Where is the best place in London to locate my business?

Every visitor to London will be aware of the diversity of business across the capital which contributes to it’s position of being flexible and accommodating to many of the world’s leading companies. However, it is also very traditional, with many types of business being closely co-located in areas of the capital which encourage these specialist communities to help one another to thrive.

The “best” location will probably be driven by a combination of the type of business you are in and the specific accommodation requirements you have.

Corporate Interiors will be happy to assist within the research and decision-making processes to ensure you pick the most suitable
location.

Can I use any UK premises for my business?

No – all premises are allocated “use classes” within UK planning laws and the terms of your lease may also restrict what type of business can be undertaken within the premises.

However, you may be able to apply for a “change of use” if a particular premise appears attractive – Corporate Interiors can assist you with initial checks and evaluations to establish any usage restrictions or applications that may be required to ensure that you comply with current UK planning regulations.

What does a premises “Lease” cover?

A Lease is a binding contract within UK law which sets the terms and conditions of the occupancy between you (the Tenant) and the Landlord and will be enforceable – businesses cannot
simply leave during the term of an agreement!

Is there a standard format for UK leases?

No – apart for certain UK legal requirements, the majority of the terms of any lease will be agreed between you and your Landlord. This process can be complex – Corporate Interiors can assist within the initial stages and provide relevant information for your solicitors to finalise the lease agreement on your behalf.

What are “dilapidations” and how do they apply?

You will be required to undertake repairs or reinstatement of premises in accordance with the terms of your lease – a “schedule of dilapidations” will be provided by your Landlords for action at the end of your lease.

You can challenge the scope of the schedule or negotiate a payment to the Landlord in lieu of having the work done – Corporate Interiors can assist you when preparing for these negotiations and advise when you may need expert professional help to ensure you settle on a fair level of cost for any legitimate works that are required.

Am I allowed to carry out alterations to the building?

Leases normally prohibit major structural alterations or additions, but will allow you to undertake internal fit-outs to your requirements – with prior Landlords permission. Most UK leases also have re-instatement conditions requiring you to remove any additions you have made at the end of the lease.

Corporate Interiors can assist you with the preparation of any necessary plans and documentation for submission to the Landlords to obtain their consent to the fit-out and you will normally need this in place to be able to occupy the premises.

What are “statutory approvals” and how do they apply?

Most initial alterations and refurbishments will need some form of approval by the Local Authority to ensure that your are complying with current UK legislation and that any works are carried out to meet minimum standards for compliance. The two main types of approvals for the workplace are “planning permission“ and “building regulations approval” The processes are separate and can be fairly complex, requiring detailed drawings and specifications to be prepared for submission to the Local Authority for assessment and approval.

We can assist with both determining the approvals you will need and then undertaking the management of the processes on your behalf to ensure that all consents are obtained with the minimum of fuss and delay.

Will I have to pay business rates?

Yes – UK offices are allocated a rateable value and your lease will normally make you responsible for paying the assessed rates due directly to the Local Authority in which your premises is located.

Why do business premises have service charges?

Your lease will identify the allocation of any service charges provided by the Landlords to your premises, particularly if you occupy part of a larger building – the scope of these charges can be extensive, covering items such as insurance, shared central heating, air conditioning, security, etc…

Corporate Interiors can assist you within both the initial negotiations with your Landlords and assessments of potential costs liabilities under the terms of your lease to ensure that you only pay a fair proportion of the costs for the areas you are to occupy.

Are you equipped to advise on Health & Safety?

Yes – we are fully conversant with all current Health & Safety Regulations. We will ensure that our designs for your new workplace comply throughout and that any necessary applications are made on your behalf to obtain all approvals required for you to occupy and operate your business.

Are our existing Fire Certificates still valid?

No – Fire certificates do not apply after October 2006 and under the new self- regulating framework, the “responsible person” has to carry out fire risk assessments, log the results and act on the findings to address any deficiencies identified in the workplace.

Corporate Interiors are happy to advise on the scope of any upgrades needed within refit projects and the effects on any adjacent workplace areas – we can also assist you with the preparation of fire risk assessments to ensure that you comply with the current UK legislation.

What is the “Fire Reform Order” and who will it affect?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 came into force in October 2006 and was a consolidation of existing legislation into a self-regulating, risk-based framework affecting primarily employers and building owners, but it could also be anyone who has control over workplace premises.

Our application notes and comments provide more information, but if you have any specific concerns regarding your project, please contact us for assistance.

Can open plan offices save me space?

Generally, yes – a predominantly cellular office layout will require more space per person, but staff in open plan offices will still need separate areas for meetings, presentations and quiet-working areas away from their desks.

CI can help you assess the overall requirements of your business ensure you make best use of the space you have available and create work places that are attractive and comfortable for your staff.

How important is the choice of furniture for my office?

The type of furniture you chose can have a massive impact on both the amount of space you will need for your staff and their comfort and productivity – and it will need to reflect the ethos of your new working environment. CI can undertake initial assessments to identify the most suitable options for your business and co-ordinate the procurement of new furnishings in conjunction with your existing equipment (if applicable) to ensure you achieve a cost-effective and flexible workplace.

Can you provide new office furniture?

We have a well researched portfolio of products from leading manufactures and we can co-ordinate all stages of the selection, evaluation and procurement process on your behalf – all you have to do is make the final decisions!

Can we keep our old office furniture?

Yes – if budgets are set which exclude the provision of new furnishing within a refurbishment or relocation programme, we are quite happy to audit, re-plan and incorporate existing furniture into new operational environments as briefed.

However, please bear in mind that IT equipment and working practices within your business have been changing at an ever-increasing pace and older furnishings may not continue to provide the flexibility and optimum use of resources that you will need for the future.

Can you advise on office ergonomics?

Yes – we can help you comply with all current regulations and best practice to avoid problems and minimise the risk of your staff being affected by some of the main issues on the modern workplace, such as RSI , back pain and eye strain etc… We can advise on the selection of office furniture and equipment, plus a whole range of accessories which can provide good ergonomic solutions for your staff.

How flexible can you be during office refits?

As flexible as you need to be – it is still your business, so we will design proposals and offer solutions that meet your needs for flexibility, both now and into the foreseeable future.

It is the same with the implementation processes – all siteworks are by nature disruptive, but we will use our design skills and experience of project management to work around your and your staff (wherever practical) to minimise the disruption to your day-to-day operations.

What is the “enhanced capital allowances” scheme?

Basically, the Government is keen to encourage business to actively
consider the effects of climate change within decisions made when refitting their offices – if you chose energy-efficient equipment from it’s approved lists, you are able to claim the capital costs back more quickly against business profits.

Cost-Effective Implementation...

Key Facts Checklist

 

Key facts when considering CI are ;-

- Minimum Contractual Documentation – we will consolidate
- under one negotiated contract for the project

- Pro-active Cost Management – all major costs are agreed
- up front, minimising the risks of unforeseen cost overruns

- Accelerated Programming – by carefully co-ordinating and
- overlapping tasks, we can deliver projects up to 1/3 faster
- than traditional methods

- Shared Responsibility + Teamwork – our designers and
--the contractors are involved at all stages to ensure good
- communications and efficient siteworks activities

- Maintaining Design Integrity – our co-ordinated
- approach is much better at delivering the agreed
- design concepts to quality standards

- Effective Risk Management – we are also better at making
- sure siteworks run smoothly, and if things do go wrong, get
- the contractors to put them right as the projects proceed

 

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