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Forde George News

New Members of the Forde George Team!

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Forde George

  • We would like to offer the warmest of welcomes to our two new team members here at Forde George!

    Adam Williams – Graduate Surveyor

    Adam joined us from the University of Plymouth in August after studying Building Surveying and the Environment BSc(Hons), graduating in June 2016. From North Devon, Adam also brings a varied range of experience from his time as an Junior Architectural Technician in an Architectural Practice prior to University; he is knowledgeable with both CAD and BIM, as well as having a keen sense regarding sustainability matters.

    Emma Indge – Administration

    Emma is joining the team to take on the role of administration and general support for the surveyors. Emma brings with her a wealth of experience and will inevitably be a huge asset to the Forde George team.

    Welcome to both Adam and Emma!

                                                                         Welcome to both Adam and Emma!

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    Ugbrooke House Update

    Posted on September 19, 2016 by Forde George

    Following our long and fruitful relationship with the Clifford Estate, we are pleased to confirm that Forde George have been instructed to carry out a Full Building Survey of Ugbrooke House in order to produce a planned maintenance schedule, alongside some internal renovation work, for this fantastic Grade I Listed Country House in Chudleigh, Devon.


    Front Elevation of Ugbrooke House.

                                                                             Front Elevation of Ugbrooke House.


    A view from the Courtyard at Ugbrooke House,

                                                                       A view from the Courtyard at Ugbrooke House.

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    Alterations and Refurbishment at Nethercott House

    Posted on by Forde George

    Farms for City Children, a Devon based charity who offer urban children the opportunity to live and work on a real farm in the heart of the countryside for week long excursions, enlisted the help of Forde George with regards to their 19th Century, Grade II listed country house and associated outbuildings – Nethercott House. With the ever increasing interest and growth in the charity, the need to renovate the internal facilities to allow for the number of children was evident, therefore the client engaged Forde George to manage the overhaul of the plumbing and bathroom facilities within the Main House.

    Following on from this, Farms for City Children expressed their desire to create a Food Preparation and Production Room inside of a Grade II Listed Stable/Coach House adjacent to the Main House; the purpose of the room was to create a space where the children could produce their own cheese, juices, jams and such like to further indulge in the agricultural lifestyle of rural Devon. The Stable/Coach House itself has been, over the years, converted into a store area and small office internally, whilst the external structure of the building has began to show signs of its age. Forde George were instructed to manage the essential repairs to the building, whilst also creating the proposed plans and applying for Listed Building Consent to create the Production Room. The project is currently on-going, with the production room anticipated to be in full use by the Summer of 2017.


    David, and Catherine of Farms for City Children, discussing the proposals for the Stable/Coach House

                                    David, along with Dean and Catherine of Farms for City Children, discussing the proposals for the Stable/Coach House renovation.

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    Barn conversions made easy?

    Posted on April 7, 2016 by Forde George

    How are the 2015 revisions to the Permitted Development Rights, Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order performing?   Are they a simple, fast track route to a source of income for those unloved and unwanted agricultural buildings?

    We have considered the imposed restrictions on exercising rights under the Order, in relation to the likely building works required for conversion. From the experience of Forde George it is very probable that successful conversion will rely upon extensive structural improvement to even the most structural stable building, with new elements such as floors, inner loadbearing walls and new primary roof structures being required, this apparently compromising the exercising of PD rights detailed below.

    Forde George, in preparing Building Condition surveys for PD applications, can contribute to the Application process, hopefully convincing the Planning Authority of the Buildings suitability for conversion.  Forde George also offer the full design and management service for barn and other building conversion schemes.

    In brief, subject to a number of conditions and restrictions, agricultural buildings and land within their curtilage may be converted to a use falling within Class C3 of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order 1987 (dwelling houses). These conditions and restrictions are set out in Class Q of Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. There is a maximum floor space that may be converted of 450 m2 of floor space of a building or buildings within a single established agricultural unit. The total number of new homes which may be developed is 3 dwellings or 450m2 threshold, is reached. The total number of new homes (3 dwelling houses) excluding existing residential properties within the established agricultural unit, unless created by the use of the permitted development right

    So are there any limitations on the extent of building works which can be carried out? Although the permitted development right under Class Q assumes that the agricultural building is capable of functioning as a dwelling, it recognises that for the building to function as a dwelling some building operations which would affect the external appearance of the building, which would otherwise require planning permission, should be permitted e.g. the installation or replacement of windows, doors, roofs, exterior walls, partial demolition etc. However it is not the intention of the permitted development right to include the construction of new structural elements for the building. Therefore it is only where the existing building is structurally strong enough to take the loading which comes with the external works to provide for residential use that the building would be considered to have the permitted development right. Arguably therefore an admission that additional structural support or localised rebuilding is required could, on paper, compromise the approval.

    The local planning authority can consider whether the location and siting of the building (and the facilities in the area) would make it impractical or undesirable to change use to a house. However if the building is in a location where the local planning authority would not normally grant planning permission for a new dwelling this is not a sufficient reason for refusing prior approval.

    There are some limitations to the change to residential use. Where there has been a benefit from Agriculture rights under the existing agricultural permitted development, carried out since 20 March 2013, or within 10 years (before the proposed change to residential use), class Q rights cannot be exercised. The site must have been used solely for an agricultural use for the stated minimum period.

    Having satisfied all of these restrictive conditions the Applicant will still need to discuss with the planning authority the possible need for other consents relating issues including transport, highways, noise impacts, flooding and contamination risks on the site and aspects of design or external appearance of the building.

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    Bridgwater Surveys

    Posted on March 29, 2016 by Forde George

    Having undertaken numerous Commercial Building surveys previously for Staunton Property, the preparation of detailed Survey Reports of Industrial units in Bridgwater enabled a swift acquisition of the units.  As with all Commercial Building Surveys our ‘Due Diligence’ Reports include a detailed review of building fabric and environs with a review of both Freehold and Leasehold documentation, the latter critical in the assessment of current and future Dilapidation issues.



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    Fire Damage Reinstatement

    Posted on October 29, 2015 by Forde George

    Before and after photographs of a recently completed Grade II Listed cob and thatch fire damaged property. Forde George liaised between the owners and loss adjuster when acting as designers, specifiers and contract administrators.


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    Axminster Heritage Centre

    Posted on October 27, 2015 by Forde George

    The Axminster Heritage Centre nears completion. The Conversion and refurbishment of this Grade II Listed building, Designed and Project Managed by Forde George Chartered Building Surveyors will provide the next phase of a publically accessible Heritage facility focussing on the history of Axminster and its carpet making heritage, based in the original home of Axminster Carpets, Thomas Whitty House.

    IMG_1995 IMG_1996 IMG_1998

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    The Importance Of Contracts And Professional Assistance

    Posted on October 6, 2015 by Forde George

    The steady stream of property improvement programs on television has led to an increasing number of homeowners electing to act as Project Manager on domestic improvement and even new build schemes. Unfortunately, TV shows often do not give a true representation of the potential complexity of managing a project and the importance of documentation on which a Contractor’s order should be based. It is not uncommon for Forde George to be contacted by parties in potential dispute where the “contract” comprises a single letter with description and a single price. The apparent cost saving in avoiding professional assistance is often significantly outweighed by the extract cost of the Client’s own time and necessary variations to the contract.

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    Building Surveys – Horses For Courses

    Posted on September 22, 2015 by Forde George

    Forde George are often approached by prospective purchasers who have not acquired a property for some considerable time and are unaware of the types of surveys available.

    The RICS promotes a number of survey alternatives which, whilst consistent in the degree of survey, do vary in respect of the extent and detail of reporting. The basic mortgage valuation, instigated by a lender, is an assessment of their risk should the purchaser default on mortgage payments. This would be fairly limited in the survey detail and reporting.

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    Posted in Purchasing Property | 1 Comment |

    Expert Witness And Disputes

    Posted on September 8, 2015 by Forde George

    The RICS provides advice on dispute resolution, including arbitration and Chartered Building Surveyors acting as Expert Witness. The Directors of Forde George are often instructed to act as an Expert Witness, increasingly at an early stage in the life of a dispute.

    The RICS protocols for Expert Witnesses and the Civil Procedure Rules set out protocols and requirements for the Expert and for those instructing: the Expert being appointed on behalf of the Courts, providing impartial advice to the Court rather than to either party within the dispute. This is often a matter misconstrued by the instructing parties.

    In such circumstances, Forde George emphasize the importance of establishing whether there is a need for an advocate report, acting for the appointing party or whether indeed Court action will result, in which case ideally making an application to Court for an Expert Witness to be appointed. An inappropriately worded, premature report could compromise the appointing party if the appropriate legislative guidance is not observed.

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