ARE CENTRE STAGE IN THE WAR FOR TALENT

Attracting and retaining talent, as well as maintaining employee productivity is becoming a real concern for organisations, according to a survey carried out at the 12th Property Directors Forum, hosted by Avison Young.

Adopting more ‘flex space’ will be key in talent recruitment and retention, as will improving company’s employee feedback process and the inclusion of employees in decisions that influence how the workplace is run.

The survey, carried out by occupier property directors, identified a people-focused divide in workplaces, with 10% of respondents stating that their firm did not measure employee engagement at all and 57% only measuring employee engagement through a simple question in an annual HR survey. Only 32% of respondents were found to have a dedicated employee engagement tool. 29% of those surveyed have an employee advisor group and 14% are regularly asked to contribute ideas as part of a monthly review.

Jason Sibthorpe, Avison Young’s Principal and President, UK comments: “One of the striking takeaways from our latest Property Director’s Forum is the putting aside of technological advances that have been hot topics over the last couple of years. What employee satisfaction appears to boil down to is the simple things like employee engagement, offering clean facilities (nice loos!) and providing simple perks like tea and biscuits.

“In keeping with the employee engagement theme, the results of the survey suggest that employers need to invest in flexible and people-driven spaces to create more productive and appealing workplaces in order to retain talent,” Jason adds.

On attitudes towards the move to flexible working, the survey found:

  • 57% agreed that flexible space is an appealing environment for employees, with 50% agreeing that flexible space makes attracting and retaining talent easier

  • 39% agreed that flexible working improves employees’ mental well being

  • 62% agreed that the use of flexible space in their real estate portfolio will increase in the next 5 years

Jason concludes: “With the majority of our respondents concerned about attracting and retaining talent, we need to go back to basics. As well as keeping abreast of the latest gadgets and timesaving methods, we shouldn’t forget the need for employees to feel appreciated. A nice workplace, flexibility and a bit of facetime goes a long way in boosting employee productivity.”

The next Property Directors Forum will be held at The Royal Society of Chemistry, Piccadilly, London on Thursday 27th June 2019.

LOGICOR LAUNCHES LOGIC233 @DAGENHAM

Logicor has launched LOGIC233 @Dagenham, the largest available logistics unit within the M25, appointing DTRE, JLL and Savills as joint letting agents.

The warehouse space, totalling 232,965 sq ft is strategically located on the A13 corridor, an established East London industrial warehouse location, adjacent to the former Barking Power Station, recently acquired by the City of London Corporation, which is being considered as a potential for consolidation of three wholesale food markets, bringing further investment to the area.

LOGIC233 @Dagenham is available to let from May 2019. The warehouse space benefits from Grade A specification and unrestricted B8 use, with 12m clear internal height, lighting throughout, existing capacity for 6,840 pallets and a total potential racking capacity of 24,300-32,400 pallets.

In addition to the fully refurbished office space, the site has a 50m yard depth, 20 dock levellers, 3 level access doors and 49 5GV/trailer parking spaces, with 144 car parking spaces.

Mike Best, Director, Asset Management at Logicor, says: “LOGIC233 @Dagenham is a unique building providing 232,965 sq ft of high-quality warehouse pace in a strategic inner-city London location. As such, we have already received a great deal of interest in the newly available unit and we are excited to be formally brining this building to the market.”

Avison Young completes acquisition of U.K.-based GVA; two companies combine under Avison Young name and brand

Canada-based firm expands to 5,000 professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries; combination establishes Avison Young as the global, disruptive challenger brand

Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, the world’s fastest-growing, private and Principal-owned, global commercial real estate services firm, announced today that it has closed the acquisition of U.K.-based GVA, one of the U.K.’s leading and most diverse real estate advisory businesses.

Effective immediately, the two companies will combine under one unified brand: Avison Young.

The acquisition establishes Avison Young as the only privately held, Principal-led, global, full-service commercial real estate services firm. The combination also establishes Avison Young among the top five commercial real estate advisory businesses in the U.K.

To further promote the firm’s culture of partnership, Avison Young also announced today the post-acquisition leadership team: Avison Young Principal and U.K Managing Director Jason Sibthorpe becomes Principal and President, U.K.; GVA CEO Gerry Hughes becomes Principal and Managing Director, U.K. and Managing Director, Global Consultancy; and GVA Chair Andy Mottram becomes Principal and Managing Director, Europe.

As a result of the transaction, Avison Young now has approximately 5,000 real estate professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries. Avison Young adds offices in: the United Kingdom (London, Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Maidenhead, Manchester, Newcastle); Austria (Vienna); Bulgaria (Sofia); China (Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai); Croatia (Zagreb); France (Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Paris); Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki); Italy (Milan, Rome); Norway (Oslo); Poland (Warsaw); Republic of Ireland (Dublin); Romania (Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara); Russia (Moscow); Spain (Madrid); and United Arab Emirates (Dubai).

“This acquisition represents another milestone in our global expansion strategy, and the combination will better position Avison Young to serve our clients across the world,” comments Rose. “Furthermore, the acquisition establishes Avison Young as the global, disruptive challenger brand. We are now 5,000 strong, having nearly doubled our size and ability to provide clients with whatever they need, wherever in the world they need it. In GVA, Avison Young has added a like-minded U.K. real estate leader – a company that brings a partnership culture formed during more than 200 years in business.”

Rose continues: “The acquisition increases our scale and presence, expands our global talent pool and reach, and enhances the breadth and balance of our services. Most importantly, the combination increases the resources that we can invest in innovation to keep our clients ahead of the curve.” Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. As a result of the merger, Avison Young increases its revenue to 25 times its 2008 level to approximately C$1 billion.

GVA brings to Avison Young a broad portfolio of national and international clients, including U.K. public institutions, multinational corporations, major space users, developers, owners, lenders and investors.

The acquisition includes GVA Worldwide Ltd. – an international organization of licensed affiliate commercial real estate advisory companies with offices in 20 countries. GVA has 1,500 employees in 15 offices in the U.K., Ireland and Poland alone, and is a founding member and majority shareholder of GVA Worldwide.

The scale and depth of GVA’s offering is evidenced by the firm’s services organized around a client’s lifecycle of real estate: planning and development; project management and building consultancy; transactions; property management services; valuation and business rates.

“Overnight, the ambitious growth strategy that I set out for our business three years ago has been achieved, and we can now serve our clients as a global full-service business, with an enviably strong consultancy and transactional offer,” states Hughes. “The opportunities for our combined platform are vast, and I see one of the biggest growth areas stemming from the increasing trend for clients to seek strategic multi-consultancy real estate advice, which demands market intelligence, expertise and connections. The ability to provide such advice on a global scale is extraordinary and I look forward to helping to deliver that potential.”

He adds: “To say I’m delighted would be an understatement. Our merger with Avison Young is the perfect outcome for our business and our clients, and is the biggest opportunity that we have had since Grimley & Son and JR Eve merged in 1988.”

In the U.K. alone, Avison Young will now have 18 offices and 1,600 employees working with clients on the transaction and consultancy sides of the business.

“Since Avison Young entered the U.K. in 2014, we have had the intent and ambition to build a market-leading real estate advisory business by leveraging our unique Principal-owned business model,” adds Sibthorpe. “We have made significant progress and now, through this transaction, our two complementary businesses have combined to become a leading player in the U.K. market whilst also significantly strengthening the international capability and coverage. The exciting thing is that this is still the start of our journey with our new Principals and colleagues from GVA. Our ambition to build further and add market-leading talent that marries with our clients’ strategies and expectations is absolute.”

In connection with the transaction, Avison Young has optimized its capital structure through a recapitalization. The acquisition and the refinancing have been funded through a combination of cash on hand, committed financing from Credit Suisse, CIBC and BofA Merrill Lynch, and additional common equity, including participation by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). Avison Young has ample capital to invest further in its global growth strategy.

Also in conjunction with the transaction, GVA senior directors who will become Avison Young Principals, and certain other GVA employees, will receive Avison Young shares.

Today’s announcement follows Avison Young’s announcement on July 16, 2018 that CDPQ, one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, had made a C$250-million preferred equity investment to accelerate Avison Young’s strategic growth plan. Avison Young made its first investment under its strategic partnership with CDPQ by acquiring leading U.K. firm Wilkinson Williams LLP and opening a new office in London’s West End on August 1, 2018. On October 10, 2018, Avison Young opened its first office in Asia, in Seoul, South Korea, with 63 members joining from Mate Plus Advisors Co. Ltd.

Credit Suisse and KPMG LLP acted as Avison Young’s financial advisors in the acquisition of GVA; and Gowling WLG (UK), DLA Piper LLP (US and UK) and Stikeman Elliott LLP (Canada) served as Avison Young’s legal advisors.

Rose concludes: “This is a very exciting and memorable day in the history of Avison Young. As a result of the acquisition, our combination fortifies the pillars of our culture – honesty and integrity, investment in people, a Principal-owned model, a lack of service-line silos, and best-in- class internal and external resources to provide exemplary service to clients. We look forward to working with our new clients, colleagues and partners around the world.”

Over the past 10 years, Avison Young has grown from 300 real estate professionals in 11 offices in Canada to, now, approximately 5,000 real estate professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries.

Avison Young is the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Avison Young is a collaborative, global firm owned and operated by its Principals. Founded in 1978, with legacies dating back more than 200 years, the company comprises approximately 5,000 real estate professionals in 120 offices in 20 countries. The firm’s experts provide value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management and financing services to clients across the office, retail, industrial, multi-family and hospitality sectors.

Berkeley Group chairman brushes off Brexit threat

As featured in The Negotiator, written by Nigel Lewis

Speaking during a Q&A session at an industry gathering for developers, Tony Pidgley suggested London's recent hyper house inflation worried him more than Brexit.

Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley (pictured, above) has brushed off suggestions that Brexit may cause problems for the London housing market regardless of whether it’s hard or soft.

His comments came during a Q&A session at an industry event in central London at which the famously pugnacious developer also suggested that the end of fast-rising house prices in London was more of a challenge than Brexit.

“Of course we’re having difficult days,” he said during the Developers’ Boardroom gathering. “But I see Brexit as a good time to be in the market – why wouldn’t we continue to buy land?

“We’ve been in business for 45 years so we’re not going to pack up because of Brexit.

“We’re still a great city of the world, the British will come through this and we will find an answer. Britain speaks the right international language, is on the right time-line, has the right culture and the world still wants to invest here.”

Asked by compere and developer Nicole Bremner (pictured, above) whether the current housing market difficulties were part of a wider structural change, Pidgley said the huge house price increases seen in recent decades were always going to be unsustainable.

“You buy land, build a house on it and blink once and you’ve made £100,000, blink twice and it’s gone up another £100,000 – that was never sustainable – it was high inflation in a zero inflation environment,” he said.

“But there’s nothing wrong with the housing market now other than we’re having a bit of a hard time.”

Pidgley was speaking at the monthly Developers Boardroom dinner networking event in Grace Hall for SME developers, property professionals and investors. The next event is on February 13th.

https://bit.ly/2DTbv7F

Underground and over-complicated : dealing with basements

Rob French considers how basement culture will shape the future of party wall practice – and likely lead to new case law

The growing trend of basement excavations in affluent areas has presented new challenges to party wall surveyors. As a result of this culture, surveyors are now commonly needing to deal with additional difficulties where basements are excavated  adjacent  to existing basements. While seasoned party wall surveyors are used to dealing with the issues associated with excavating isolated basements, issues related  to excavating adjacent to existing basements can raise unknowns and increase tensions between owners. Such projects can place surveyors  in  a  jurisdictional  and legal minefield, owing to the numerous grey areas around this subject. There is a lack of clarity regarding adjacent basement excavations and a need for the courts to set legal precedents moving forward.

Enclosure costs v trimming overspill/trespass

On the one hand, surveyors may need to address enclosure costs under section 11(11) of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 due to a party wall having been underpinned by the adjoining owner when they previously excavated a basement. This basically means that, if a party desirous of excavating a basement makes use of a section of basement wall/underpins installed at full expense by their neighbour, their neighbour  can claim back half the cost of those works once the enclosure/reliance on their works is realised.

On the other hand, when actually excavating a basement adjacent to an existing basement, it can be found that the underpins, and potentially even the reinforcement within the underpins, have over- spilled, creating a counter claim for trespass and the cost of cutting back the concrete. This will inevitably become a common contentious issue as, while developers of properties adjacent  to existing basements wish to simplify matters by undertaking a set-off negotiation, the party wall and legal position is unfortunately not quite so simple. Only the tribunal of surveyors who agreed the original award for the now-adjoining owner have the jurisdiction to award costs for trespassing underpinning and these surveyors may not be contactable. If the award cannot be found, or it is unknown if it existed, then it is difficult  to  ascertain  to  what extent such foundations were permitted on the land of the now-building owner and therefore proving a trespass may be problematic.

Further complications may be experienced if the original owner who undertook the basement  works which caused the trespass has since moved, as they will need to be tracked down in order to pursue any claim against them. A trespass claim can only be brought against the party that caused the trespass, not a subsequent owner of the building. It will then of course be difficult to justify to such owners why they are still held responsible for the cost of the trespass even though they have sold the asset. If they are not easily convinced of their responsibility to settle such a claim then the building owner will need to consider whether or not they need to progress a common law claim. Consideration also needs to be given as to whether or not  a claim against the original contractor of the basement scheme would be successful. The existing tribunal of surveyors for the new basement project can of course award for the trespass to be trimmed, but it is then difficult to explain to the existing building owner why the associated costs cannot be dealt with under their jurisdiction.

 Surveyors are sometimes confused as to the relevance of the limitation period for such a trespass claim. However, currently legal authorities indicate that the limitation period does not commence until a trespass is discovered and so is rarely relevant in these circumstances. Given these complications, and to avoid legal remedies and costs, it is common practice for the surveyors to be asked to facilitate direct negotiations between the owners to agree a set-off between the two opposing claims and record this in a separate agreement.  In many cases, however, the owners have fallen out, so facilitating such an agreement can be very difficult, if not impossible. This  is  a  future  issue  which surveyors need to get to grips with as an increasing number of basements are excavated adjacent to existing basements. As some contractors of yesteryear may have been a little complacent in their adoption of protection measures to prevent trespass, these are inevitably going to be matters which over spill into the courts  soon.

Security for expenses

Security for expenses relates to the right of the adjoining owner, under section 12(1)  of the 1996  Act, to request that the building owner places a sum of money in an escrow account (or in any other means the parties agree) for the adjoining owner to make use of to safeguard the works in the event of abandonment. In some  situations  additional sums are also held to cover the cost of repairs to the adjoining owners’ property in the event that damage is caused by the neighbouring works. There is a considerable difference in opinion as to what represents a reasonable basis for calculating such sums. Some believe that only a minimal sum is needed to temporarily make safe abandoned works, whereas others believe that sums should cover the full reconstruction cost of an adjoining property to protect against the highly unlikely event of total collapse.

With so many adjacent basement projects going ahead, the risk of damage to adjoining owners’ assets  is  a growing concern and horror stories are well reported; however, serious damage is rare. As you need to be a relatively wealthy individual or company to consider a basement scheme, it stands to reason  that  some adjoining owners may also have the financial means to appeal if they do not believe that the security for expenses sum awarded protects the full extent of their risk. Some adjoining owners will appeal out of spite, but most will do so out of a genuine misunderstanding of the risks posed to their property. Security for expenses is currently a hot  topic; especially with the perceived high risks related to basement projects. Security for expenses matters are no stranger to the courts and  it  seems  inevitable that the two will be reacquainted soon.

Reinstatement v diminution in value

The litigation in Lee Valley Developments Ltd v Thomas William Derbyshire [2017] EWHC 1353 (TCC) raised questions regarding compensation calculations where an adjoining owner’s property is an investment property which has been damaged by a building owner’s works.

Specifically, these cases raise the question: should the section 7(2) claim be calculated on the basis of the legal principles of “reinstatement” or “diminution in value”? Common sense dictates that residential properties owned as a residence must be reinstated, but it is a valid consideration that, where an adjacent owner’s property is an investment, the standard legal principles of diminution in value may apply. Ultimately, this matter was settled out of court with the help of a third surveyor award, but it has highlighted a contentious area of party wall law which will inevitably be picked up by another building owner, or their insurer, looking to  minimise  an adjoining owner’s section 7(2) claim for compensation.

Do piles constitute “a wall”?

Where basements are proposed on the line of junction, access rights are a common point of contention. It is only a matter of time before it becomes common practice among developers, following the service of a line of junction notice, to argue that piles are “a wall” in the  eyes of the 1996 Act, thus  attracting  access  rights.

A diaphragm wall is highly likely to be defined as “a wall” under the 1996 Act, but many believe that it is difficult  to argue  that  a secant piled structure is “a wall”, as such a structure would not form a continuous solid face on the line of junction. This will therefore mean that a contiguous piled wall would be even more difficult to define as “a wall”. Even if the principles are agreed, there are then other considerations with regard to pile vertically and future trespassing.  Court cases are no doubt on the horizon to decide which subterranean structures constitute a wall under the 1996 Act.

Inconvenience v unnecessary inconvenience

Generally it is accepted that causing inconvenience to an adjoining owner, when undertaking a basement scheme, can be awarded by surveyors, as long as the inconvenience is necessary and reasonable mitigation methods have been suitably considered. Unnecessary inconvenience is not permitted and cannot be authorised by the surveyors. It is however naïve to think that the differences between “inconvenience” and “unnecessary inconvenience” are well defined or easily identifiable. The word “unnecessary” is ambiguous and ambiguity, as we know, leads to litigation.

In practice, building owners’ works cannot be vetoed just because the adjoining owner considers such works would cause unnecessary inconvenience. The onus is on the building owner to prove that the inconvenience caused is necessary to achieve their scheme and the adjoining owner will then look to prove that there are alternative means of working which would cause less inconvenience. As always, ultimately this matter will boil down to cost and the question likely to hit the courts is: to what expense is it reasonable to put the building owner to mitigate any/all inconvenience to the adjoining owner? Those reasoned individuals  among us will rightly consider this to be a common sense balancing act based on the specific circumstances, but common sense can sometimes be lacking when tensions are high, leading to court disputes.

How much damage is it reasonable to risk?

A further issue relates to the interpretation of the right (or not) of the building owner to cause damage to the adjoining owner’s property in pursuance of their works. Many adjoining owners understandably cannot come to terms with the fact that the building owner has such a right. Currently, general consensus among surveyors is that causing category-one damage, as defined by CIRIA Report C580 on embedded retaining walls, is acceptable but category-two is not. If a building owner has legitimately done everything possible to limit the extent of damage likely to the adjoining owner’s property, yet category- two damage is still predicted, can the damage then by its very nature be labelled “necessary” as opposed to “unnecessary”? The threshold for unnecessary inconvenience is another matter which the courts are inevitably going to have to decide soon.

It  will be interesting to see how these matters play out over the coming years; and play out they certainly shall. If we have learnt anything from the basement projects of the past decade it is that, while litigation is expensive, there are plenty willing to pick up the bill.

Rob French BSC (Hons) MSc (Proj Man) FRICS is an equity partner at Delva Patman Redler LLP.

 

Avison Young releases 2019 North America, Europe and Asia commercial real estate forecast

CRE 2019: Opportunities abound amidst strong demand, anticipated repricing and strategic change

Toronto, ON — Set against the backdrop of a rapidly increasing world population, global GDP growth, relatively strong economies and heightened job creation, real estate markets are thriving. Fundamentals continue to show great strength amidst restrained building activity, strong demand and accordant rising rents. Despite political headwinds such as trade disputes, Brexit, currency fluctuations and interest-rate hikes, quality real estate continues to be occupied and in demand.

These are some of the key trends noted in Avison Young’s 2019 North America, Europe and Asia Commercial Real Estate Forecast, released today.

 The annual report covers the office, retail, industrial and investment sectors in 68 markets within seven countries on three continents: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Lethbridge, Montreal, Ottawa, Regina, Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo Region, Winnipeg, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, OH; Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fairfield County, Fort Lauderdale, Greenville, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Long Island, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Jersey, New York, Oakland, Orange County, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Raleigh- Durham, Reno, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose/Silicon Valley, San Mateo, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, DC; West Palm Beach, Westchester County, Mexico City, Coventry, London, U.K.; Manchester, Berlin, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Bucharest and Seoul.

“While the last few weeks have certainly been a rollercoaster ride for the world’s equity markets, the headline is: we continue to feel very positive about opportunities in the real estate environment for the year ahead,” comments Mark E. Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young. “At Avison Young, we believe that more capital is available to move into real estate debt and equity than at any other time. The next wave of investment is not a matter of if or when – it’s just a matter of price.”

 Rose continues: “Understanding demand is the key to navigating the current market. While workplace changes can be confusing – driven by technology, generational trends and the new economy – they largely represent positive developments for our industry. As co-working and flexible-office providers take down a significant amount of space, what we are seeing is a change in tenancy – not a slowdown in occupancy. Leasing is stable – and longer-term in nature – and most businesses retain their office footprint throughout economic cycles.”

 An office experience is taking the place of the static workplace of prior generations, states the report. Energy, light, collaboration, purpose, sustainability, and health and wellness are as much drivers of the work experience as the underlying businesses.

 Industrial is today’s property class of choice and will probably regress to the mean, but will still be a driving force as methods of production and distribution continue to evolve. Distribution to the home and the last mile are top of mind among industrial owners and occupiers; accordingly, same- day delivery is the goal of retailers and consumers as the world’s population continues to increase.

 Rose adds: “On the investment side, as pundits have noted, we are at a pricing top and have been there for a few years. Rising interest rates should be pushing cap rates up and prices down, but demand for real estate and longer-term views on a potential global recession are working to keep pricing within a narrow band. The real estate industry has matured: buyers hold more equity and are generally not chasing deals. This situation has created a tug-of-war between the bid and the ask, and sets up a modest – but healthy – pricing correction even as economic growth takes hold and interest rates rise globally.”

 On the North American front, though trade was discussed ad nauseam, property markets in the U.S., Mexico and Canada performed well in 2018. The Mexican economy has continued to exhibit resilience in a complex environment despite the volatility and uncertainty surrounding the federal- government-transition process in Mexico and other international factors.

 Across the Atlantic, despite a healthy property sector, the U.K. market remains susceptible to political risk – namely Brexit. German markets are exhibiting healthy leasing and investment demand, while a lack of product hinders stronger growth. Significant construction, industrial expansion and sustained prices are forecasted to have positive impacts in Bucharest, Romania.

 Meanwhile, co-working office providers have become core occupiers in Seoul, South Korea – the location of Avison Young’s first office in Asia.

CANADA

The 10-year bull market in the Canadian commercial real estate sector continued in 2018, supported by the lowest unemployment rate in at least four decades. For several months, the lack of an amicable trade deal with the U.S. was a destabilizing factor on many fronts, but the prospective United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement removes some of the doubt. Meanwhile, new federal and provincial measures appear to have stabilized the housing market.

“Strong performances in 2017 and 2018 have led to supply constraints amid a maturing commercial real estate cycle in Canada,” says Bill Argeropoulos, Principal, Practice Leader, Research (Canada) for Avison Young. “Activity is expected to remain stable in 2019 with a general supply constraint being the primary brake on property market growth. Meanwhile, occupiers and owners will have to adjust to rapid technological advances during a period of moderating economic growth.”

According to the report, Canada’s office sector remained sound in 2018, though softness persisted in Alberta. Competition for office space, especially in downtown markets, continues to underpin the sector’s fundamentals nationwide. Office vacancy declined in almost every market, lowering the Canadian average to 11% near year-end 2018. A similar story is expected in 2019 although vacancy will rise modestly to 11.3% by year-end after construction nearly doubled in 2018.

Argeropoulos notes: “Toronto and Vancouver reaffirmed their presence among North America’s top-performing office markets as Canadian markets captured five of the continent’s 10 lowest vacancy rates.”

The report states that low single-digit vacancy characterized Canada’s industrial markets. Overall industrial vacancy continued to decline, falling to a new record-low of 2.9% near the end of 2018 – and is expected to edge lower in 2019. Toronto (1.3%) and Vancouver (1.5%) posted North America’s lowest vacancy rates in 2018 and are projected to rank among the tightest three markets in 2019.

Argeropoulos adds: “Canada’s industrial market outperformed many observers’ expectations in 2018 – and is set to do so again in 2019. Competition from the emerging recreational-cannabis industry will add to the already robust e-commerce demand this year as owners and occupiers continue to grapple with rising land costs and the eroding supply of developable land – most evident in Vancouver and Toronto.”

Retail properties remain the most unpredictable commercial real estate assets in Canada. Retail vacancy remains in flux as a lingering result of the failures of some prominent chains, while big- box chains closed underperforming locations amid the ongoing e-commerce revolution.

“The focus on creating memorable consumer experiences will endure across the Canadian retail landscape in 2019. Significant investment in technology to track millennial behaviour is being made by retailers developing and enhancing their physical locations and online market shares while seeking the correct balance in the symbiotic relationship between bricks and clicks,” says Argeropoulos.

With the final tally yet to come, 2018 was another record year of investment, exceeding the previous high of $36 billion set in 2017. Capital is abundant and, in search of higher yields, investors are looking to take advantage of landlord-favouring markets and sectors offering significant rental-rate growth.

He concludes: “Supported by relatively sound leasing fundamentals in almost every market, debt reduction and asset and geographic diversification will continue in 2019, while asset values are expected to remain elevated and cap rates low for prime assets.”

U.S.

“The U.S. market continued to provide fairly predictable returns to investors in 2018 despite some turbulence, both economically and geopolitically. The strong correlation between job growth and real estate value was again demonstrated in 2018 as the U.S. added more than 2 million jobs which, in turn, bolstered occupancy levels as well as consumer confidence,” comments Earl Webb, President, U.S. Operations for Avison Young. “Vacancy rates across all property types remain low when compared with historically similar market cycles. Capital flows into commercial property in 2018 remained roughly equivalent to those of the prior year, and foreign investors continued to be significant investors across all U.S. property types, especially office and industrial.”

Webb adds: “The property markets continued to perform well in 2018, demonstrating resilience in the face of substantial development, and total sales were on track to outpace the 2017 total volume after declining for two years from a peak in 2015.

According to the report, Avison Young is tracking 46 U.S. office markets totalling 5 billion square feet (bsf) of inventory. As year-end 2018 approached, overall national vacancy was 12.1%, down 20 bps compared with year-end 2017. San Francisco (3.5%), Charleston (7.1%), Nashville (7.1%) and Columbus (7.7%) recorded the lowest vacancy rates.

“Co-working operators are dominating U.S. office markets as tenants pay up for term flexibility, amenities and the ability to shift long-term lease obligations off their books,” says Margaret Donkerbrook, Principal, Practice Leader, Research (U.S.) for Avison Young. “Landlords are feeling pressure to renovate older properties to compete; as a result, plug-and-play speculative suites and tenant amenities, such as conference centres and lounge areas, are becoming ubiquitous. Ultimately, there will be some shake-out in the category; however, co-working will remain part of the real estate lexicon.”

The report goes on to say that retail continues to be the asset type most impacted by change even though consumer spending increased in 2018 – and experiential and service retail outlets are blossoming. E-commerce sales grew by 14.5% year-over-year. Looking forward, online grocery sales and related home-delivery services represent a nascent opportunity for both e- commerce and industrial logistics.

The 10.7-bsf industrial market inventory increased by 2% after almost 200 msf was delivered in 2018, but strong leasing demand held vacancy flat at 5%. Distribution-logistics and e-commerce demand led to upticks in construction and speculative development in many key U.S. markets, including Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas – with each having more than 18 msf underway. Overall, the U.S. construction pipeline near the end of 2018 was 19% larger than at year-end 2017, and projects underway were 32% preleased.

Beyond distribution, core data centre markets are expanding to prepare for the arrival of 5G networks; increased cloud usage by consumers and Big Data suppliers; and higher blockchain and AI adoption levels in such markets as Northern Virginia, Phoenix, Chicago, Reno and Dallas. Construction starts are cooling in some metros that are critically land-constrained such as San Jose and West Palm Beach, but most markets feature burgeoning industrial-property- development pipelines. Industrial vacancy is expected to rise slightly by year-end 2019.

Investors remained steadfast in their support of the U.S. commercial real estate market in 2018. Sales were led by the multi-family and office sectors and foreign capital continued to flow into the

U.S. Canada was again the top source of foreign capital, accounting for more than $40 billion of transactions and doubling its investment in comparison with 2017. France ($8.7 billion), Singapore ($6.3 billion), China ($5.6 billion) and Germany ($4.9 billion) rounded out the top five sources of foreign investment in 2018. Foreign and private capital will continue to sustain the U.S. investment market in 2019.

“Even though year-over-year volumes were fairly consistent in the U.S., activity was uncharacteristically weighted towards the early part of 2018,” notes John Kevill, Principal and Managing Director of U.S. Capital Markets for Avison Young. “This situation was largely a product of the broader economic volatility, and we anticipate that early 2019 will bring an uptick in transactional activity, particularly with fresh lender allocations and the availability of transitional debt. Expect to see institutional investors buy smaller properties than they typically have been investing in, thereby putting pressure on the private investors who have been dominating the under-$30-million market segment.”

Webb concludes: “Our outlook for 2019 remains consistent with that for the prior year. Modest interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve are expected, but at a much decreased pace. The

U.S. economy is strong overall; and with continued job-growth-related occupancy levels healthy, that strength should be maintained. However, the supply of labour, especially skilled labour, will have an impact on operating costs as well as the cost of new construction. Technological innovation – in procurement, occupancy optimization, workplace strategy, supply-chain management and many other areas – will continue to keep our industry in an evolutionary mode.”

  •  Please click on link to view and download Avison Young’s 2019 North America, Europe and Asia Forecast, FULL REPORT:

https://avisonyoung.uberflip.com/i/1071065-ay2019northamericaeuropeasiaforecastjan15-19final

•  Click here to view Avison Young CEO Mark Rose’s 2019 Commercial Real Estate Forecast

VIDEOCAST:

http://www.avisonyoung.com/media-room/ceo-video-audiocasts

Commercial Real Estate - The Case for Real Estate Investment

Join IPSX and the Investment Property Forum alongside a panel of industry experts for a breakfast seminar on Thursday 7th February to launch “Commercial real estate – the case for real estate investment”, the latest report from Real Estate Strategies. Keynote speaker Malcolm Frodsham, founder of Real Estate Strategies and author of the report, will debut his research findings on the case for commercial real estate investment.

The investment case for real estate is well proven, however, the scale, cost and need for professional skills to understand fund structures has acted as a barrier to many first-time investors.

Against a backdrop of change and innovation in commercial real estate, the panel will discuss what to consider when investing, shifting investment trends, as well as the progress that is being made in developing a new public market for real estate.

Speakers include:

Huw Stephens, Immediate past Head of UK Transactions, AXA Real Estate
Charlie Foster, Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets
Isabella Roberts, Senior Partners, Simmons and Simmons
Anthony Gahan, Chairman, IPSX

To register to attend the event, please click here.

Please note that should the event be oversubscribed, spaces will be allocated to IPF members in the first instance.

8.00am – 8.30am Registration and breakfast
8.30am -10.00am Presentation followed by panel discussion with Q&A

Venue : Simmons & Simmons LLP

Citipoint, 1 Ropemaker House
London
United Kingdom
EC2Y 9SS

Pluto Finance Sponsors the Housebuilder Awards 2019

Pluto Finance was delighted to be involved with the Housebuilder Awards 2018. Held on 1 November at the InterContinental London – The O2, the evening celebration was attended by the great and the good of the Housebuilding world, revealing the winners for awards including Sustainable Housebuilder and Best Refurbishment Project of the Year.

The black-tie event was hosted by comedian Jimmy Carr. Following the awards presentation, the evening entertainment continued with a quiz and casino, sponsored by Pluto Finance. Pluto Finance’s Senior Lending Manager Greg Dunne was on hand to present the award to the quiz winner Bellway Homes. Greg commented: “At Pluto Finance we are funding the development over 2,000 new homes, so it was a great pleasure to be involved in this prestigious evening. Congratulations to all the well-deserving winners.”

Pluto Finance provides a fast turnaround time and an excellent quality of customer service. Over half of Pluto’s loans are made to repeat borrowers.

·         Senior Residential Development Loans – LTC up to 70%, LTV up to 60%. Loan sizes £3m to £30m.

·         Stretch Senior Residential Development Loans – LTC up to 90%, LTV up to 80%. Loan size £5m to £50m.

·         Bridge Loans pre-planning – LTV up to 75% of current use value. Loan sizes £1m to £10m

How to keep your neighbour happy during extension works!

Alistair Redler, Senior Partner, Delva Patman Redler

In the excitement of planning extension works to your home it is easy to forget all about your neighbours and their concerns. However, even the smallest additions to your home can cause significant disruption to your neighbour’s everyday lives,whether this be in increased noise levels, restricted views or restricted access to their home. 

Whilst these disturbances cannot always be avoided, unnecessary conflicts with your neighbour can be if you follow the principles of communication, consideration and limitation when undertaking extension works to your home.

Communication

While it may seem obvious, it is essential to always inform your neighbour that you are planning to undertake works. This should not just be a short discussion, they need to be shown the plans and understand what these works will entail. Understandably, people often get very upset to hear about a planning application being submitted without their prior knowledge.

It is also important to encourage your builder to communicate effectively your neighbour particularly about items of work that are going to cause disturbance such as noise vibration dust or blocking driveways. Being transparent with your neighbour helps ease tensions and avoid any nasty surprises!

Limitation

It is crucial to put yourself in your neighbour’s ‘shoes’ and think about how the proposed works will actually affect them.  Are there ways of working that can be adopted to minimise noise and vibration?  Or will the works be likely to cause damage that will mean they may have to live through repairs afterwards. While these considerations may result in some changes to your initial plans the less intrusion on your neighbours the less stressful the project will be.

In circumstances where the works require access to the adjoining land, which can be permitted if the works come under the Party Wall Act, then it’s essential work out in advance how that can be done in a way that causes the least disturbance, interference with security and risk occupants.  For example, a scaffold wall in the garden poses a risk to unsupervised small children and pets so it’s a good idea to discuss with your neighbour their concerns and any ideas they have to improve the situation.

Another important consideration is whether the works will cause disturbance to quality finishes in the adjoining owner’s property or plants that are valuable to them. Once again, this requires open communication and a degree of flexibility and care towards your neighbour to find a suitable arrangement that will avoid causing such damage or offer suitable compensation for doing so.

Consideration

Showing consideration to your neighbour extends to who you appoint to manage the extension works. It is essential to employ a competent party wall surveyor, ideally a recommended chartered surveyor who is regulated by RICS. A surveyor working for a low fixed fee may be fine if there are no complications, although, they may not have the knowledge or will to commit further when the going gets tough. Furthermore, a surveyor doing a minimal low cost job for a building owner may mean that the fees charged by the adjoining owner’s surveyor will be justifiably higher potentially causing further friction.

That being said, maintaining a healthy relationship with your neighbour is two-sided. If you are the neighbour of the property undergoing extension works try to be friendly to the builder so that you become someone they have consideration for rather than a potential nuisance to be avoided.

Similarly, if you are the neighbour and need to appoint a party wall surveyor, don’t appoint a surveyor mainly on the basis of them having a reputation for being difficult to developers. Such surveyors will often escalate disputes which can sour relations between neighbours and result in costs being incurred by an adjoining owner that are unnecessary.  Good surveyors should be able to ensure that the works are lawful and sound, and provide appropriate reassurance to adjoining owners as a result.  Bad surveyors may just escalate unnecessary disputes – and while the extension works will have a set completion date, repairing a damaged relationship with your neighbour does not!

What did we learn from the 12th Property Directors Forum?

Avison Young hosted PDF12 - the 12th Property Directors Forum - on Thursday 15th November 2018 at the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House in London’s West End.

The Forum’s focus was on what occupiers ‘really want’ from their spaces and featured insightful presentations from keynote speaker Tim Oldham, Founder & CEO of the Leesman Index and Ben Samuels, Director of Enterprise Business EMEA & APAC at WeWork.

Tim’s presentation concentrated on the Leesman Index’s latest research ‘The Workplace Experience Revolution’, which considers the real drivers of employee sentiment. Based on a survey of 485,000 employees across 500 organisations and 90 countries, the survey is one of the most authoritative pieces of research in this field.

Its findings revealed that only 52.5% of the respondents felt proud of their workplace and only 58.5% of respondents agreed that their workplace supported personal productivity. Clearly many of their employers are not meeting the main drivers of employee sentiment – but what do they have to do to provide their employees with the “right” environment?  

In an age of constant change and improvements, our expectations as individuals have increased and are set by factors outside the office. We want our user experience to be continually enhanced and the workplace is no exception.

As Tim explained, we are in a new era of employee and employer expectations. Yet, from the research’s findings, it is non-tech drivers that continue to be most valued by employees. These “Super drivers” include features such as managing noise levels, availability of informal work area/break out zones, desk-based work, and general tidiness across office and support areas.

This indicates that employees value the gratification of basic human needs such as social interaction and areas to rest and relax over super-efficient technology in their workplaces.

As Tim summarised, for a workplace to provide fulfilment to its occupiers, it needs to encourage productivity, be clean and visually appealing and give its employees a sense of community and overall pride in working there.

Ben’s presentation echoed many of Tim’s sentiments on occupier requirements, highlighting why agile and flexible working spaces are growing so rapidly. WeWork’s spaces focus on four main pillars, technology, events, hospitality and operations for success.

They provide the necessary technology to give each day maximum ease and convenience, opportunities to develop new skills and meet new people, various food and beverage facilities to relax and enjoy, and lastly clean, spacious working spaces tailored to their clients. Through prioritising creativeness and enjoyment in these spaces they enable the various occupiers of these spaces to connect and interact forming a larger community.

One key comment Ben made on flexible working spaces is that demand for them is in part driven by the “War for Talent”. In Ben’s view, “Millennials” joining the workforce want the immersive, participatory experiences at work that Tim previously mentioned.

Therefore it is crucial for employers to consider where the future of work is heading and invest in their spaces if they hope to gain and keep the best talent.

So the take-home messages from the PDF12 discussion are that whilst fast and effective technology is a much valued tool for occupiers, it should not be prioritised over the basic human needs. Significantly, most of the “Super drivers” are easy and relatively low cost to implement.

These themes link back to PDF11…..

 

“Culture may well eat design for breakfast, if we let it.

Let’s not let it. Better that they had breakfast together”

Neil Usher, PDF11, June 2018

 

Many thanks to Tim, Ben, and all the attendees for another insightful PDF discussion!

We look forward the next Forum that will be held on Thursday 13th June 2019.

Logicor secures letting to DPD Group in Martlesham Health, Ipswich

Logicor has let Unit 1, Beardmore Park, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich IP5 3RX to DPD.

The warehouse space, totalling 33,000 sq ft, has been taken by the leading parcel delivery brand on a new five-year lease. DPD joins Home Bargains, Screwfix, Toolstation and Howdens, among others, at Logicor’s 500,000 sq ft Martlesham Heath Business Park.

Gareth Evans, UK Portfolio Director at Logicor, said:

“This is our first letting to DPD in the UK and I am delighted to welcome them to our multi-let portfolio.”

The Logicor UK multi-let portfolio spans 8 million sq ft. In the UK, Logicor have completed over 150 new leases and renewals so far this year.

Elsom Spettigue Associates and Savills are letting agents for Martlesham Heath Business Park. sbh acted for DPD.

 

When is a party wall not a party wall? When the context dictates

Aidan Cosgrave, Partner, Delva Patman Redler

Last week, in the case of Wellington Properties Ltd v Second Duke of Westminster, Trustees of the Will of & Anor [2018] EWHC 3048 (Ch) (13 November 2018), the High Court upheld Grosvenor Estate's appeal and held that the flank wall of a house at 39 Headfort Place, London SW1 was not a wall separating the property from adjoining properties and was therefore not a party wall within the meaning of the transfer by which the freehold and superior leasehold interests had been enfranchised. The case highlights the importance of reading a clause in a transfer in the context of the transfer as a whole and against the relevant background.

The case involved an appeal by the Trustees of the Will of the Second Duke of Westminster and Grosvenor Estate Belgravia against the decision by HH Judge Bailey in the Central London County Court in which he had held the flank wall to be a party wall. His reasoning was that the natural meaning of the words in the transfer was that it was a party wall, that there was nothing to suggest that something had gone wrong in the drafting, that there was no want of business common sense in such an interpretation and that Grosvenor's construction would deprive the relevant transfer clause of any effect.

Background

Prior to the transfer, Wellington’s predecessor was the tenant of 39 Headfort Place under a lease. The lease contained a tenant's covenant to repair the whole of the demised premises. The demise was of:

"… all that piece of land situate on the South West side of Headfort Place … which said piece of land with the dimensions thereof (be the same little more or less) is delineated and coloured in the plan annexed hereto Together with the messuage and buildings erected thereon and now known as number 39 Headfort Place …".

The flank wall adjoins a communal garden and contains a number of windows, including a two-storey bay window and French doors, providing light to the house. The French doors also provide access to the communal garden.

The transfer

In 1990, Wellington’s predecessor exercised her entitlement pursuant to the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and Grosvenor transferred to her the freehold and superior leasehold interests in the following:

"… ALL THAT the land which with the dimensions thereof (be the same little more or less) is shown edged red on the plan annexed hereto Together with the dwelling house situate thereon known as 39 Headfort Place … TO HOLD unto the Purchaser in fee simple so that the Headlease is merged with the freehold to the extent that it affects the property hereby transferred…".

It was common ground between the parties that, but for clause 3(b), the effect of the transfer would have been that the flank wall was wholly within the curtilage of 39 Headfort Place.

Clause 3(b) of the transfer provided that:

" the walls and/or fences separating the property hereby transferred from adjoining properties are party walls and/or fences and shall be used maintained and repaired as such."

The issue between the parties was the true construction of clause 3(b). Wellington contended that it meant the flank wall was a party wall. Grosvenor contended that (i) interpreted in the context of the transfer as a whole and against the relevant background, the words "adjoining properties" meant "adjoining buildings" and (ii) since the communal garden was not a building, on this interpretation clause 3(b) would not deem the flank wall to be a party wall.

The judgment

Mr Justice Arnold was swayed by two particular arguments put forward on behalf of Grosvenor, which do not appear to have been put before the judge in the County Court. He held that:

  1. The starting point was that it was common ground that (i) the flank wall was entirely within the curtilage of 39 Headfort Place and (ii) that was consistent with the purpose of the Transfer, which was to enfranchise the whole house. In those circumstances he considered that there was an inconsistency between the parcels clause (and indeed the purpose of the transfer) and clause 3(b) if it was interpreted in the manner contended for Wellington.

  2. Grosvenor's interpretation of clause 3(b) avoided the inconsistency. He did not agree with the judge's view that there was nothing to suggest that something had gone wrong with the drafting of clause 3(b). It was common ground that the references to "fences" in the clause were out of place and of no effect because there were no fences and he considered that the court should be readier to accept that another part of the clause was poorly drafted.

  3. Grosvenor's construction of clause 3(b) did not deprive it of any effect as it confirmed that the walls between 39 Headfort Place and the adjoining properties at Nos. 1 and 2 Halkin Street were party walls and had to be maintained and repaired as such.

  4. Wellington’s construction of clause 3(b) would have surprising consequences which are unlikely to have been intended:

  • it would be surprising if Grosvenor were to be obliged to maintain half of the wall, given that under the lease this was the responsibility of the lessee;

  • on Wellington's construction, the lessee failed to acquire all of the house which she was entitled to, which was contrary to the expressed purpose of the transfer;

  •  it would be very surprising if Grosvenor were to be able to block up the windows in the flank wall (which did not enjoy rights of light by virtue of a reservation in the transfer); and

  • it would be surprising if the front wall facing onto Headfort Place, which was shown on the transfer plan as the boundary between Headfort Place and Headfort Place, was a party wall.

The judge therefore concluded that Grosvenor’s construction of clause 3(b) was the correct one and that the flank wall was not a party wall within the meaning of section 38(1) of the Law of Property Act 1925 or section 20 of the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Conclusion

The judgment is a reminder that where there is a conflict between provisions in a contract, the court will construe a document as a whole and against the relevant background in such a way as to eliminate inconsistency between its provisions if possible. When encountering clauses in transfers that purportedly deem certain walls to be party walls, it is important to interpret such clauses in the context of the whole document.

Read the full judgment at https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2018/3048.html

 

Logicor places €1.8 billion in inaugural Euro bond issuance

Logicor places €1.8 billion in inaugural Euro bond issuance

 Logicor announces the completion of its inaugural Euro denominated bond transaction having successfully placed €1.8 billion.

 The transaction launched on 6 November with three tranches maturing in 2022, 2025 and 2028. The notes were priced with a coupon of 1.5% for the €1.0bn 4 year maturity note, 2.25% for the €500m 6.5 year maturity note and 3.25% for the €300m 10 year maturity note.

 The notes rank senior unsecured and have been assigned with a rating of BBB (stable) by S&P Global.

 The proceeds of the issue will be used for the group’s general corporate purposes and refinancing existing secured debt.

 Simon Clinton, CFO, Logicor says: “This transaction successfully positions Logicor with European and global bond investors for the first time. We have proven our ability to access public capital markets and have significantly broadened our funding sources. We are pleased that investors have demonstrated their confidence in Logicor’s strategy focused on its high quality, well located logistics real estate across Europe and our unsurpassed operational expertise.”

 Logicor has made an application for the notes to be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.

 The Notes will be offered only to non- U.S. persons outside the United States pursuant to Regulation S under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), subject to prevailing market and other conditions. This press release is not an offer to sell the Notes in the United States. The Notes to be offered have not been and will not be registered under the Securities Act or the securities laws of any other jurisdiction and may not be offered or sold, directly or indirectly, in the United States or to or for the account or benefit of U.S. persons, as such term is defined in Regulation S of the Securities Act, absent registration or unless pursuant to an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and any other applicable securities laws. No public offering of the Notes will be made in the United States in connection with the above-mentioned transaction.

 MiFID II professionals/ECPs-only - Manufacturer target market (MiFID II product governance) is eligible counterparties and professional clients only (all distribution channels). 

 The Notes are not intended to be offered, sold or otherwise made available to, and should not be offered, sold or otherwise made available to, any retail investor in the European Economic Area (“EEA”). For these purposes, a retail investor means a person who is one (or more) of: (i) a retail client as defined in point (11) of Article 4(1) of Directive 2014/65/EU (as amended, “MiFID II”); or (ii) a customer within the meaning of Directive 2002/92/EC (as amended or superseded, the “Insurance Mediation Directive”), where that customer would not qualify as a professional client as defined in point (10) of Article 4(1) of MiFID II. Consequently, no key information document required by Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 (as amended, the “PRIIPs Regulation”) for offering or selling the Notes or otherwise making them available to retail investors in the EEA has been prepared and therefore offering or selling the Notes or otherwise making them available to any retail investor in the EEA may be unlawful under the PRIIPs Regulation. This communication does not constitute and shall not, in any circumstances, constitute an offering to retail investors. The offer and sale of the Notes in any member state of the EEA will be made pursuant to an exemption under Directive 2003/71/EC (as amended or superseded, the “Prospectus Directive”) from the requirement to publish a prospectus for offers of notes. The base listing particulars produced for the offering of the Notes is not a prospectus for the purposes of the Prospectus Directive.

 This communication does not constitute an offer of securities to the public in the United Kingdom. No prospectus has been or will be approved in the United Kingdom in respect of the Notes. Consequently, this communication is directed only at (i) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments falling within Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the “Order”) or (ii) high net worth entities falling within Article 49(2)(a) to (d) of the Order, or (iii) persons who are outside the United Kingdom or (iv) persons to whom an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity within the meaning of section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (the “FSMA”) in connection with the issue or sale of any securities may otherwise lawfully be communicated or caused to be communicated (all such persons together being referred to as “Relevant Persons”). The base listing particulars produced for the offering of the Notes is being distributed only to and directed only at Relevant Persons. The Notes are only available to, and any invitation, offer or agreement to subscribe, purchase or otherwise acquire such Notes will be engaged in only with, Relevant Persons. The base listing particulars produced for the offering of the Notes and its contents are confidential and should not be distributed, published or reproduced (in whole or in part) or disclosed by any recipients to any other person in the United Kingdom. Any person in the United Kingdom that is not a Relevant Person should not act or rely on the base listing particulars produced for the offering of the Notes or its contents.

Delva Patman Redler makes another new appointment to Rights of Light Team

Delva Patman Redler has appointed Valerio Falco as Assistant Technical Analyst, joining the firm’s Rights of Light team.

Valerio joins from Turner Associates Survey and Design (Ltd) where he held the position of CAD Technician, Designer and Project Manager. He will add further capacity to the London-based Rights of Light team.

 Stuart Gray, Partner of Delva Patman Redler, comments: “Our specialist teams at Delva Patman Redler have been expanding over the last couple of months with two appointments in Rights of Light, two joining our Measured Survey department and a new appointment to head up our Dilapidations offering. We are delighted that Valerio will be joining us at this exciting time for the company.”