Moving your Business? 10 Things you need to know!

written by Cathal O'Leary
Moving Your Business Oleary Sludds Architects Tips

A lot of commercial clients, leasing or purchasing a property, think that all they have to do is sign the contracts, collect the keys and organise the furniture in order to occupy their new premise.

What they don’t realise it that they could be breaking the law and end up with a building they cannot use. Here’s a few questions that you need to ask yourself before purchasing or leasing a new premises. 

Think you know everything? See how many questions you can answer below, then decide on whether you need some professional advice!

  • Do you need Planning Permission?

One of the most misunderstood areas of planning law is use classes and how to go about changing them. Before you buy or lease a commercial property you should always check with an Architect to see what the authorised use of the premises is and whether you need to apply for Planning Permission for a Change of Use. Even if the use class is correct there could be a condition on the Planning Certificate that stops you from using the building as you would intend. Caveat emptor!

?? Did you know that applying for retention for change of use costs three times more in terms of the planning application fee?- for a large premises that could be more than your Architects fees!

  • Do you need a Fire Safety Certificate?

Not unlike Planning Use Classes there are also Fire Safety Purpose Group Classifications that could potentially affect your proposed purchase/ fit out. Check with an Architect to see if a Fire Safety Certificate Application for a Material Change of Use is required also. Oh and don’t forget to check whether the building is for single or multiple occupancy. You could have the same business as your neighbour but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to submit a Fire Safety Certificate.

?? Did you know that you a Fire Safety Certificate can be issued for a single occupancy which would not allow you to divide the building into multiple lettings without applying for a Fire Safety Certificate first?

  • Do you need a Disabled Access Certificate?

Generally speaking if you are required to submit a Fire Safety Certificate Application then you will also be required to submit a Disabled Access Certificate (DAC) Application.

?? Did you know that a DAC can impact on the design of your reception desk not to mention your colour scheme?

  • Do you need to employ an Assigned Certifier?

Similarly to the DAC, if you are required to submit a Fire Safety Certificate Application then you may will also be required to appoint an Assigned Certifier if you plan on completing any building works associated with the fit out.

?? Did you know that only a registered Architect, Engineer or Building Surveyor can legally fulfil this role for you?

  • Do you need Design Certifiers?

You probably have guessed it by now, but if you need to appoint an Assigned Certifier you will also need to appoint your Architect, Structural & Civil Engineer and M&E Engineer to act as Design Certifiers adding even more costs onto your proposed fit-out.

?? Did you know that any person who has a design input needs to act as a Design Certifier under the new BC(A)R regulations?

Compliance With Oleary Sludds Architects

  • Do you need a Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP)?

Well, actually you may not! It depends on a number of factors and again an Architect will be able to advise you in relation to same. Ditto the appointment of a contractor and/ or other consultant to act as your Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS).

?? Did you know that you the client, not your company, is obliged to appoint a PSDP and PSCS in certain instances and if you do not, you and not your company, are liable?

  • Are you breaking the law?

It is illegal to occupy a building that does not have Planning Permission, a Fire Safety and Disabled Access Certificate for its use class/ purpose group.

?? Did you know that an enforcement notice can be issued by various government bodies ordering you to cease trading due to none compliance with Planning, Fire, DAC and/ or Health & Safety Regulations?

  • Have you lodged a commencement notice?

Before you start any building work you may be required to lodge a commencement notice to the Building Control Authority. You will need to ask your Architect if you need to lodge a commencement notice and what type of commencement notice is required.

?? Did you know that you must submit the commencement notice no less than 14 days and no more than 28 days prior to works commencing on site?

  • Do you know what’s in the lease agreement?

It is not uncommon for the leasee and/ or their legal representative to want a clause in the lease agreement to ensure that the lease is subject to Planning Permission but what about Fire & DAC?

It is entirely possible to obtain Planning Permission but be refused a Fire or DAC Certificate. As noted previously, without all three you cannot legally occupy the building. Imagine being locked into a lease or the purchase of a building you cannot occupy!

?? Did you know that it can take up to 12 months or more to obtain planning permission alone? Do you know what time frame has been allowed for you to obtain the necessary statutory consents, in any, in your proposed lease/ sale agreement?

  • Do you have the correct Architect?

Needless to say finding the right Architect to protect your interests and advice you from the very beginning of your obligations is essential when deciding on the suitability of an existing premise for your business.

We, at O’Leary Sludds Architects have over 40 years combined experience in completing large and small scale commercial projects. We can offer the services of Architect, PSDP, Fire Safety and DAC consultant, Assigned and Design Certifiers in house. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about managing all these professionals as it’s all part of the great service offering we can provide our clients.

As well as providing all these services in house, we can also offer our clients award winning commercial designs as we have just been awarded a Fit-out Award for Small Commercial Office Fit-out under €500,000 at the Fit-out Awards 2017 on 2nd November 2017.

By now we hope you realise that hiring an Architect at feasibility and planning stage, before you make any major financial commitments, can ultimately save you time and money.

So if you are thinking of moving your business to a new premises please give either Tracey or I a call and we can guide you through the myriad of regulations out there and help steer you in the right direction.

Confused about the roles outlined above, why not take a minute to review some of our other journal entries where we explain some of the roles outlined above?

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