"Simon Hawthorne" wrote
| I have decided, while converting the barn to keep the upstairs
| as on large open plan office which I plan to let to a local
| business. The downstairs will stay part of the house.
Bear in mind that business / mixed use /
multiple occupancy can give rise to
more stringent fire escape and alarm requirements. Also if the business
upstairs has more than 5 employees it will need separate male and female WCs
and may have additional car parking requirements. You may also have to
consider disabled access for staff and visitors, and public liability
insurance for the car park and shared areas.
| How much work is involved in bringing in new feeds - in terms of £££
| and time?
Electricity - up to about 60A you can get 'check meters' from electrical
wholesalers quite cheaply and meter the sub-main to the office if your
existing supply is adequate. For a barn-sized building you may be lucky and
already have a 3-phase incomer.
Water - an office is unlikely to use a lot (WCs and kettle for tea) so you
might just absorb that cost, especially if you can get a domestic unmetered
supply. Bear in mind sewage charges may also apply.
Gas - dunno. But if the property is well-insulated so the heating load in
the office isn't more than about 6-8kW max you could just install electric
panel heaters run though the office sub meter. Electric handwash units may
be useful in avoiding long dead legs to the taps and frequent on-offs if you
use a combi.
(Probably wise to have a condition in the lease banning bottle gas heaters.)
| Can I legally charge an 'all inclusive' rent?
AFAIK yes, but there is a maximum on the resale price of energy to tenants
(although this might be for dwellings rather than commercial leases).
If you are doing all inclusive on heating you would need to put the timer in
the dwelling part of the property (under your control) and agree with the
tenant what hours heating is provided - and that you are not liable for its
breakdown (if your boiler fails, the office is too cold for work, and the
tenant has to send his staff home, you don't want to be liable for the wages
and consequential loss of business.)