Skip to content

Press release

13 JAN 2020

New guidance improves health and safety reporting for commercial properties

New guidance for chartered surveyors on building condition reports for commercial property has been released today by RICS to bring further transparency to the purchase or sale of commercial assets.

The first edition of Technical due diligence of commercial property – which will become the version to use for all regulated members and firms globally on 1 April 2020 – replaces the following previous guidance:

  • Building surveys and technical due diligence of commercial property, England and Wales (4th edition)
  • Technical due diligence of commercial and industrial property, Australia (1st edition)
  • Technical due diligence of commercial and industrial property, New Zealand (1st edition) and
  • Technical due diligence of commercial, industrial and residential property in Continental Europe (1st edition).

The purpose of the guidance is to ensure that all technical due diligence reports are standardised across the globe while bringing clarity to a prospective purchaser, occupier or financier about any risks associated with a transaction of a property from a technical perspective.

Under previous guidance, RICS members or firms have always been required to undertake an impartial and professional assessment of a property and provide a professional opinion of the condition, highlighting any deficiencies in the property that could have an impact on the building or their occupants. 

However, the new guidance recognises that chartered surveyors often take the lead in the technical due diligence process, liaising directly with specialist subconsultants and coordinating multidiscipline inspections. All future reports are expected to methodically assess every element of the building, providing thorough recommendations and making accountability clear. Alongside this, the guidance aims to ensure that chartered surveyors produce a more useful document for any buyer, seller or invested party, reflecting the complexity of the technical due diligence process in modern built assets.

In the latest edition, guidance about health and safety and fire safety has been reinforced. Under the new guidance, all members or firms should clearly stipulate any defects that require ‘immediate’ action, or foreseeable defects that could pose a danger. If any such defects are listed, the appropriate person, for example the building owner or facilities manager, should be contacted as soon as reasonably possible to allow appropriate action to be taken.

A ‘traffic light’ risk rating is also now included in this version of the guidance, highlighting to clients the areas that require appropriate action in order of importance.

Craig Ross, RICS Associate Director of the Built Environment, said: ‘In recent years, tragic events have occurred, which have highlighted the importance of maintaining and understanding buildings in the operation and use phases, placing further importance on the role of a chartered surveyor in building management and technical due diligence.

‘This latest guidance underlines to our professionals the need for maintained standards and greater consistency in managing health and safety and fire safety across the globe. Technical due diligence in commercial property recognises that chartered surveyors will take a leading role in this area and ensures there is clear accountability to guarantee a safe and secure built environment.’