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Commercial Advice Our thoughts // Residential Advice

Sustainability in Architecture

With the ever-impending climate crisis upon us and changes in living and working practices in a post covid world, the need for sustainable architecture which provides a tangible connection to the natural world has never been in sharper focus. Occupiers, customers and employees are taking greater care when deciding where they work, shop and eat out.  

Biophilic design is focused on connecting humans and the built environment to the natural world through the use of nature in architectural design, be that through new constructions or the redesign of existing buildings.  

For most of us, our natural habit is largely within the modern built environment, through where we both live and work. With more homes being built and the population of cities ever growing, this isn’t changing any time soon. The use of biophilic design seeks to enhance the spaces we spend our time in by incorporating the natural environment and the positive benefits an easy connection to nature brings us, be that through improved air quality or boosted mental health.  

If you’re a city dweller, you’ll likely have noticed one of the most popular concepts of Biophilic Design: green roofs. In 2018, it was found that 32% of all horizontal spaces are unused rooftops, and with benefits for both people and the environment, such as supporting biodiversity and wildlife, improving thermal performance of buildings, and allowing people to take a physical and mental break from the stress of work by connecting them to nature, green roof’s are becoming increasingly popular atop city centre office buildings, apartment blocks and retail spaces for this reason.  

From Stockport to San Francisco, biophilic design is being used to transform corporate spaces and add greenery to industrial areas. As part of a multi-million-pound regeneration scheme, a two-acre park atop Stockport interchange has been given the green light in an attempt to offset carbon emissions and give further green space for locals to enjoy. On the other side of the pond, ATXK have been inviting nature inside their offices to help employees feel a sense of freedom in a positive, healthy workspace. 

Biophilic design incorporates three key principles; Nature in the space, referring to the direct presence of nature, Nature of the space, focusing on taking inspiration from the spatial configurations in nature, and Natural Analogues, which uses indirect methods to reflect nature. The use of these principles drives towards a fundamental goal of Biophilic Design: to create a good habitat for people inhabiting modern structures, landscapes and communities.  

If you own or manage property and are keen to incorporate nature, but a green roof is a stretch too far, incorporating biophilic design through the use of living walls is an option for both interior and exterior areas. Both contributing to improved air quality and acoustics, along with better productivity and creativity, living walls have been noted to significantly increase workplace satisfaction. In our home town, Sheffield Hallam University have made use of this, redeveloping the atrium at their city campus to make use of biophilic design features such as living walls, whilst over in New York, Luxottica have been making use of living walls in their main office breakout space to encourage a relaxed and social space for employees. 

Even small changes to an office or retail fit out specification, such as the use of natural materials and colour pallets in favour of previously desirable and low-cost composite plastics and metals, can help evoke a connection to nature within the great steel and concrete boxes we call our urban built environment. As businesses begin to encourage employees back to the office, biophilic design is certainly something for property and business owners to explore.  

Looking to the future, we cannot deny the need for more sustainable choices in the way we live and work. Biophilic design presents opportunities for both residential and commercial property to improve the environment for those living and working in these spaces by incorporating nature and greenery simply and effectively into everyday life. With questions still arising over how to adapt cities post-Covid, we’re expecting to see the use of biophilic design increase in the years ahead. 

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Residential Advice

The Fourth Wall Standard

Of course when purchasing a property, you need a building survey, but we also always advise our potential clients to request an example report. We don’t work from a standard template at Fourth Wall, our reports are bespoke, developed with you in mind. We believe this is what sets us apart.

Our aim is to reimagine surveying, ensuring you gain the clarity needed to move forward with your property with confidence, and providing you with a personal service from start to finish. We’ll issue you a report you can understand and get the most from, because we get that not everyone finds buildings as interesting as we do. You need the facts, you need a clear explanation, and you need the costs. Our reports give you that.

So what makes a Fourth Wall Report really stand out?

Bespoke Reporting

Industry leading detail presented in a language and format we all understand. We’ve cut the jargon and created a bespoke report with our clients’ needs at the forefront.

Executive summary

You won’t find this in most other reports, but Fourth Wall’s bespoke Building Survey and Homebuyers reports begin with an executive summary so you can see our key recommendations and next steps at a glance – you can also send this straight to your solicitor.

Review of mobile and broadband connectivity

We know that staying connected is more important than ever and believe it is a key consideration when buying a property. That’s why we include this review within our bespoke reports as standard.

Noise and disturbance advice

No-one wants to be kept up at night. Uninterrupted sleep and work schedules is going to be essential for you to enjoy living in your new home. Unique to our bespoke report, we provide a review of traffic and noise data for the area and advice regarding noise transference potential based on the age and construction of the property.

Action points & traffic light ratings

Our recommendations come with a traffic light risk rating to easily understand the severity of the defect and when action should be taken, along with action points so you know who needs to take the next steps, be that you, your solicitor or the vendor.

Photographs throughout

Our reports provide a detailed description of the property with photographs provided within the report so you can easily understand what defect we are talking about, when we’re talking about it.

Budget costs

Our Full Building Survey reports provide budget costs as standard, so you can see how much issues will cost and even negotiate the purchase price. Our clients love this, they want to know what the issue is and how to fix it, but also how much it’s going to cost them. In the current climate getting contractors to quote for jobs isn’t easy, especially if you don’t even own the property yet, so budget costs from us really help.

5-day turnaround

Our reports are issued within 5 working days of inspection so you can continue with your property purchase with confidence. A call with the surveyor is also available within 48 hours of the survey taking place to talk through any immediate concerns.

One-to-one professional advice from Surveyors with local knowledge

Our surveyors are all members and associates of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, with all the necessary experience, training and expertise to provide an accurate assessment of your property. We don’t just issue your report and disappear, our surveyors are always here to answer questions and provide guidance.

We have reginal offices in Manchester, Sheffield and Newcastle providing bases for our surveyors across the North of England so we’re always on hand to help you through the property buying process.

To get in touch for a free quote and sample report, drop us a message, give us a call or send us an email: 0161 706 1131 // reimagine@fourthwallbc.com

Categories
Commercial Advice

Understanding Dilapidations

In all tenancies, agreements are made in relation to the condition of the property and whose responsibility it is for repairs and maintenance, so it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities at any stage of leasing out or renting a property.

Put simply, dilapidations are the costs involved in returning a property to its original state prior to being let, such as repairs and reinstatement works for any alterations made to the property by the commercial tenant.

If a tenant doesn’t keep the property in the state agreed, the legal covenants and relevant dilapidations case law will apply and landlords can serve a schedule of dilapidations to a tenant, which will form the basis of their claim. The dilapidations process takes place either during or towards the end of a commercial lease and involves assessing any disrepair of the property, breaches of lease agreements, where responsibilities lie, and how much it will cost to remedy.

Disputes can arise between landlords and tenants over this process, so to reach a suitable conclusion when dilapidations claims are made, each party will appoint professional representatives in the form of surveyors, as knowledge and experience of construction and dilapidations case law is essential to handle the dilapidations claim process.

Your surveyor will provide you with the expertise and guidance to ensure a fair and reasonable settlement is reached, providing advice on timescales, risks and costs.

They should advise on your liabilities under a commercial lease, and provide a thorough evaluation of the condition of the property, determining the extent of any breaches and negotiating to find a solution that’s beneficial to all parties.

At Fourth Wall we bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to support both landlords and tenants, so if you’re entering into a new lease, considering leaving or have left your premises, get in touch.