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Hot Topic Highlight - March 2018 Update



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What is today's blog about?


This week we will take a look at two key updates for March 2018; IPMS for Industrial and the conclusion of the Iceland rating case. Essential reading for RICS APC and AssocRICS candidates.


You can also listen to our CPD podcast on Anchor for more free AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support.


What's new?


International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) for Industrial was published on 24 January 2018. 


The long-running Iceland rating case has been decided by the Supreme Court, providing a common sense clarification of existing precedent.


IPMS for Industrial

The aim of IPMS is to provide global transparency in the measurement of buildings.


This will be the third IPMS standard to be released, following hot on the heels of the office and residential standards. 


Both the office and residential standards have been incorporated into RICS Property Measurement (2nd Edition). 


IPMS for industrial has not yet been incorporated into any RICS professional guidance, although this is likely to happen later during 2018. Further IPMS standards are planned for retail and mixed-use buildings during 2018 onwards.


IPMS1 is roughly equivalent to GEA, IPMS2 to GIA and IPMS3 to NIA. 


We keenly await RICS' guidance on the application of IPMS for Industrial to UK measuring practice.


Iceland Foods Limited v Berry (Valuation Office) (2017)


The Supreme Court ruled on the above case in March 2018.

The basis of the case was whether an air handling system should be included in Iceland's rating liability. The units were required to keep the store at an acceptable ambient temperature, which was affected by heat emitted from refrigeration cabinets.


Iceland argued that the air handling system was part of a trade process, meaning that it should not be taken into account when assessing rateable value. 


The Valuation Office, however, argued that this was not the case, adopting a narrow interpretation of the Valuation for Rating (Plant & Machinery) (England) Regulations 2000.


The key definitions at stake within this were:

  • Plant/machinery shouldn't be taken into account if it is 'used or intended to be used in connection with services mainly or exclusively as part of manufacturing operations or trade processes'

  • Services are defined as 'heating, cooling, ventilating, lighting, draining or supplying of water and protection from trespass, criminal damage, theft fire or other hazard'


The Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal had previously determined that the air handling system did not constitute a trade process. This was because they did not create a transition from one condition to another.


However, the Supreme Court disagreed and found that the definition of 'trade processes' should be widely interpreted. This extended to Iceland's use of air handling units to maintain a consistent internal store temperature. This common sense approach brings clarity to existing precedent on similar retail rating cases.


The decision turned on the recommendations within the Wood Report, which was based on the 2000 Regulations. 


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Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you


N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal or financial advice.