A Property Development Service Offering For The Reshaped UK Property Market

Last Update: February 26, 2021

My Niche Is The Project Management Of Property Development Projects

I help property owners to transform their properties from commercial usage, which may be in less demand and converting the use of the building to residential purposes.

Are There Customers In This Niche?

My potential client is anyone who wishes to develop or transform their building from its current Commercial Usage and Make It Into Residential Usage. This may be because that building owner does not have a tenant in their commercial premises at the moment, or that may be possibly become empty in the near future, thus rendering the building redundant for its current usage.

Is There A Demand For This Product Or Service?

Apart from the number of surplus commercial properties that may currently be vacant or under-used, there is also a PULL EFFECT from the residential market place, where there is a severe, indeed a critical shortage of residential housing in the United Kingdom.

As a whole, the UK construction industry needs to produce around 300,000 new dwellings every year, so as to address the overall shortage of approximately 4 to 6 million homes. Currently, the industry´s output is well short of the 300k units per annum, so unless some drastic radical changes are made to the UK construction industry´s output, then the critical housing shortage will remain and indeed worsen

Government Incentive to Convert Property From One Purpose to Another

The United Kingdom Government has addressed both of the above mentioned key issues,

1) that of a surplus of commercial property space, and

2) the critical housing shortage, and have granted Permitted Development Rights to property developers that may wish to take advantage of the current market conditions.

Buildings that were constructed between 1948 and 2018 are the subject of Permitted Development Rights that enable the provision of residential accommodation in the upper parts of retail premises. Developers may also convert the low-value commercial space at the back of ground-floor retail space into residential accommodation.

Not only that, such premises may also be extended upwards by up to 2 floors, to provide additional residential accommodation.

Change Of Use Classes Order

The Government has eased the restrictions on the use of commercial space for different Use Classes so that it is possible for retailers, owners and developers to transfer commercial space from one use class to another use class, without the need to apply for planning permission from the local planning authority.

Extension of Existing Premises

Commercial premises such as offices that have been empty for 6 months or more may be demolished and reconstructed to the same footprint, as residential accommodation.

Commercial premises may also be extended upwards by up to 2 floors, and may also be converted to residential usage.

Through other Permitted Development Rights Legislation, the UK Government has allowed residential property owners to extend their properties upwards and outwards without the need for planning permission.

If you are a residential owner of a bungalow, you can extend your property upwards by one storey, over the whole of its footprint.

A residential owner of a 2 storey house may increase its height by up to a further 2 storeys.

These permitted development categories are subject to certain constraints by the Local Authority, so as to ensure there is proper sustainable development. For example, the development must be in keeping with the area in which it is located. For example, a 2 storey terraced house would not be able to extend a further 2 storeys so as to become a 4 storey house, because it would look completely out of place in that streetscape. However, a bungalow located next to 2 storey houses, would not look out of place if it were to be extended upwards by one storey.

The Local Authority would also have control over matters of Rights Of Light of neighbours, and overlooking, so as to protect the interests of neighbours.

The Local Authority also has the final say related to Highways matters, that is specifically access and egress to and from the property and parking issues.

These Local Authority controls are desirable and in the public interest, because they will avoid irresponsible or unsatisfactory development of substandard quality. As a society, we do not want to see future slums being developed by rushing to overcome the current housing crisis by dropping standards for design and construction.

Similarly, controls are being brought in to ensure that minimum space standards are maintained for dwelling sizes, 39 Square metres for a one-bedroom flat and 50 Square metres for a two-bedroom flat.

The above policies and legislation do not apply to Listed Buildings or in Conservation Areas, nor in Green Belt or Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but there are some exceptions that you need to refer to the detail of the Town and Country Planning Order 596 2015 and subsequent updates for specific clarification.

What Benefit Is This?

Because I am familiar with the legislation changes and work with a development team that is capable and experienced at such changes, I can offer a project management service to customers that may be interested to achieve such transformation of their property, and re-purposing to another residential use.

Why Is That Of Interest?

For a society to have redundant property assets, which are usually costly to create in the first place, lying empty is a wasted opportunity.

It is far better for such empty or under-used buildings to be re-purposed to a necessary and essential need (that of shelter from the elements for residential purposes).

The combined effects of a change in society´s shopping habits (to more online shopping) and the restrictions of the covid pandemic meaning that many bars and restaurants and other businesses have closed, gives an opportunity to re-appraise priorities.

Let us hope that things will soon get back to more like a normal state in terms of hospitality businesses re-opening, and that the job losses that have been experienced can be replaced by new opportunities in new businesses in a re-shaped business world.

New Technologies And New Job Creation

Investment in Green technologies will also give new employment opportunities in new industries, for which there will need to be infrastructure provided, such as Electricity Charging Stations for the new generation of electric vehicles.

All the above changes to the economy and to market trading conditions give hope that there is a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs to work together with a Government that enables the smooth functioning of a capitalist but mixed economy system. The outcome should be a flood of new job opportunities once the current lockdown restrictions have been lifted, and that time cant come soon enough.

Enjoy your weekend!


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drjec Premium
Although I am not in the UK, I found your article very interesting because we have a few properties that we manage ourselves. Your post is a reminder to keep up on all the recent tax changes and regulations for rental income. In California, there is both a housing shortage and an incredible gap between housing costs and wages. It was good to read about what is happening in the UK.
maxmillion18 Premium
Hi Alan. Very interesting indeed. I like to dabble in property on the side but mostly in a few residential properties.
And there certainly seems to be a surfeit of commercial property lying fallow, and some of it remains like that for months and years.

Big commercial premises, especially offices of large corporations, are not going to be in demand in the future. Instead, companies will scale things down and consolidate existing properties, while this pandemic has demonstrated that companies can operate quite effectively, with staff working from home, so leading to a decline in all that commercial real estate.
So I believe there will be more commercial property and land ready for development.
Good luck with the projects. If/when I'm looking, i'll be knocking on your door :-)