We recently came across an interesting property news article about the increasing number of office blocks in the centre of Birmingham being converted into blocks of apartments and flats. The more opportunity there is for residential accommodation it seems, the better!
From a cleaning perspective, no matter how you are using the building, you will still need to arrange suitable cleaning services, although this will, of course, change with domestic rather than commercial cleaning. An office cleaner across open areas is different to the communal areas or regular domestic cleans and end-of-tenancy cleaning within the individual flats in a block.
The article explained that certain office blocks in Birmingham are showing conversion potential to residential schemes, plus there is a high demand for housing in Birmingham anyway. Apparently, more than 70% of construction is for what they call 'build to rent', where there are separate flats for renting afterwards by the building owner or landlord.
The ideal size is apparently below 10,000 square-foot and up to 60,000 ft² blocks with help as well from the planning system approving residential conversions in principle. Demand for owning such developed blocks is then coming from open market developers rather than the build-to-rent operators with a specific type of funding apparently needed.
Some specific examples provided were owned by Hortons Estates and then York House on Great Charles Street, both in the region of approximately £4 million. There is also a grade 2 listed Taylor and Challen building in the Jewellery quarter with a planning application to convert to 30 to Homes.
In terms of some cleaning tips for any such office-to-residential conversion, here are a few ones to immediately think of:
1 To plan the final build clean after the construction process, remembering the high standards and finish specifications expected with residential areas.
2 Arrange regular cleaning contracts now for any communal areas and offer a discounted service to individual flat owners and occupiers as and when needed. This sort of detail is great to then add in any marketing particulars. From a landlord and property perspective, this may also require procedures such as seven section 20 notices on residential owners through a service charge.
3 Don’t forget any window cleaning provisions both outside and inside, which will probably need to be to a higher standard when people are living at the property.
4. Remember hidden areas, such as refuse bin stores, car parking areas, or cycle stands. This also may be just basic litter picking.
Don’t forget cleaning needs with an office-to-resi project
When you do the basic maths, then Birmingham city centre is the perfect equation for more office-to-residential conversions due to the continued demand in housing and shortage in stock and the need to re-purpose and transform office buildings for more profitable use.
Although cleaning may be an after though, taking care and planning upfront can certainly save a lot of surprises and costs afterwards.