Monday, 19 August 2013

Converting Property From Residential To Commercial : Sloane International Developments

When evaluating a conversion from residential to commercial use, it’s necessary to plan ahead. The first consideration should be the local council’s plans for the area as a whole. Every council will have a ‘local plan’ for the area under their control, and this maps out how development will be controlled in the period until the next plan. 
In these plans, certain areas will be designated for residential use only, and any application for commercial development will go against the planning guidelines. Since these plans are the first level of compliance required for any planning application, it’s wise to ensure that the property first falls within a suitable area. 
Some discussion with council planning officers is advisable, as an indication can usually be given at an early stage of the likelihood of consent being granted. 
If the area is suitable for a conversion, the next stage will be to secure planning consent both for the change of use and for any physical alterations to be made to the internal or external structure of the building. 
You may need to consider how your change of use will affect your neighbours, and on what grounds they might object to your application (on the grounds of increased vehicular traffic to your premises, for example). Depending on the anticipated opening hours and the type of business, there may be licencing restrictions, and again, grounds for objection from neighbours. 
In terms of physical alterations, it may be good policy to take advice from architects or building consultants, to ensure that all relevant codes and statutes are followed, appropriate to the type of business. For instance, a fast-food outlet will require certain design considerations with regard to external ducting for extractor fans, and other similar considerations. 
Licenced premises are subject to legislation with regard to storage and display, which in current form require input to the planning process from a qualified architect
Assuming you have all permissions in place, and can proceed with the project, make sure that you hire trustworthy builders, shopfitters, or other trade professionals. Ensure when asking them to quote, or when hiring them, that they’re members of the trade associations relevant to their trade, and that they have all suitable public liability insurance in place. 
If you have no experience of managing a conversion such as this, it might be good policy to hire a specialist project manager to oversee the process. 
Finally, if you're going to be running the business from the property once it's converted, don't forget to let the public know about it! Start planning your advertising and promotion strategy from an early stage, so that you'll have customers from the first day. 
Look into some form of opening event, perhaps with special offers for the earliest customers, and other time-restricted promotions to draw the public in.

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