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

Section 300: contractors site huts

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1. Co-ordination

This category is subject to co-ordination in accordance with the relevant Practice Note.

2. Description

Contractors site huts are predominantly buildings of a temporary nature used as offices, canteens stores etc and will include sheds, huts, “portacabins”, containers etc.

3. Survey Requirements

3.1 Basis of Measurement

In accordance with the VO Code of Measuring Practice these properties should be measured to GIA.

It is essential when referencing contractors site huts that care is taken to establish who is the occupier and how long they have been in occupation. Special note should also be made of the physical characteristics of both the structure and the site with specific regard to the services connected to each unit. Photographs of the site huts and the locality should be taken preferably with a date stamping facility.

4. Basis of Valuation

In the absence of direct rental evidence valuation should be by reference to the level of values prevailing in the locality for comparable structures. Evidence of annual hire charges may be relevant when considering contractors huts in circumstances where they comprise the hereditament itself. This approach is not thought to be applicable in circumstances where the huts form part of a larger hereditament in which case the hereditament must be considered as a whole. Cost information can be found in section 4:200 et seq. of the Valuation Office Rating Cost Guide.

5. Valuation Considerations

5.1 Rateability

Building contractors are in rateable occupation of sheds, huts etc. erected on building, engineering and similar sites under the terms of their contract with the building owners provided that the structures remain in situ for not too transient a period (for the treatment and assessment of contractors buildings sited on British Coal Opencast coal working sites, see paragraph 6).

5.2 Sub-contractors occupations

The general principles set out in this section apply equally to site huts occupied by sub-contractors. These should be separately assessed and the sub-contractor shown as the occupier for identification.

5.3 Transience

When considering whether an occupation has sufficient degree of permanence it is necessary to look not only at the time element but also the quality and consequences of the occupation.

There are two issues to consider here:

a. What degree of permanence is needed before a chattel such as a temporary hut becomes part of the hereditament along with the land and

b. What degree of permanence is needed before a person can become a rateable occupier of a hereditament.

In Sir Robert McAlpine and Sons Ltd v. Payne (VO) LT (1969) RA 368, the Lands Tribunal determined that, “in the generality of cases”, the continuous existence of a contractors site hut for 12 months was necessary to establish its rateability. In this case both criteria (above) were satisfied.

5.4 VT hearing of appeals

In the McAlpine case the Lands Tribunal accepted the agreed view of the parties that rateability should be considered on the facts known both at the date the proposal (or alteration) is made and at the time of the hearing of the appeal. It is, therefore, administratively advantageous to all concerned if any Valuation Tribunal hearing can be delayed until at least 12 months from the date occupation commenced.

5.5 Unit of assessment

Where a contractors occupation includes two or more site huts within a fenced compound thus comprising a single hereditament, one entry should be made. In other circumstances VO’s may treat each site hut as a separate hereditament and so avoid comprehensive revision of previously agreed assessments whenever a site hut is erected or demolished during the currency of a contractor’s occupation.

5.6 Case law

The following cases should be studied:

John Laing & Sons Ltd v Kingswood Assessment Committee C of A (1949) 42 R& IT 15

Woodward (VO) v. Brading & Blundell Ltd LT (1951) 44 R & IT 758

London County Council v Wilkins (VO) H of L (1956) 49 R & IT 495

Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd v Payne (VO) LT (1969) RA 368

Appeal of Johnson 1983

Dick Thompson (Earth Moving) Ltd v Lewis (VO) 1975

United Gravel Co. Ltd v Sellick (VO) 1975.

6. British Coal Opencast Workings

Opencast coal working either controlled by British Coal Opencast Executive or by private concerns under licence are valued by the Mineral Valuer to whom reference should be made (see Rating Manual: section 6 part 1).