Rating Manual section 6 part 3: valuation of all property classes

Section 1113: vehicle testing centres

This publication is intended for Valuation Officers. It may contain links to internal resources that are not available through this version.

1. Scope

1.1 This section relates to premises associated with the testing of automotive vehicles or components.

These hereditaments fall into 2 types:-

a.Proving Grounds where automotive components may be designed, engineered and proven either on tracks or within specialist buildings. These tend to a NSU class and commonly valued using the Contractors basis of valuation.

b.Premises occupied by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – “vehicle testing centres” (VTC). These feature traditional buildings and more limited track features and are used to test complete commercial vehicles.

1.2 Most, if not all VTCs comprise HGV Testing Stations operated by DVSA.

1.3 The DVSA is responsible for the testing of all light and heavy goods vehicles which are registered within Great Britain. It is also responsible for enforcement which includes adherence to the weight regulations and in ensuring that vehicles are in a road-worthy state.

1.4 Testing of buses, coaches and lorries is exclusively undertaken by and is the responsibility of the DVSA. The majority of the testing takes place at the 90 or so testing stations within England, Wales and Scotland. Testing can occur outside the designated testing stations and this typically arises where a transport fleet or bus company installs its own testing equipment. In these circumstances, the test will be carried out at the owners premises by DVSA staff. These facilities are designated “authorised testing facility”.

1.5 The testing regime was first established during the late 1960’s and the vast majority of the testing facilities comprising the DVSA estate, were erected during 1968.

1.6 About 85% of the testing stations within the estate are of similar design. A testing station typically comprises a testing hall which will have between 1 and 5 lanes with pits together with adjacent offices (for administration and enforcement purposes) mess and rest rooms, storage space, toilets and a boiler house. The testing hall has a flat roof, with a steel frame and uninsulated walls, glazed along one side. The offices are generally of single storey of brick construction with a flat roof. It will usually be located on an industrial estate.

2. List description and special category code

2.1 List description: Vehicle Proving Ground and Premises MX

Vehicle Testing Centre & Premises MX

2.2 SCAT 290 Vehicle Testing Centres (with Test Tracks).

As a split Class the appropriate suffix letter should be either V (for Proving Grounds valued by NSU), or S (for Test Centres valued by Unit Specialists).

2.3 SCAT 291 Vehicle Testing Centres (without test tracks) are a NDR Unit class.

3. Responsible teams

3.1 Responsibility for the valuation and referencing of this class of property is split as follows:

  • Proving Grounds are dealt with by the Industrial and Crown Team within the National Specialists’ Unit (NSU).

  • Vehicle Testing Centres & small Proving facilities (featuring limited track features and surfaces) are dealt with by specialists within the NDR Business Units.

4. Co-ordination

4.1 Responsibility for ensuring effective co-ordination lies with both NSU and NDR Business Units.

4.2 Given the different nature of facilities and the different methods of valuation it is unlikely close coordination between NSU & Units will be required. Vehicle Testing Centres should be coordinated with similar aged sized rental based industrials in the locality, with where applicable additions for additional surfaced land.

4.3 Queries relating to allocation or costs for uncommon track features should be directed to the class leader within the NSU.

5.1 No known issues affecting the class.

6. Survey requirements

6.1 Basis of measurement for Buildings at Vehicle Proving and Vehicle Testing Centres is GIA. Guidance for information sought in respect of plant and machinery and civil items should be taken from the VOA Cost Guide.

6A Safety on Site

6.2 All Vehicle Testing Centres and Proving Grounds will feature moving vehicles, so reasonable care is required when carrying out inspections in particular when crossing roads and yard areas.

6.3 Members of the VOA visiting this type of property for an inspection or other reason should check in advance with the site what PSE is required.

6.4 Staff should ensure they are aware of all the VOA guidelines on health and safety and as a minimum requirement attend with non-slip safety boots and high viz clothing.

6.5 Oil is obviously slippery and staff should beware of wet surfaces and shallow bunds which present a trip hazard. Whenever using staircases ensure one hand is on the railings to prevent accidental falls.

6.6 Staff visiting Proving Grounds should be conscious of the sensitive nature of some vehicles which may be present on site including Military vehicles and automotive prototypes. Camera permits should be sought from the site in advance, where applicable, and mobile phones and other recordable devises should not be taken on site without the ratepayers consent.

6B Plant and Machinery

6.7 See Rating Manual section 6: part 5 for general advice on identification of rateable plant and machinery forming part of the hereditament. Rateable plant and machinery is identified in accordance with the provisions of SI 2000 No. 540 in England and SI 2000 No. 1097 (W.75) in Wales.

6.8 This Class includes specialist items of P&M which require special consideration. Inspection pits are common and should be costed using the VOCG pit calculator and applying and age and obsolescence adjustment in line with the age of the building. Weighbridges are not rateable but an addition should be made for the setting (pit RCG 3000Q5/6) in which it sits with an allowance for age and obsolescence on the plant allowance table. The air mains and compressor are rateable and should also be included in the valuation.

6C Additional Land

The local tone may allow for some circulation space to be included in the valuation for the building. With this class there is usually additional areas of concrete used for testing and these should be separately valued, and included in the assessment if local practice dictates.

7. Survey capture

7.1 Survey data for Proving Grounds (NSU) is recorded manually in binders in the custodianship of the NSU’s caseworker support team.

7.2 Survey details for other Vehicle Testing Centres are held on RSA and EDRM in the same manner as other bulk-class hereditaments.

8. Valuation approach

8.1 Proving Grounds (NSU) –This type of property is not normally let and includes a variety of specialist track features including high speed bowls, mile straight, Belgium paving, ramps, water troughs along with some specialist buildings including anechoic test cells, climatic and electromagnetic test chambers. The traditional method of valuation is the contractor’s basis. This should be the primary method for those hereditaments where the majority of value rests in none traditional buildings and track elements and features.

8.2 Vehicle Testing Centres will be valued on a rentals approach having regard to the local tone with additions where applicable for additional land or track features. Although this class might be regarded as sui generis it is considered that there is sufficient rental evidence of similar types of property that they may be valued on the local tone for light industrial with no adjustment for sui generis (i.e. characteristics associated with the actual use as a vehicle testing station). The rental/comparative method should be adopted.

9. Valuation support

9.1 Valuations for all Proving Grounds (NSU) are held on the Non-Bulk Server (NBS).

9.2 Vehicle Testing Centres are recorded on RSA.

9.3 Please refer cases of difficulty via Unit team leader to Unit technical adviser in the first instance. National Specialists Unit Industrial and Crown team will advise where local resolution is not possible.

Practice note: 2017- vehicle testing centres (without test tracks)

1. Market appraisal

1.1 There is no “market” as such for these facilities. It is a Government responsibility to ensure that heavy goods and public transport vehicles are in a roadworthy condition.

1.2 The extent to which the “market” for these facilities affects value will be determined by the general level of value for industrial hereditaments in the locality.

2. Changes from the last practice note

2.1 No change to valuation methodology but see updated plant and machinery costs in section 4 below.

3. Ratepayer discussions

3.1 There have been no discussions with ratepayers.

4. Valuation Scheme

4.1 The rental/comparative method should be adopted having regard to the local tone with additions where applicable for additional land or track features. Although this class might be regarded as sui generis it is considered that there is sufficient rental evidence of similar types of property that they may be valued on the local tone for light industrial with no adjustment for sui generis (i.e. characteristics associated with the actual use as a vehicle testing station).

4.2 The costs shown in this section are for ease of reference. In all cases where a cost guide code is shown it is this that which must be input into the NBS template, not the costs shown here. Where the cost guide code shows options, the costs shown in this practice note should be used to aid selection. Should the cost guide show different costs to those shown in a current version of this practice note, please refer to the CCT.

4.3 Typical p & m additions for the standard design stations built in the late 1960s :-

Item RCG Code ERC Age & Obs Allowance
Inspection pits 3000QT £24,000 each Buildings
Roller Doors (excluding those for Bay 1)   £5,000 each Buildings
Weighbridge pit 3000Q5 £5,021 Plant
Test ramp 3000AA £16,000 Civils
Air mains 201C20 £3,655 Plant
Compressor 201A05 £12,500 Plant

Where the above figures conflict with the actual item and the RCG figure for it adopt RCG advice.

Vehicle Testing Centres Practice Note R2010

1. Co-ordination

1.1 This is a Group Class. Co-ordination responsibilities are set out in Rating Manual : Section 6 - Part 1

1.2 The Special Category Code 290 or 291 should be used. As a Group Class the appropriate suffix letter should be G.

2. General

2.1 For previous Rating Lists these hereditaments have been valued on a rental basis following the local tone and are usually located on industrial estates.

3. Valuation Guidance

3.1 In these circumstances valuations should again be done on a rental basis following the local tone.

In most cases the local tone should not require adjustment, except for the addition for plant & machinery.

Typical p & m additions for the standard design stations built in the late 1960s :-

Item ERC Age & Obs Allowance
Inspection pits £21,250 each Buildings allowance
Roller Doors (excluding those for Bay 1) £5,000 each Buildings allowance
Weighbridge pit £5,750 civils allowance
Test ramp £17,500 civils allowance
Air mains £3,500 Plant allowance
Compressor £12,350 Plant allowance

4.0 Offices

4.1 No allowance should be made for the office layout. The area of any plant rooms should be dealt with in accordance with the local tone (eg. deducted from the area).

5.0 Unoccupied Areas

5.1 The ratepayer may argue for allowances for unused or unoccupied areas. For example, one or more lanes may not be used; or areas of concrete occupied by the Driving Standards Agency may have been vacated. Separate assessment of such areas is prevented by the statutory provisions covering Crown property from 1/4/2000, and allowances or removal from the valuation should not be conceded.

Practice Note 1 : 2005 : Vehicle testing centres

1. Co-ordination arrangements

This is a Group Class. Co-ordination responsibilities are set out in Rating Manual : Section 6 - Part 1 : Practice Note 1 : 2005. The Special Category Code 290 or 291 should be used. As a Group Class the appropriate suffix letter should be G.

2. general

For the 1990, 1995 and 2000 Lists these hereditaments have been valued on a rental basis following the local tone and are usually located on industrial estates.

3. Valuation guidance

In these circumstances valuations should again be done on a rental basis following the local tone. In most cases the local tone should not require adjustment, except for the addition for P&M. As a guide additions may be made as follows for a typical station built late 1960s :-

Item ERC Age & Obs Allow ARC
Inspection pits £16,470 each 13.5% £14,246 each
Roller shutter doors (If not included in local tone) £4,200 each 32% £2,856 each
Weighbridge pit £4,460 13.5% £3,858
Test ramp £13,950 13.5% £12,067
Air mains £2,780 48.5% £1,432
Compressor £19,200 48.5% £9,888

4. offices

No allowance should be made for the office layout. The area of any plant rooms should be dealt with in accordance with the local tone (eg. deducted from the area).

5. Unoccupied areas

The ratepayer may argue for allowances for unused or unoccupied areas. For example, one or more lanes may not be used; or areas of concrete occupied by the Driving Standards Agency may have been vacated. Separate assessment of such areas is prevented by the statutory provisions covering Crown property from 1/4/2000, and allowances or removal from the valuation should not be conceded.