Technical due diligence of commercial property

Published January 2020
Effective from 1 April 2020

The purpose of the guidance is to ensure that all technical due diligence reports are standardised across the globe while bringing clarity to a prospective purchaser, occupier or financier about any risks associated with a transaction of a property from a technical perspective.

Under previous guidance, RICS members or firms have always been required to undertake an impartial and professional assessment of a property and provide a professional opinion of the condition, highlighting any deficiencies in the property that could have an impact on the building or their occupants.

However, the new guidance recognises that chartered surveyors often take the lead in the technical due diligence process, liaising directly with specialist subconsultants and coordinating multidiscipline inspections. All future reports are expected to methodically assess every element of the building, providing thorough recommendations and making accountability clear. Alongside this, the guidance aims to ensure that chartered surveyors produce a more useful document for any buyer, seller or invested party, reflecting the complexity of the technical due diligence process in modern built assets.

In the latest edition, guidance about health and safety and fire safety has been reinforced. Under the new guidance, all members or firms should clearly stipulate any defects that require ‘immediate’ action, or foreseeable defects that could pose a danger. If any such defects are listed, the appropriate person, for example the building owner or facilities manager, should be contacted as soon as reasonably possible to allow appropriate action to be taken.

A ‘traffic light’ risk rating is also now included in this version of the guidance, highlighting to clients the areas that require appropriate action in order of importance.