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Owning a commercial property can be an incredibly rewarding and lucrative investment, but it does come with some responsibilities you might be unaware of. Managing a building takes a lot of work, and it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of everything - so this month we want to remind you of some of the basic statutory requirements for owning and maintaining a commercial property.

Fire Safety

If you are the owner, landlord or occupier of a business premises, then legally you are responsible for fire safety within the property. You are known as the 'responsible person', and it's up to you to ensure that you are adhering to the basic fire safety regulations within all of your properties. This also applies if you run an establishment with paying guests like a hotel or B&B. As the owner or landlord, you must ensure that you carry out regular inspections and assessments of your premises and produce a written review. You must also make sure that all of your staff and occupants are well informed of risks you have identified and how you plan to resolve them. You also have a legal obligation to put in place (and maintain) fire safety measures, have a plan in place for emergencies and provide adequate information for all occupants as to the procedures for fire safety information.

Electrical

Electrical is an essential part of every building in the digital age, and as the building owner it is your responsibility to ensure that it is functioning and maintained correctly. While there is no statue for electrical testing (as there is for gas) it is still down to you to get the electricity and tools installed, and you should make sure they are working correctly on a regular basis. Malfunctioning electrics can present a serious risk of injury or even fatality, and if this does occur on your property you will still be liable. Find out more on electrical safety at work.

Gas

In terms of gas, there is a well laid out set of legal conditionsthat must be met by the owner of a commercial building. An owner of landlord must:

Maintain all gas appliances in the property. All gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions on a regular basis using a gas safe engineer. you must also ensure that all pipe work and flues in the property are maintained and in safe condition for use.

Carry Out Gas Safety Checks in all properties every 12 months on every gas appliances /flue. This check will make sure all gas fittings are safe to use.

Keep Accurate Records of all checks and precautions put in place. A record of these checks must be shown to tenants within 28 days of the check being completed, and to any new tenants before they move in.

Building Maintenance

All of the above does come under the umbrella of 'building maintenance', but there are also a few other things a building owner needs to do about maintaining your premises. These might seem more like common sense than anything - but they include things like making sure the building itself is structurally sound, there are no massive defects in the foundations and that all internal fixtures are in working order and don't present a hazard. If you have lifts, ensure they are in working order and maintained regularly, and that you have a qualified, reputable building maintenance company on hand to support you.

Other Responsibilities

As a building manager you are also responsible for providing some basic requirements to your tenants, which include:

  • A reasonable temperature 
  • Enough space, ventilation and lighting
  • Toilets and washing facilities
  • Drinking water
  • Safe equipment

You are also legally obligated to conduct annual inspections and tests on your property - as the responsibility for all compliances ultimately lies with you. These statutory inspections cover a number of services your building provides and must be tested regularly. The topics include but are not limited to:

  • Boiler Combustion Prevention
  • Gas Appliance Safety
  • List and Elevators
  • Fire Systems
  • Water Hygiene
  • Pressure Vessels
  • Local Exhaust Ventilation
  • Fixed Wired Electrical Testing
  • Emergency Lighting
  • PAT Testing
  • Lighting Conductors
  • Sprinklers & Dry Risers

We will cover your legal obligations as a building owner in our next post, and everything you need to know to comply with the law.

For more information on your responsibilities as a commercial property owner, please call Aster Maintenance on 01252 844 055 or send us an enquiry and we will be pleased to advise on fire safety, electrical safety, gas safety and electrical maintenance for your business.

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