Are you thinking of relocating your business premises? Put yourself in the shoes of our client and learn from their experience:
Years have been good for your business. You started off small, maybe in a room in your house, the garden shed or at a desk in a co-working environment. You had hit on a very profitable idea and your business grew over the months. So much so, that you had to take on staff. It was not practical to get them to trail through your house to get to work or maybe there were no more desks available at your co-working office. You had to relocate.
Reasons for office relocation
When it came to choosing your ideal new location, there were many reasons driving your decision. Do any of these resonate with yours:
- Cost of the rent;
- Easy access to road or rail system;
- A city-centre location;
- A modern building;
- Energy efficiency credentials;
- Proximity to other businesses, maybe closely related to your own;
- Offer of a grant for that particular location;
- Spatial orientation;
- Flexibility of the space with potential for further staff to be taken on or sub-rent part of it.
There is an array of reasons why you choose that new office. Our client had decided to go for a city-centre location, a newly-built office block, which stood close to all transport networks. It was a big office that could comfortably accommodate people, complied with all the latest accessibility requirements. It was a bright office, bathed in sun shine all day long. Perfect! The visit to the empty premises went without a glitch. They could foresee being there for several years. It was really going to be a great place to work from: modern and bright.
The 5-year lease was duly signed off. Furniture and office paraphernalia was purchased. Staff recruited and moved in, happy to be in a modern environment, close to shops for their lunch time walk. You were ready for another successful chapter of your growing business.
The startling reality of office relocation
Within a few weeks it became clear that not all was well in the gleaming tower. Staff reported feeling the chill at sunset, storage heaters were just too small for the wide open-plan space. The lack of window blinds and glaring sun created problems with workstations location and working comfort.
Then condensation appeared on the windows. When the beaming sunshine was replaced by relentless rain, water ingress at the windows became a joke with plastic cups neatly arranged on the window sill to catch the drips. With no sun, there was definitely a chill in the air. None of that was spotted during that pre-lease-signing visit.
Meantime the landlord was ignoring his tenant’s problems. Phone calls and emails were exchanged with little hope of resolution. Apart from the plastic cups, there was nothing visible to prove to the landlord that the office was substandard. Despite paying rent on time every month, our client was continually rebuffed in their claim.
Unveiling the hidden office secrets
It did not take long to arrange for a full infrared thermal (IRT) survey of external elevation of the office block and internal elevations of the office. What it revealed was staggering:
- Poorly installed windows;
- Water ingress at each window, with damp permeating through the fabric of the building from floor to ceiling;
- Poor insulation;
- Uncomfortable drafts.
The office block had been built only a few years back, to the latest building and architectural specification. Still, the IRT survey revealed multiple problems, completely invisible to the naked eye, linked to poor workmanship and a “built-to-budget” specification.
It was no wonder that staff were feeling cold, heaters could not cope with the damp and there was a concern that environmental credentials were being thrown out of the windows as the heating was in full blast all day to little effect.
Benefits of unveiling the office secrets
Within weeks of demonstrating to the landlord where the problems were and providing impartial evidence, our client saw the windows being repaired at the landlord’s expense who then claimed it back via the building contractor’s 10 year-guarantee.
The benefits of getting the IRT survey done far outweighed its small expense: the tenant was now happy that he was providing his staff with a warmer, energy efficient office. Staff were much more comfortable in their environment and the complaints about the chilly air stopped. The building owner sighed with relief as his tenant was staying put. The building contractor learnt his lesson the hard way that he will have to monitor his sub contractors more closely in future.
Much despair and frustration could have been avoided. A phone call to arrange an IRT survey prior to the lease being signed would have unveiled the energy secrets of the office and our client would have walked away from a deal.
What are YOUR office secrets?
If you are sitting in the office reading this, are you fed up of your staff moaning about the cold despite the heating being on? Have you noticed condensation at the windows, accepting this reality by assuming that the building is simply ageing? Are there any other visual signs that prove that building defects are at work, such as the paint flaking away, expanding water stains on the ceiling tiles?
How long will you put up with all this, and still pay the rent without complaining? Be an attentive employer as well as a shrewd tenant and get your offices surveyed with IRT technology. An internal IRT survey is done in situ, during day time, with the heating on. Your staff does not need to stop working or be moved.
As your tenancy agreement is coming to an end, are you considering moving premises? Maybe you are even thinking of purchasing a small office block? What will you NOT see during the pre-lease-signing or pre-purchase-agreement-signing visits to new-to-you offices?
Don’t let the perfect visual aspect of an office block cloud your judgement. Make sure you know the secrets that your new office could be hiding.
Are you an unscrupulous landlord, ready to rent energy-inefficient offices out to unsuspecting tenants? We don’t think so either. Protect your investment and be confident of the quality of your offices by commissioning an IRT survey and making the necessary repairs before offering it to the market. You will be able to provide evidence to your tenants that all is well. Who knows, you may even increase the rentability of the premises.
Time to find out what your office secrets are before relocation
Whether you are about to rent or purchase an office block, get in touch with us to unveil the office secrets and make sure the building you are looking at is energy efficient so that you don’t throw money out of its windows whilst getting the most of your investment.
We posted the ‘visual’ image of the office in question on LinkedIn, asking what was wrong with it.
We were astounded by the number of views and comments received. All covered various aspects of the physical and visible aspects of the office, potential health and safety issues, offering advice on lighting, waste management, etc, many based on assumptions. No building defect was mentioned because those are invisible to the naked eye. You can’t see energy loss caused by building defects just by looking at a building. You need IRT technology.
Thank you to all who commented though. We were fascinated by what people thought they could “see”.