TDD

TFT Edinburgh at 5: from Europe to the Royal Mile

TFT’s Edinburgh office is celebrating its fifth birthday with a difference. The office bash might have to wait for another year, but we’re looking back on some of our favourite projects to date, and the big things which lay ahead.

Alasdair Balfour, Associate in our Edinburgh office, talks to us about travel on the job and new developments close to home.

“I’ve enjoyed building close and longstanding relationships with our fantastic clients, and our team across the company. From our Edinburgh base we’ve delivered instructions in the city, across Scotland and further afield too, including England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and mainland Europe.

After all, the buildings don’t come to us!

My highlights are always exploring new locations. I relish the challenges that come with working in different places, with new projects in new contexts. Some personal favourites include inspection of just under 5m sqft of Grade A office accommodation across Paris, Berlin and Frankfurt. Those were to produce reinstatement cost assessments (RCAs) for a European portfolio. I also completed a range of separate Technical Due Diligence instructions across France and Spain, including a 800,000sqft industrial unit near Madrid.

Closer to home, it’s always exciting to see your city change and grow. In particular, I’m proud be part of the evolution of Edinburgh as its sites and buildings evolve to the commercial opportunities of our times. Major development sites aren’t common in the city centre right now. But I was privileged to work on the multi-use redevelopment of New Waverley.

I was a Fund Monitor for the new purchaser of the 190,000sqft office building, Queen Elizabeth House. I was overseeing the development obligations associated with the purchase, building contract and tenancy. It’s an impressive facility, right in the heart of the city with striking views east and west down the Waverley valley as far as Berwick Law, near North Berwick in East Lothian. As with many things, occupancy has been delayed by COVID-19 but it’s only a matter of time before the area is fully brought to life by its inhabitants.”

New Waverley is part of our nation-wide instruction from Legal & General to monitor the development of Government hubs in major cities across the UK. Find out more about some of the other schemes in that project, in Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow .

TFT at RICS Building Surveying Conference


Last week TFT decamped to the Royal Lancaster Hotel to join the 2019 RICS Building Surveying Conference (May 2), an industry gathering with a full programme of seminars and panels tackling the state and future of surveying.

Katie Brooks, Associate Building Surveyor, chaired three sessions on two topics across the day, hosting almost 600 people as part of her role in the RICS Conference Working Group which shaped the day’s agenda and content.

Katie’s first session was on offsite and modular construction, a topic which is regaining recognition in the industry due to the cost saving opportunities it offers, and the scale which modular building techniques can provide. A recent RICS report on Modern Methods of Construction declared modular methods could be a route to accelerate home building for the Government’s target of 300,000 homes per year by 2020.

Katie chaired a presentation and Q&A by Tim Prosser of Hawk Technical, who examined the pros and cons of modular and off-site construction methods. Tim drew on case studies he has witnessed over the past few years, and weighed up the benefits for different kinds of developer, and he also showed how differing approaches would result in implications for building sequence, logistics, sustainability and design process on top of the core considerations of time, cost and quality.

The second session on Katie’s agenda was a presentation on the building regulations, and specifically enforcement. A presentation from David McCullogh (who chairs the RICS Fire Safety Leaders Forum and sits on CIC’s specialist Grenfell panel) reminded the audience that the industry has a duty to self-regulate, and to take responsibility for proposing improvements.

We also saw TFT Partners David Mann and Chris Gibbons take the stage to give an update on Technical Due Diligence (TDD) as the RICS prepares to launch the latest Guidance Note on TDD. The pair presented best practice updates on assessing risk, how to approach surveys for different building types, how to use technology such as drones to maximise access and value from a survey, and what clients expect from the best surveyors.

In summary, those are: sharp detective instincts, a commercial perspective on what impacts value the most, and clear, timely communication of the key facts.