News: David Mann

Two-stage TDD: progress property transactions amid disruption

There is a lot of discussion about the impacts of COVID-19 which we’ll feel in our daily lives even after the immediate disruption is resolved. We’ve adapted our ways of working and daily habits to embrace a ‘new normal’, and to help mitigate disruption for our clients. One of these initiatives is a new approach to technical due diligence (TDD) commercial property surveys.

We believe two-stage TDD not only makes the best use of remote working capabilities today, but also provides greater efficiency to progress sales and acquisitions of built assets in times of future disruption.

Site visits and inspections, which are a key part of TDD work, are now subject to significant restrictions and are not able to proceed without being risk assessed. Where the risks are manageable, and where we can inspect in accordance with current government guidance, these inspections can go ahead. 

However, a different process is needed for sites where access restrictions apply and we are unable to prevent COVID-19 exposure risks for our teams and on-site contacts. We’ve found that surveyors can undertake significant remote work to progress transactions, using the sheer wealth of building knowledge available to us as commercial building surveyors today. This requires a different reporting structure than some clients may be used to, but it will ultimately make for a more efficient process at any time. 

We have trialled and seen success with a two-stage TDD solution led by a primary desk study, applicable to pre-acquisition and vendor’s surveys. The second stage is an on-site inspection which is closely informed by the desk work to make the best use of time and resources.

A key advantage of this approach is mitigating the risk of time lags should the follow-up process to investigate issues in the building delay the issuing of a report. Building document research and further specialist inspections can add time to the transaction. Those risks are greater at a time of COVD-19 travel restrictions but are also applicable in business as usual circumstances.

In stage one, a commercial building surveyor and building services engineer (as relevant) review the technical documents including statutory consents, as-built drawings, specifications, construction contracts, warranties/TPRs, O&M/H&S files, maintenance records and other relevant items. While there are limitations to some documents, particularly for older buildings, this process is supplemented by interviews with property managers, facility managers and maintenance teams to raise queries relating to property condition and maintenance.

The outcome, a desk study report, would flag notable investment, health and safety, and continuity risks from the available documents and interviews. Further input from our cost consultants would explain the cost/value of known issues such as combustible cladding, or where is it obvious that major refurbishment/plant replacement is necessary.

Coordination with environmental consultants remains an essential aspect of this work, and successful environmental desk studies and flood risk assessments can also be produced with remote working arrangements. However, site-specific requirements may need local authority input such as from the contamination and petroleum officers.

This adjusted model for TDD reporting will help our clients progress with investments and disposals, but we advise that a site survey should follow in any case to establish the condition of the property and identify defects that would not necessarily be captured by existing documentation. This will be achievable once the UK Government lifts travel restrictions and should be a more efficient process as a result of the prior investigation work.

Meanwhile, clients might be able to address the risk with a condition precedent in the sale agreement, such that there are no other notable risk (perhaps defined by a cost threshold and absence of life safety issues) identified in the final Stage Two report. Retentions might also be used (say for the cost of recladding) but a deal commitment prior to a site survey would be high risk and should only be considered on the advice of a solicitor.

When travel restrictions are lifted, conducting TDD surveys in this way has the merit of informing a full-team presence at site visits, directing time spent on key areas and running a more efficient inspection process in terms of man days on site. This would also identify the need for specialist input/laboratory analysis for things like deleterious materials in advance.

We always consider the needs of building surveys on a case by case basis, so talk with us to discuss how we can help you progress your property transactions. To hear more about this, get in touch with:

David Mann

Chris Gibbons

David Mann runs the Paris marathon for LandAid

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who has sponsored and helped me raise more than £5,000 so far. I am going to continue fundraising until my 50th birthday on 22nd June by which time I hope to achieve my £10,000 target. Needless to say, any further help would be really appreciated. You can visit my fundraising page here.

On the walk to the start, I was resplendent in my new ‘Marathon de Paris’ T -shirt with the tag-line ‘RUNNING IS LIFE’. I would beg to differ with this sentiment at the moment!

It was a fantastic experience and Paris was so beautiful on a lovely sunny morning. Seeing 55,000 runners mustered along the Champs-Elysees at the start was quite an emotional sight – as was the queue for the toilets!

My favourite part was running along the Seine at 15 – 16 miles and I even managed to accidentally pocket phone my sister to both of our surprises but got some welcome encouragement!

Less enjoyable was the seemingly endless and monotonous pounding of my running shoes on the tarmac and cobbles. This was only equalled by the thump thump thump of the banging house music streamed from my SoundCloud App, which maintained a steady rhythm and has often been my only companion on those long cold training sessions. Today was in fact the first time I’d only worn shorts and a singlet in the last few months.

It was lovely to see so much support for all the runners – so many expectant faces waiting to see their loved ones, a friend or even a complete stranger. The Brits were particularly supportive to me. At times I forgot I had my name and GBR on my bib and wondered why so many people were shouting ‘Allez David’.

Little things make you laugh en route like someone holding up a piece of cardboard and hand written on it: ‘MOTIVATIONAL SIGN’. I was also particularly proud of my ‘Eiffel Tower hat’ selfie at 18 miles. Looking down the route at the ant-like procession, it felt a little like a less flamboyant Gay Pride march, considerably less diverse with much worse personal hygiene!

I have a slight confession to make now: my Brighton Half Marathon was the longest training run I completed! So when I reached the half way mark it felt like I was entering unknown territory. I have to admit that I was carrying a Metro ticket in my bum-bag just in case. That said, at no time did I feel like giving up and letting down everyone who has helped and supported me.

The last 8 kilometres were very painful, mainly in my hip flexors. Around me it became a bit of a ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ as the task at hand took its toll. On a serious note, it was awful to see so many people being helped by paramedics and connected to saline drips. Victims of dehydration. It made me appreciate that you shouldn’t take on a Marathon lightly.

A huge thank you to my wonderful partner Glen for his patience during training and enthusiasm on the day. Seeing his face periodically through the crowd was a huge boost.

I finished in 04:34:41. I guess a personal best for my first and last marathon … probably!

LandAid SleepOut

This year I joined more than 200 property professionals at LandAid’s SleepOut to raise money for their ongoing drive to end youth homelessness. We slept in freezing temperatures overnight with just some cardboard boxes and sleeping bag to experience what it is like to not have shelter every night. Supplied with tea, coffee and hot soup, the fundraisers heard speeches from four formerly homeless young people, played board games to keep distracted from the cold and networked before getting as snug as possible to battle the snow that seeped through gaps in the tin roof the Old Spitalfields Market in East London.

I must admit that I won the prize for the best ‘bed space’ for his victorious ‘Mann Cave’ that made it through the night, which was the real victory, having raised more than £150k for the charity.

RICS Building Surveying Conference 2018 – TFT speakers confirmed

This year’s RICS Building Surveying Conference will highlight the latest developments within the built environment sector and focus on the impact of emerging technologies.

TFT will be speaking on a number of topics: Dan Cooper will be chairing the Dilapidations update and the Building Conservation in Practice case study, Jon Rowling will be contributing to the dilapidations update and David Mann will provide insights for the Reinstatement Cost Assessments and Technical Due Diligence sessions.

The Conference takes place in London on 2 May. More details can be found here.

We will be at MIPIM again this year

Attending this year will be Alan Pemberton, Managing Partner; David Mann, Partner; Dan Henn, Partner; Alistair Allison, Partner; and Lisa Gunn, Head of Client and Business Development.

We will be there between 13 – 16 March 2018. If you would like to catch up with any of the MIPIM team, get in touch below:

Alan PembertonDavid MannDan HennAlistair AllisonLisa Gunn

Charity Corner


David Mann, Damian Wild, Editor of Estates Gazette, and Paul Morrish, CEO of LandAid, along with a few members of their respective teams, limber up in Hyde Park. This ‘fit’ gathering helped launch David’s fundraising campaign as he prepares for the Paris Marathon on 8 April. David is running in aid of LandAid, which support projects that provide life-changing accommodation for young people facing homelessness. David Mann added:

Ahead of my 50th birthday this June, my partner Glen recently asked me what I wanted to do. “Run a Marathon,” I replied, not entirely the response he was expecting. I have done a few half marathons circa 25 years ago and have taken part in the JLL Property Triathlon and LandAid 10k in recent years but never do enough training. Whatever ‘enough’ is? LandAid’s invitation to complete one of my bucket list aspirations on their behalf was too good an opportunity to miss.

TFT partner David Mann discusses the importance of networking groups in Revo Magazine

David Mann, Partner at TFT and Co-Founder/Co-Chair of Freehold, a support and networking group for LGBT Real Estate professionals features in the latest issue of Revo’s The Front Line magazine. Within the Insights issue, which coincides with this year’s Revo Retail Property Conference and Exhibition, David talks about the importance of networking as well as the positive increase of business development within the LGBT property industry community. To read the article, click here.

TFT advises Grainger on £22.1m scheme

TFT has provided Technical Due Diligence (TDD) advice to Grainger for their acquisition of the 233 apartment PRS element within the Rock Shopping Centre in Bury. The interest was acquired from JV Kennedy Wilson Europe and Fairfax Financial.

The 140,800sq ft residential scheme includes a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats and sits in the heart of the 550,000sq ft retail and leisure complex.

David Mann raises £6,346 for CORAM

TFT Partner David Mann went to MIPIM the hard way – by bike. All in a good cause though as he was raising funds for Club Peloton’s main beneficiary, CORAM, the UK’s first dedicated children’s charity which today continues to pioneer new ways to help children, young people and families.

People have very generously sponsored David, raising £6346 along the way and helping to contribute towards the £550k overall figure raised. A link to the image gallery can be found here. David would like to thank all those who contributed with such big hearts. Thank you.

TFT at MIPIM for the 20th year

TFT will once again be out in force at MIPIM this year. David Mann, Alan Pemberton, Dan Henn and Paul Spaven will all be in attendance at Cannes and putting their best foot forward along the Croisette.

On the agenda for meetings this year will be Technical Due Diligence (TDD) and how we deliver objective advice to manage risk, inform the transaction process and establish the inherent worth of the property or portfolio on acquisitions in the UK and across Europe. We will also be discussing Project Management, combining the discipline of project management with a thorough understanding of building construction; helping investors, lenders, developers, owners and occupiers achieve best value from their property assets. Get in touch if you would like to meet up.