Lack of property planning endangers business growth

A Worcestershire Chartered Surveyor who specialises in commercial property is warning the county’s businesses that their future growth plans could be scuppered by a failure to find larger business premises.

John Dillon, partner at commercial property consultancy GJS Dillon LLP, which has offices in Worcester and Bromsgrove, says that with growing demand for industrial and office accommodation in the county, businesses can no longer be sure of finding the right premises when they want to move.

Mr Dillon says: “Many firms have detailed business plans in place which provide for growth over the next few years, taking advantage of the stronger local and national economy.  We know that around one third of businesses plan to move in the next two years in order to facilitate that planned growth.  However, few of these business plans are supported by detailed property plans, so when they do come to look for new premises, many organisations are surprised at just how little choice there is of the right property.”

According to GJS Dillon, in the past 12 months Worcestershire has experienced a 25% increase in take up of industrial and warehouse space and a 20% increase in take up of office space, further reducing the choice of available properties.

Mr Dillon warns: “It can take up to two years to identify and acquire suitable premises, especially if the chosen premises are new-build or are being purpose-built, so the property aspects of planning for growth need to work alongside all other parts of the business plan and in the same detail.”

According to Mr Dillon, using a local commercial property professional to help with property planning can ensure that all major aspects of any move are covered, namely: identifying needs, timescales, leaving existing premises, and availability of property and budget.

He says: “A business may only move a few times in its history, so its directors are not best suited to work out detailed property requirements, nor to search and negotiate for new premises on and off the market.

“The starting point is a space audit – just how much space will an organisation require for the next five years in new premises, where does it want to be based and how much can it afford to pay.  Will it rent or buy?

“All these questions are best answered using the detailed market knowledge of a local chartered surveyor who can save businesses’ time and money and ensure that business plans can be fulfilled.”