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

Section 392: fire stations

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

1. Scope

This section applies to all fire stations occupied by Fire and Rescue Services (formerly known as brigades) in England and Wales including London

2. List description and special category code

List Description: Fire station and Premises

SCAT Code 010

SCAT suffix S

3. Responsible teams

This is a specialist class and responsibility for valuation will lie with the specialist teams within the business units. Queries of a complex nature arising from the valuation of individual properties should be referred to the NSU class facilitator via the class co-ordination team (CCT)

4. Co-ordination

The Emergency classes Co-ordination Team and the Civic Valuation Panel have responsibility for this class ensuring effective co-ordination across the business units. The team are responsible for the approach to and accuracy and consistency of ambulance station valuations. The team will deliver practice notes describing the valuation basis for revaluation and provide advice as necessary during the life of the rating list. Caseworkers have a responsibility to :

  • follow the advice given at all times

  • not depart from the guidance given on appeals or maintenance work, without approval from the co-ordination team

  • seek advice from the class co-ordination team before starting any new work

Purpose built fire stations are a sui –generis class and consequently, as a general rule, only evidence relating to hereditaments in the same mode or category of use is pertinent.

See

  • Scottish and Newcastle (Retail) Ltd v Williams (VO) (RA 2000 P 119) and the subsequent Court of Appeal decision –Williams (VO) v Scottish and Newcastle Retail and Allied Domecq [RA 2001 P 41)

  • Re the appeal of Reeves (VO) RA 2007 P168

  • Dawkins (VO) v Royal Leamington SpaBC and Warwickshire County Council (1961) RVR 291.

See Rating Manual section 3 part 2 paragraph 9.2 and appendix 1 thereof for further guidance on mode and category of use.

The method of valuation applicable to fire stations i.e. the contractors basis was endorsed by the Lands Tribunal(Upper Tribunal Lands Chamber) in

  • North Riding of Yorkshire County Council -v- Bell (VO) (1958)

And again by the Valuation Tribunal in

  • Somerset County Council v Hartwright (VO) (1999)

6.Survey Requirements

6.1 Method of Measurement

There is unlikely to be any useful rental evidence relating to fire stations and consequently as the contractors basis of valuation will be applied in the valuation of this class, the appropriate method of measurement will be Gross Internal Area (GIA)

There are however a number of stand- alone fire control centres for which direct rental evidence maybe available or are in the nature of offices/call centres for which a significant body of rental evidence exists. These hereditaments should be assessed using the rentals method of valuation and will fall to be measured to Net Internal Area (NIA). Where however a fire control centre is located together with a fire station or training facility then the valuation will be carried out by adopting the contractors basis and the facility should be measured to GIA

6.2 Description

6.2.1 Fire and rescue services (FRS) operate independently from each other although in recent years there has been a trend toward combining/sharing facilities such as fire control centres and specialised training facilities. Consequently although FRS may have differing policies that can impact upon the provision of fire stations, common requirements, financial pressures, and the demands of the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the regulatory Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor dictate a degree of uniformity.

6.2.2 Subject to the comment above, however, the nature of the area covered by a station will dictate the size, design, crewing level and operation of individual fire stations

6.2.3 A fire station is essentially a building for the garaging of fire appliances and the storage of other ready to use fire- fighting equipment. The range of equipment will vary according to the size of the facility which is determined by its designation and purpose.

6.2.4 Many stations in rural areas are “retained stations”, operated by retained (i.e. part time) fire fighters and will usually be under 350m2 with one or two appliance bays. As the fire fighters are not full time there are unlikely to be dormitory facilities etc. but there will generally be a meeting room/training room, drying area, equipment store, muster room and office, toilet and shower facilities.

6.2.5 In urban areas fire stations are likely to be crewed 24 hours a day, cater for more appliances, have a canteen and dormitory facilities as well as a gymnasium, training and administrative offices in addition to the accommodation referred to at paragraph 6.2.4. They will generally be at least 500m2 GIA. Some large urban fire stations are several times that size. A comparatively small number of stations are “day manned”, being crewed by full time fire fighters during the daytime, but reverting to retained cover over night.

6.2.6 Many stations are now referred to as community fire stations. These stations house community halls and meeting rooms which in addition to their use by the FRS are made available to the public for appropriate uses. In some fully manned community stations the gymnasium is also made available for supervised sessions

6.2.7 The level of risk in the area covered by a FRS will impact on the distribution and size of fire stations. The whole of the FRS area is assessed for the risk level it presentsand categorised according to the level of response that will be required for any callout. Thus the proximity of large industrial premises may dictate that a station will be larger and have more fire fighters and appliances than would otherwise be the case.

6.2.8 Modern appliances are longer than those for which some older stations were designed, especially modern turntable ladders. Modern bays tend for this reason to be larger. This is a point to consider if there is a suggestion of superfluous bays at older stations.

6.2.9 Fire stations are generally built to a high standard; appliance bays have terrazzo, quarry tiled or other high quality waterproof flooring, and background heating. Often there are drop down chargers to ensure the appliances have fully charged batteries at all times

6.2.10 Exhaust fume extraction is the norm in a modern station, and many older stations have had such systems installed in recent years. This is rateable plant and machinery.

6.2.11 Woodwork tends to be hardwood sometimes with quarry tiled skirting, and there are few stud walls. Many older fire stations function perfectly well today, although they will often lack purpose built breathing apparatus rooms and a space has usually been adapted for this purpose. Similarly many were not built with gyms, and part of the station will have been turned over to this purpose. Modern stations have purpose built breathing apparatus rooms and gyms, though in many ways basic designs are little different from older stations

6.2.12 In some urban areas some stations will have extra space to keep more specialist equipment such as foam units, pollution control unit, high volume pump units, mobile control centres for major incidents, lighting units and a vehicle to transport them (usually a commercial HGV chassis with hydraulic rams to lift the “pods” onto the back). These will usually cover the geographic area served by several fire stations housing standard appliances. Similarly Hi-lift platforms will not be kept at all stations but will move to the stations as the level of risk demands

6.2.13 The Government’s New Dimension Programme established following the September 11th 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre sought to enhance the capability of the fire and rescue service to respond to a range of emergencies. Search and Rescue Centres (SARs) were introduced within existing suitably located stations (normally accessible to the motorway network and able to respond rapidly in the event of terrorist activity) or alternatively new facilities provided.

6.2.14 In response to budgetary pressures some FRS have sought to relocate with other emergency services when the opportunity presents itself to pool resources and save on build costs by sharing canteen facilities and gymnasiums etc.

6.2.15 Externally fire stations may incorporate a number of training facilities to include -

a) Towers

i) Many FRS maintain towers at the majority of their fire stations and they are regularly used for ladder and hose training, however some FRS have few towers, preferring to move staff to a central locations for ladder training. ii) Towers were historically used to hang hoses to dry out and although no longer required in the main for this purpose modern hoses do still require drying before being sent away for repair.

iii) Specialised companies will produce a range of “off the shelf” designs that can be customised to the requirements of individual FRS.

iv) Older towers are usually of brick or concrete construction, and generally more modern ones are pre-fabricated steel

v) In some stations space has been let on towers to mobile phone operators (and others) for the provision of telecoms masts. (see Rating Manual section 6 part 3 - section 860 for telecommunications hereditaments)

vi) Unless there is evidence to the contrary (e.g. a FRS is (or has in recent years) building new brick or concrete towers) then towers should not exceed the cost of a modern steel replacement capable of carrying out the same function. NB where a tower is combined with a firehouse or smoke house then brick and concrete construction remains the norm.

b) Smoke Houses

i) Some larger fire Stations will have a smoke house, used for training purpose, which can be filled with non-toxic smoke. In most smoke houses the smoke can be rapidly extracted from the building by fans and ducting in case of emergency. Smoke houses are generally built to mimic domestic properties and may include roof access facilities to provide a varied and realistic training environment. In some more modern stations the smoke house and tower can be combined into a single structure and in such cases they are usually of brick construction.

ii) Smoke houses vary substantially in their level of sophistication, mainly in the monitoring systems and control over the smoke production and distribution within the building.

c) Fire Houses

i) Firehouses are usually much more sophisticated and expensive structures than smoke houses. A modern firehouse will include sophisticated control and safety equipment to provide realistic training whilst minimising the risk to the trainees.

ii) Older fire houses may have much less in the way of sophisticated control equipment, but nevertheless the structure itself will be expensive as it needs to be resistant to the heat of a fire as well as the smoke generated. Expensive refractory tiling is likely to be found in a firehouse, or sacrificial steel plate. In older firehouses, the fire is generated by setting light to flammable materials such as wood or straw in a “crib” inside the building, or ducted into the building from controlled fires in external furnaces.

iii) In more modern firehouses, a much more controllable training environment may be provided by using propane gas as a fuel for the fire, together with artificial smoke.

iv) As a generality, firehouses are considerably more expensive to build than smoke houses and again may incorporate an integral brick built tower

d) Flashover Houses

I) “Flashover” is a particular dangerous phenomena that can occur in fires in confined spaces,. It may arise when inflammable gasses build up at ceiling level and reach a temperature where they spontaneously ignite in an explosive fireball.

ii)Some FRS use very basic facilities, consisting of an adapted steel “shipping” container in which fires are set, specifically designed to create flashover, and the eye of a very experienced officer may monitor conditions. Training is aimed at recognition of the signs of a potential flashover, and how to prevent it (cool down the gasses). These containers often have a very short life as they are repeatedly subjected to extremes of heat for which they were never designed and need to be replaced regularly.

iii)There are also a small number of very sophisticated flashover training facilities where flashover conditions can be created in a controlled manner using propane gas as the fuel.

e) Yard Areas to Simulate Road Traffic Incidents (RTI)

Many fire stations now devote an area of the training yard to RTI training. Scrap cars are used to test and train fire fighters in the use of equipment to extricate accident victims from crushed and mangled cars.

f) External works

i) Being very heavy vehicles (particularly when the appliance has a full charge of water), fire engines, have a very high axle loading, running in the main on just two axles. Consequently the extensive areas of hard surfacing at most fire stations used for drill, wash down etc. have to be capable of supporting a large axle load. In the main this will be 30cm reinforced concrete, sometimes with paviors over. In many fire stations the “drive through” design of the appliance bays also increases the area of roads and hard surfaces required.

ii) In addition to the above there is a parking requirement for personnel.At a “retained” station a call out will result in a number of fire-fighters arriving independently, most probably in a car or van that has to be parked at the station to provide immediate access to the appliance. Similarly the shift patterns at a 24 hour crewed station mean that even in an urban environment it is often difficult, if not impossible, for all crews to travel to and from work by public transport.

iii) A modern 1 or 2 bay “retained” station, although it may be under 300m2 GIA, typically has “hard” surfaced areas for parking, manoeuvring vehicles and training, and these can easily aggregate to 1000m2 or more.

iv) Many stations have large underground water tanks and associated drainage, which are dual purpose. In some areas both the drainage and mains water supply are inadequate to cater for the large volumes of water required during training, with the result that drains can be over-loaded, or taps run dry in the vicinity. Whilst this may be acceptable in emergencies, it will probably not be accepted if it happens on a regular basis during training. Hence the water is taken from the tanks and re-cycled back into the tanks via interceptor drains. They also provide a facility for deep-water lift training for situations where a mains hydrant is not available, i.e. where water needs to be taken from wells or watercourses in the vicinity. Many modern stations have been built without underground water tanks, though this will depend upon the policy of the individual FRS.

v) In recent years some FRSs have stopped using their underground water tanks. If this was the case at the antecedent valuation date (AVD) and there is no known intention to reuse them, the tanks should be excluded from the valuation.

vi) On site refuelling has become comparatively rare in recent years but if present and in use at the AVD it will form part of the valuation.

6.3 Requirements

a) Unit of assessment

Where co-located with other emergency services it is possible that unit of assessment issues may arise, particularly where some facilities are shared. In these circumstances the principles referred to in Rating Manual section 3 part 1 should be adhered to. In cases of difficulty advice from the NSU specialist should be obtained.

See paragraph 6.2.15 (a) (v) regarding potential separate assessment of masts located on drill towers.

b) Survey detail

The following information is required

i) A plan (CAD or otherwise) should be obtained where available and check dimensions made on site as necessary; otherwise a plan should be drawn up.

ii) Method of construction -e.g. traditional brick and tile or steel framed.

iii) Description of the accommodation to include the height of the appliance bays and detail of the use made of the various elements e.g. equipment store, gymnasium, community room etc

iv) Where the facility incorporates a control centre or HQ buildinga note should be made of the proportion of the total area which is given over to office accommodation. Office accommodation in this context should be taken to include rooms used for support and admin purposes (including ancillary facilities like kitchens and toilets primarily used by admin staff) as distinct from appliance bays,training facilities and ancillary accommodation primarily used by fire fighters.

v) Full description and GIA of smoke, fire and flashover houses and any other stand-alone buildings on site

vi) Details of the external works to include-

  • as separate calculated areas the area of hard standing and other surfaced areas (hard areas) with a note as to their use and the area given over to landscaping (soft areas).

  • external lighting

  • perimeter fencing

  • details of any underground or surface water or fuel tanksand petrol interceptors incorporated into the underground drainage system.

  • height and construction details of any drill tower should be noted.

vii) Description and detail of services to the hereditament e.g. heating, air conditioning, security systems,generators, solar panels etc.

viii) The total site area.

ix) A description of the means of access to the highway and a note of the proximity to major trunk /arterial/ring roads.

x) A selection of photographs

xi) A note of any apparent superfluity(see 8.3 below )

7. Survey Capture

Survey information including plans are to be stored on EDRM. The GIA of the building(s) is to be entered onto the valuation spreadsheet held on the non-bulk server (NBS). Where the facility under consideration is a stand- alone control centre or HQ building to be valued using the rentals method then data, utilising appropriate BCI and sub location codes, should be captured within RSA.

8. Valuation Approach

8.1 In the absence of rental evidence and given the nature of the hereditament the contractors basis will be the most appropriate method of valuation when valuing fire stations. When applying the contractors basis the guidance given in Rating Manual section 4 part 3 and the practice note applicable to the Rating List for which the valuation is being undertaken is to be followed.

8.2 Stand- alone fire control centres for which direct rental evidence maybe available or which are in the nature of offices/call centres should be valued using the rentals method.

8.3 Superfluity at Fire Stations

The number of bays in a FRS area invariably exceeds the number of appliances. The extra bays are used for

  • garaging of reserve appliances

  • accommodating appliances coming in to cover from other stations. E.g. if all the crews on a station are called out, a crew from a neighbouring station will arrive to cover the uncovered risk , usually very quickly , and often the extra appliances will remain for some time after the incident is over

  • ensuring flexibility – the service moves specialist equipment around dependent on changing risk patterns e.g. Aerial platforms

  • gyms or breathing apparatus rooms in some older stations(following conversion works)

  • fire service vans etc

  • housing ambulances and a small room is usually provided for the ambulance crew. Likewise there maybe a police presence at some Fire Stations. Similarly in coastal areas some stations have facilities used by the Coastguard.

  • the housing of specialist vehicles e.g. decontamination vehicles to counter the effects of international terrorism. FRS personnel man these vehicles.

It follows that the number of appliances compared to the number of bays at a Fire Station is not of itself a measure of superfluity

Superfluity can be taken into account but only after careful investigation of the root cause, and ensuring that space is genuinely redundant at the AVD. Conversely, superfluity of parts of a fire station can still arise even if all the appliance bays are in use. For example the making available of a bay, for say, the parking of a St Johns ambulance(in circumstances where a separate assessment is inappropriate) may still leave other parts of the building, provided to support the operation of all appliance bays, surplus to requirements. It should also be borne in mind that in circumstances, where a bay is being used for a purpose other than that for which it is intended, and, there was no prospect of its return to use by the fire authority at the AVD, it maybe appropriate to cost the area concerned at a different rate reflecting the use to which that area is actually being put.

Superfluity is not to be assumed and its presence and valuation effect is for the ratepayer or agent to demonstrate.

When considering the merits of a claim for superfluity a consideration of the features and characteristics of the modern equivalent, in those FRS areas where such stations existed at the AVD, will be of assistance.

An example of genuine superfluity could arise when the fire risk in a particular location reduces, perhaps on closure of a large industrial hereditament such as a steel works or chemical plant, and as a direct consequence a station “loses” a number of appliances, or even moves from whole time (24 hour) status to day crewed.

9. Valuation Support

Valuations undertaken using the contractors basis are to be carried out using the dedicated ambulance station spreadsheet held on the non-bulk server (NBS) Valuations on the rentals method are to be carried out on the Rating Support Application.

Practice Note 1: 2017: Fire stations

1. Market Appraisal

1.1 In 2013 the London Fire Brigade received a substantial sum in PFI credits(£51.5m) from central government to replace 9 aged stations no longer considered fit for purpose at Dagenham, Dockhead, Leytonstone, Mitcham, Old Kent Road, Orpington, Plaistow, Purley and Shadwell predominantly on existing sites. Completion is anticipated during the period 2014 to16, all will be “community stations”. 10 other stations were closed in 2014 as part of a programme to drive down costs instigated under the “Fifth London Safety Plan”

1.2 New and replacement facilities have been provided in other Fire and Rescue Service (FRS)(or brigade) areas during the last five years or so with at least 16 in the North-West alone (e.g. Chorley, Workington and Carlisle West) and others elsewhere in country examples being Derby, Cambridge, Uttoxeter and Tamworth. A second PFI scheme in Staffordshire was scheduled to result in the construction of 11 new fire stations during the period 2014-2016.

1.3 Greater Manchester Fire Service is providing a purpose built training facility at Bury, making use of some existing buildings on site which is due to open in 2016. This will also incorporate community facilities

1.4 In response to the restrictions on public spending some FRSs have rationalised the number of fire stations by closing some town & city centre properties and relocating to more central locations for the areas covered, in some cases these are green field locations.

1.5 There has been an increase in the use of retained (on-call) personnel and day manning to reduce costs. Again to maximise value for money some FRS are now seeking to locate their fire stations with other emergency services enabling the cost of providing some facilities such as canteens, gyms, parking etc. to be shared.

1.6 In May 2013 Sir Ken Knight produced a report at the request of the then Fire Minister Brandon Lewis entitled “Facing the Future” which examined how the fire service might change and adapt to face a future of cuts in funding and against a backdrop of falling demand for front line services (attending incidents). The report considered many aspects of the delivery of service including the merger and/or re- structuring of fire authorities, the formation of mutual bodies to deliver some services and allow trading and charging and /or Community Interest Companies, the sharing of control rooms and training facilities by separate fire authorities, the sharing of buildings with other “blue light” services, the reduction of management to staff ratios, shared procurement practices and greater use of retained firefighters.

1.7 The Regional fire control centres developed to cover the whole of England and constructed and completed shortly before the compilation date for the 2010 Rating List have not been occupied for their intended purpose. Funding for the project was withdrawn in Dec 2010 in the wake of escalating costs and delays and shortcomings in delivery and performance of IT software. As at March 2014 5 of the centres had been let, 3 to FRS at Merton, Warrington and Durham, 1 to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and 1 to a private sector IT company.

2. Changes from the last Practice Note

This practice note introduces a change to the approach to the application of the contractors basis as compared to that adopted for the 2010 List. It is the modern equivalent of a comparable sized fire station of a specification similar to that being assessed which is to be cost at stage 1 rather than (as in previous lists) the hereditament itself. Adjustments to take account of the deficiencies of the actual hereditament in terms of physical, functional and technical obsolescence are made at stage 2 of the valuation process. In addition there are changes to the level of costs, fees, values, allowances and rates associated with the contractors basis of valuation. In particular the allowance attributable to the presence of flat roofs has been significantly reduced to accord with current advice as to both the durability of modern coverings and market perception.

3. Ratepayer Discussions

No discussions with the fire and rescue authorities or their representatives have taken place.

4. Valuation Scheme

The contractors basis is to be applied in accordance with Rating Manual section 4 part 3 using the guidance below in relation to each stage of the valuation process.

The exception to this is separately assessed control rooms and administrative buildings where it is anticipated that there will be sufficient rental evidence in the locality upon which to support a valuation using the rentals method. Valuations of these hereditaments are to be carried out using the Rating Support Application (RSA) by way of an appropriate scheme.

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 Class Co-ordination Team (CCT).

4.1 Stage 1 -Estimated Replacement Cost

Building Costs

With the exception of areas that are not used at the AVD and have no prospect of being used, the actual GIA of the station should be used to calculate the Estimated Replacement Cost (Stage 1) of the hereditament in accordance with Appendix A. Guidance in relation to the treatment of superfluity is given in the Rating Manual section relating to fire stations.

4.1.1 External Works

The cost of external works is to be added in accordance with Appendix B.

4.1.2 Location factors

Location factors should be applied in accordance with the 2017 VOA Cost Guide.

4.1.3 Professional Fees and Charges

Professional fees and charges are to be added for in accordance with the guidance given in the 2017 Cost Guide.

4.2 Stage 2 –Age and Obsolescence

Adjustments for age and obsolescence should be made in accordance with the scales contained in the Rating Manual - section 4 part 3: The Contractor’s Basis of Valuation : R2017 Practice Note: Stage 2 - Age and Obsolescence Allowances

  • In the case of buildings that have been significantly refurbished a lower allowance than that indicated solely by reference to the building’s age in the scale may be applicable, particularly where the works undertaken have enabled internal re-modelling to improve the functional aspects of the fire station.

  • In all cases the actual age of the building is to be recorded for the purposes of determining the appropriate age and obsolescence allowance. When refurbishment has taken place the allowance and not the building’s age should be over written

  • The age and obsolescence allowance applied to the buildings should also be applied to the external works (averaged as necessary). The spreadsheet in the Non Bulk server application will automatically do this.

4.3 Stage 3-Land Value

The value of the developed land should be added in accordance with Appendix C.

4.4 Stage 4- De-capitalisation rate

Fire stations should be valued using the higher statutory de-capitalisation rate. Where the hereditament is predominantly used as a training facility then the lower de-capitalisation rate should be employed notwithstanding that a fully operational fire station maybe included within the unit of assessment.

####4.5 Stage 5- End Adjustments

Any advantage or disadvantage which might affect the value of the occupation of the hereditament as a whole should be reflected at this last stage. An adjustment under this head should not duplicate adjustments made elsewhere. Most hereditaments will not warrant further allowances at this stage and where allowances are appropriate, it is expected that they should not normally exceed 15%.

Specific End Adjustment

Buildings with a flat roof are to receive an end allowance a.a) £80m2 ARC of the footprint of the flat roof for buildings constructed up to and including 2004. b.b) £60m2 ARC of the footprint of the flat roof for buildings constructed after 2004.

Where a building has varying roof types a reasonable apportionment should be made to arrive at the allowance.

What is flat as opposed to a pitched roof will generally be self-evident. In instances where an allowance is sought for pitched roofing caseworkers should seek advice from the National Specialist Unit before proceeding.

Appendix A

Stage 1 Building Costs

Description(all size references are to GIA) Cost Guide Reference            Cost  (£/m2) Remarks
Fire station (all types)  Up to 650m2 650m2 to 1500m2 61U00B 61U00C £2,100 £2,100 Where the station is of prefabricated construction an allowance of 30% is to be made from this cost.
Fire station (all types) 1500m2 and above    61U00D                                                 £1,700 Where the station is of prefabricated construction an allowance of 30% is to be made from this cost.
Command and control buildings 61U00G                                                     £1,665  
Smoke Houses 61U00H £1,500  
Fire houses 61U00J £2,150  
Flashover houses Not in cost guide Seek advice from NSU specialist/BAMS  
Separate ancillary stores and garages (up to 500m2) 61U00L £760 Not to be used to cost appliance bays in general but may be appropriate where appliances are housed in non- purpose built facility
Separate garages with vehicle servicing facilities (up to 500m2) 61U00M                                                    £1,130
Separate garages with vehicle servicing facilities 500m2 to 1500m2 61U00N                                                     £900  
Canopies 61U00Q £225 (stand- alone substantial canopies over wash down areas etc.)
Training Units consisting of interlinked steel containers 61U00R £1,375  
Training Towers Steel Towers, 4 platforms, approximately  14m high Steel Towers, 3 platforms, approximately 11m high Masonry/concrete towers 4 levels 14m high GIA 70m2 Masonry/concrete Towers of different sizes or areas, adopt 61U00U 61U00V 61U00S 61U00T 61U00W From £31,000 to           £47,000 From £28,000 to £40,000 £72,500 £1,035/m2   The stated costs are “installed” prices for a good quality modern steel tower. The higher end of the range will apply where towers are enclosed. Details of model type to be obtained on inspection     See Rating Manual section 6 part 3 - section 392 : Fire Stations paragraph 6.2.15 (a)(vi)
Underground Water Tank Not in cost guide £13,500 See Rating Manual section 6 part 3 - section 392 : Fire Stations paragraph 6.2.15 (f)(v)
On site refuelling Not in Cost guide £8,300  

Appendix B

Stage 1 The Addition for External Works (Excluding towers and training/ancillary buildings)

**Notes** * For the purposes of determining the building ratio soft areas(grass/landscaping) should be disregarded * Where Aerials or Masts exist, regard should be had to cost additions outlined in the relevant section of the VO 2017 cost guide The addition for externals should not exceed a figure calculated as below 1.Find the total surface area 2.Subtract the footprint of the main buildings 3. Apportion the remainder between “Hard” and “Soft” Landscaping. 4.Apply the following Rates Hard landscaping £105/m2 Soft landscaping £30/m2 This valuation will reflect the drill yard and forecourt, service connections, drainage, external lighting, and standard boundary delineation. It does not however reflect the additional costs that are incurred in the provision of e.g. security fencing, CCTV, barrier controls, underground water tanks and on-site fuelling facilities. These items should be cost separately, either from the Cost Guide (fencing and other security items) as above (underground water tanks and on-site fuelling) and their value added to the £105 / £30 cost noted above to form a "ceiling" value for external works. For the avoidance of doubt these figures should be treated as line entries in the valuation, and the location factor, fees, age and appropriate obsolescence allowances etc will be applied to these figures. Note also that the external works are “Civils” and should be coded CI on the Non Bulk Server spreadsheet. ####Appendix C **Stage 3 - Land Values**
Description Addition for ext'l works –(banded by building size)
External works comprise:-
  - Paths, paving, vehicle parking areas, access roads, boundary
    fences, gates, lighting, landscaping.
 - Foul and surface water manholes, pipes and connections
 - Incoming mains electric, gas, water and telephone services
0-650m2 651-1500m2 Over 1500m2
Town centre or island site typically with 90% or greater building ratio, no more than a small yard or garden area, no external fire appliance or car parking. 7.5% 5% 5%
As 1 above, but typically with an 80% to 90% building ratio, very limited parking, external lighting, landscaping and some boundary fencing.   15% 10% 12.5%
Site typically with 50%/75% building ratio, some landscaping around buildings, secure boundary fencing, appliance parking with limited general parking, external lighting and landscaping 25% 15% 20%
As 3 above, but typically with 35%/50% building ratio, landscaping around buildings, secure boundary fencing, external lighting, general parking within the hereditament which falls short of full requirements. 35% 20% 25%
Site typically with about 25%/35% building ratio, landscaping around   buildings, secure boundary fencing, external lighting and adequate general parking within the hereditament for all staff and other users. 50% 25% 35%
REGION % ADDITION
South East 15.00%
East Midlands 6.25%
East 10.00%
North East 2.75%
North West 6.50%
South West 6.25%
West Midlands 7.75%
Yorkshire & Humberside 6.00%
Central London North Apply land values as per Land Value Practice Note having regard to the prevailing land use in the locality. It is anticipated that in the majority of cases this will be industrial.
Central London South
Greater London NW
Greater London SW
Greater London NE
Greater London SE
Cardiff 8.00%
Mid & North Wales 3.00%
South Wales 4.00%
##Practice Note 1: 2010: Fire Stations ###1. Co-ordination arrangements Fire Stations are a generalist (G/S) class under the direction and guidance of NSU, recognising the need for a degree of specialisation. Responsibility for ensuring effective co-ordination lies with the Class Co-ordination Team (CTT) (Emergency). Guidance on interpretation and advice on technical matters should be sought from the appropriate technical advisor in NSU. The Reval 2010 Special Category Code 101 should be used. Fire Stations in London are subject to separate arrangements and are not within the scope of this practice note. ###2. Approach To The Valuation No rental evidence exists for this class and the appropriate method of valuation for the class is the contractor’s basis. The Valuation Tribunal in Somerset County Council v Hartwright VO (1999) deliberated on the choice of valuation method in the 1995 Rating List; they determined the contractor’s basis as being appropriate. Subsequent appeals to the Lands Tribunal were settled by Consent Order, at rateable values produced using the contractor’s basis. Some of the most modern headquarter or control buildings may be located on business parks separate from operational fire stations, and may therefore be suited to a rental valuation. Currently this is likely to be the exception rather than the norm, and most are co-located with fire stations and should be valued using the contractors basis. This property is valued using the non-bulk server. ###3. Background Information Fire Brigades operate independently and have differing policies that can impact upon their requirements for fire stations. Nonetheless, much of the function of a brigade has to be agreed by the Home Office and very careful consideration has been given to the location, staffing and size of all fire stations The nature of the area covered by a Station will dictate the size, design, crewing level and operation of the station. For example many stations in rural areas are retained stations, operated by retained (i.e. part time) fire fighters and will usually be under 350m2 with one or two appliance bays. As the fire fighters are not full time there are unlikely to be dormitory facilities etc. In urban area fire stations are likely to be crewed 24 hours a day, cater for more appliances, have a canteen and dormitory facilities, and generally be at least 500m2 GIA. Some large urban Fire Stations are several times that size. A comparatively small number of stations are “day manned”, being crewed by full time fire fighters during the daytime, but reverting to retained cover over night. The level of risk in the area covered by a brigade will impact on the distribution and size of fire stations. Historically response times were dictated by the Home Office but today Integrated Risk Management gives each Brigade flexibility to set its own response times The whole of the brigade area is assessed by the fire service for the risk level it presents, as well as each station, and categorised according to the level of response that will be required for any callout. Thus the proximity of a large industrial premises may dictate that a station will be larger and have more fire fighters and appliances than would otherwise be the case. When considering older stations it is useful to note that modern appliances are longer than those for which the stations were designed, especially modern turntable ladders. Modern bays tend for this reason to be larger. This is a point to consider if there is any suggestion of superfluous bays at older stations see Para 3.6 ####3.1 Towers Many brigades maintain towers at most fire stations and they are regularly used for ladder and hose training. At least one brigade has few towers, preferring to move staff to a few locations for ladder training. In the past, several agents have argued that “hose” towers are completely redundant because modern hoses do not need to be dried after use. Older hoses would rot if not dried properly and so part of the function of the fire tower was to provide a long drop in which hoses could be hung to dry. Even now modern hoses need to be dried before being sent away for repair. This argument completely ignores the main function of the tower nowadays, which is to provide ladder and hose training, and in many stations the tower is still an integral part of the training requirement. Crofton Engineering, a Cambridge based firm, have been providing steel drill towers to the Fire Service for 50 years, and continue to produce a range of “off the shelf” designs that can be customised to the requirements of individual Fire Services. Further detail of the Crofton range of towers is available from CEO rating Older towers are usually of brick or concrete construction, and generally more modern ones are pre-fabricated steel (but see section 3.2). Unless there is evidence to the contrary (e.g. a brigade is building new brick or concrete towers) then towers should not exceed the cost of a modern steel replacement capable of carrying out the same function. NB where a tower is combined with a firehouse or smoke house then brick and concrete construction remains the norm. In some stations space has been let on towers to mobile phone operators (and others) for the provision of telecoms masts. Occasionally there have been instances where the top floor of the tower has been rendered unusable for training on health and safety grounds, and if this is the case the cost of the tower should be reduced accordingly. Valuers should ensure that the telecoms hereditaments so created are separately assessed (see Rating Manual Section 6 part 3 Sec 860 for telecommunications hereditaments) ####3.2 Smoke Houses Some larger fire Stations will have a smoke house, used for training purpose, which can be flooded with non-toxic smoke. In most smoke houses the smoke can be rapidly extracted from the building by fans and ducting in case of emergency. Smoke houses are generally built to mimic domestic properties and may include roof access facilities to provide a varied and realistic training environment. In some more modern stations the smoke house and tower can be combined into a single structure and in such cases they are usually of brick construction. Smoke houses vary substantially in their level of sophistication, mainly in the monitoring systems and control over the smoke production and distribution within the building. ####3.3 Fire Houses Fire Houses provide a different level of training, and provide realistic training for fires including the smoke heat and flames that are generated in fires inside buildings. Firehouses are usually much more sophisticated and expensive structures than smoke houses. A modern firehouse will include sophisticated control and safety equipment to provide realistic training whilst minimising the risk to the trainees. Older fire houses may have much less in the way of sophisticated control equipment, but nevertheless the structure itself will be expensive as it needs to be resistant to the heat of a fire as well as the smoke generated. Expensive refractory tiling is likely to be found in a firehouse, or sacrificial steel plate. In older firehouses, the fire is generated by setting light to flammable materials such as wood or straw in a “crib” inside the building, or ducted into the building from controlled fires in external furnaces. In more modern firehouses, a much more controllable training environment may be provided by using propane gas as a fuel for the fire, together with artificial smoke. As a generality, firehouses are considerably more expensive to build than smoke houses and again may incorporate an integral brick built tower ####3.4 Flashover Houses “Flashover” is a particular dangerous condition that can occur in fires in confined spaces, and since the advent of double-glazing has become more common in domestic fires. In this scenario inflammable gasses build up at ceiling level and reach a temperature where they spontaneously ignite in an explosive fireball. Officers who have witnessed flashover suggest it is a very sobering experience Training to recognise the potential for flashover is therefore particularly important, and some facilities have been created in recent years, Some brigades use very basic facilities, consisting of an adapted steel “shipping” container in which fires are set, specifically designed to create flashover, and the eye of a very experienced officer may monitor conditions. Training is aimed at recognition of the signs of a potential flashover, and how to prevent it (cool down the gasses). These containers often have a very short life as they are repeatedly subjected to extremes of heat for which they were never designed and need to be replaced regularly. There are also a small number of very sophisticated flashover training facilities where flashover conditions can be created in a controlled manner using propane gas as the combustible. Details of any such facilities should be forwarded to CEO rating, especially where any cost information is available ####3.5 R(oad) T(raffic) I(ncidents) Much of the work of fire fighters is now in connection with road traffic accidents, and many fire stations now devote an area of the training yard to RTI training. Scrap cars are used to test and train fire fighters in the use of equipment to extricate accident victims from crushed and mangled cars. ####3.6 General notes on design of fire stations All brigades build fire stations to a good standard of construction, though different brigades may use different levels of finishes, and this impacts on the build costs. There is therefore no “one size fits all” model fire station for fire station design, and unlike the Court service, there has been little or no central guidance on design for many years. This has generally been the case even in the 1960s and 1970s, where although stations may have been more basic in level of finishes compared with a 1990s design, they will nevertheless they are generally built to a high standard; appliance bays have terrazzo, quarry tiled or other high quality waterproof flooring, and background heating. Often there are drop down chargers for batteries. These are necessary because flat batteries etc are not an option for fire engines, and a standard ladder pump carries several hundred gallons of water that does not contain antifreeze! Exhaust fume extraction is the norm in a modern station, and many older stations have had such systems installed in recent years. Woodwork tends to be hardwood sometimes with quarry tiled skirting, and there are few stud walls. This is because cheaper materials would not stand up to the harsh treatment they get when a crew rushes out on an emergency call. Many older fire stations function perfectly well today, although they will often lack purpose built breathing apparatus rooms and a space has usually been adapted for this purpose. Similarly many were not built with gyms, and part of the station will have been turned over to this purpose Many of these comments apply equally to modern fire stations though more modern materials are substituted; all have purpose built breathing apparatus rooms and gyms, though in many ways basic designs are little different from older stations In some urban areas some stations will have extra space to keep more specialist equipment such as Foam units, pollution control unit, High Volume pump units, mobile control centres for major incidents, Lighting units and a vehicle to transport them (usually a commercial HGV chassis with hydraulic rams to lift the “pods” onto the back). These will usually cover the area of several fire stations. Similarly Hi-lift platforms will not be kept at all stations but will move to the stations as the level of risk demands The Government's New Dimension Programme established following the September 11th 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre seeks to enhance the capability of the fire and rescue service to respond to a range of emergencies. Search and Rescue Centres (SARs) are being introduced within existing brigade stations requiring the location of specialist vehicles at these stations. The stations chosen will usually be those most accessible to the motorway network thereby able to respond rapidly in the event of terrorist activity. The New Dimension Programme was set up to ensure that England's Fire and Rescue Authorities could cope with major incidents. In furtherance of this objective, specialist appliances have been provided to all Fire & Rescue services in England and Wales, and some Fire Services have had to build new facilities to accommmodate these appliances. ####3.7 Superfluity At Fire Stations A fire appliance, which is fully manned 24hrs a day, requires four complete crews usually of seven fire fighters. All brigades have to carefully consider the number and location of appliances that are fully manned. And the numbers of appliances has decreased in recent years. The number of bays in a Brigade area invariably exceeds the number of appliances, indeed it appears that the in the West Midlands no station of less than three bays has been constructed in recent years, even though some are nominally a one appliance stations. The extra bays are used for * Garaging of reserve appliances * Room for appliances coming in to cover from other stations. E.g. if all the crews on a station are called out a crew from a neighbouring station will arrive to cover the uncovered risk – usually very quickly – and often the extra appliances will remain for some time after the incident is over * Flexibility – the service moves specialist equipment around dependent on changing risk patterns e.g. Aerial platforms * In older stations some of the bay areas have been converted to gyms or breathing apparatus rooms * Fire Service Vans etc * In some areas there is a move to station ambulances at fire station bays, and a small room is usually provided for the ambulance crew. The same is also true of a Police presence at some Fire Stations. Similarly in coastal areas some stations have facilities used by the Coastguard. Valuers should carefully investigate the circumstances of such arrangements to determine whether there is a need for a separate assessment * International terrorism has led to the government to station specialist vehicles at some fire stations e.g. decontamination vehicles. Fire brigade personnel man these vehicles. It follows that the number of appliances compared to the number of bays at a Fire Station is not of itself a measure of superfluity Superfluity can be taken into account but only after careful investigation of the root cause, and ensuring that space is genuinely redundant. Conversely, superfluity of parts of a fire station can still arise even if all the appliance bays are in use. For example the making available of a bay, for say, the parking of a St Johns ambulance(in circumstances where a separate assessment is inappropriate) may still leave other parts of the building, provided to support the operation of all appliance bays, surplus to requirements. It should also be borne in mind that in circumstances, where a bay is being used for a purpose other than that for which it is intended, and, there was no prospect of its return to use by the fire authority at the AVD, it maybe appropriate to cost the area concerned at a different rate reflecting the use to which that area is actually being put. “Superfluity is not to be assumed and its presence and valuation effect it is for the ratepayer or agent to demonstrate.” When considering the merits of a claim for superfluity a consideration of the features and characteristics of the modern equivalent, in those brigade areas where such stations existed at the AVD, will be of assistance An example of genuine superfluity could arise when the fire risk in a particular location reduces, perhaps on closure of a large industrial hereditament such as a steel works or chemical plant, and as a direct consequence a station “loses” a number of appliances, or even moves from whole time (24 hour) status to day crewed. A National network of Regional Control Centres developed to cover the whole of England and constructed and completed shortly before the compilation date for the 2010 Rating List have not been occupied for their intended purpose and the majority remain vacant(July 2012) . Funding for the project was withdrawn in Dec 2010 in the wake of escalating costs and delays and shortcomings in delivery and performance of IT software. The valuation of these centres is not covered by the agreement and advice should be sought from NSU (Civic) prior to making an entry in the 2010 Rating List in respect of these hereditaments or making changes to existing assessments. ####3.8 External Works The high level of addition for external works used for fire stations has attracted comment from agents in the past. Nonetheless investigation of building costs at fire stations consistently suggests that the cost of external works is very high, and large additions are justified The reasons for this include the fact that fire engines have a very high axle loading, since they are very heavy vehicles (particularly when the appliance has a full charge of water) running in the main on just two axles. There is a requirement for large areas of hard surfacing at most Fire Stations for drill areas, wash down areas etc all of which has to be capable of supporting a large axle load. In the main this will be 30cm reinforced concrete, sometimes with paviors over. In many fire stations the “drive through” design of the appliance bays also increases the area of roads and hard surfaces required Furthermore there is a parking requirement for personnel, and of course at a “retained” station a call out will inevitably result in a number of fire-fighters arriving independently, very quickly, and most probably in a car or van that has to parked at the station to provide immediate access to the appliance. The shift patterns at a 24 hour crewed station also mean that even in an urban environment it is often difficult, if not impossible, for all crews to travel to and from work by public transport. A modern 1 or 2 bay “retained” station, although it may be under 300m2 GIA, typically has “hard” surfaced areas for parking, manoeuvring vehicles and training, and these can easily aggregate to 1000m2 or more. Many stations have large underground water tanks and associated drainage, which are dual purpose. In some areas both the drainage and mains water supply are inadequate to cater for the large volumes of water required during training, with the result that drains can be over-loaded, or taps run dry in the vicinity. Whilst this may be acceptable in emergencies, it will probably not be accepted if it happens on a regular basis during training. Hence the water is taken from the tanks and re-cycled back into the tanks via interceptor drains. They also provide a facility for deep-water lift training for situations where a mains hydrant is not available, i.e. where water needs to be taken from wells or watercourses in the vicinity. Many modern stations have been built without underground water tanks, though this will depend upon the policy of the individual brigade. For this reason, the £/m2 and percentage additions for external works do NOT include the cost of an underground water tank, which is costed separately at a figure of £13000. In recent years some Brigades have stopped using their underground water tanks, the reason usually being “Health and Safety”. If this was the case at the 2008 AVD, and there is no known intention to reuse them, the tanks should not be costed. On site refuelling has become comparatively rare in recent years: that is also an additional cost item at a figure of £8000. ####3.9 Recent Trends Fire prevention and community awareness has become more important in recent years, and areas in fire stations are devoted to this work, and in some new stations areas are purpose built for the community fire programme. ###4.Valuation of Fire Stations The valuation of all fire stations is to be on a contractors Basis ####4.1 Build Costs Build costs should be taken from the table below.
Up to 500 m2 Over 500 m2 Notes
1960’s and 1970’s inferior construction (age may be slightly outside these bands). 950 900 See Note 1 and table of variations
Other age Groups – Standard Construction 1500 1400 See Note 2
Other Age Groups basic construction 1200 1100 See Note 3
**Note 1** This represents the poorer standard of construction found at some fire stations from this era, typically having flat roof, and limited amenity accommodation. (The table of variations applies only to this inferior standard.) But many stations from this era are of better quality, and “Other Age Groups basic construction” may be more appropriate. In recent years many Brigades have modernised and/ or extended stations from this era, and such modernisation can be reflected in the Age and Obsolescence Allowance as stated at 4.6 below. **Note 2** This represents the standard of construction applied to the majority of fire stations, which are designed for low cost in use with plastered wall of brick and hardwood fittings **Note 3** this price is drawn from evidence of modern fire stations built by a PFI provider, which although providing all the functions required and low cost in use, save on build cost by providing buildings of quasi industrial design using concrete block and profiled metal wall and roof and unplastered internal walls of painted block. (NB a very small area of the roof may be tiled for roof training) There is currently evidence of brigades building stations to different standards as indicated by the prices in the table above. Valuers should chose the price most appropriate to the hereditament For Fire Stations from the 1960s and seventies **ONLY**, additions from the table of variations below should be made as appropriate to the basic price.
Variations 60’s and 70’s only £/m2
Pitched tiled roof - additional 35
Additions should be made for other facilities in accordance with the tables below
£/m2
Command Centres 1600
Smoke Houses 650 to 1300 Dependent upon complexity
Fire Houses 1600 to 2500 Dependent upon complexity
Flashover Houses Up to 2500 NB This price applies to a purpose built permanent structure with computer control – though this may be of steel construction
Ancillary Stores and Garages 650 NB not for bays in the fires station
Garages with servicing facilities 700 As above
Canopies 225 This figure is for substantial canopies and wash down areas
Freestanding Training Towers should be added according to the table shown below subject to the note in 3.1 above. The stated costs are “installed” prices for a good quality modern steel tower.
Range of Prices £/Unit
Steel Towers –
4 Platform – Approximate Height 13m 31000 to 42000
3 Platform – Approximate Height 10m 26000 to 36500
2 Platform – Approximate Height 7m 22500 to 32500
Brick Towers – Approximately 7 to 20 metres! 20000 to 60000
####4.2 Locational Adjustment The factors set out in the VO cost guide should be applied to the above costs. ####4.3 External Works External works should be added at the percentage rates shown in the following table, tallying with the level of build cost adopted and size
External % Standard Basic 1960's
Up to 250m2 45% 55% 70%
500m2 37.5% 45% 57.5%
750m2 32.5% 40% 50%
1000m2 27.5% 32.5% 42.5%
1250m2 22.5% 27.5% 35%
1500m2 20% 22.5% 30%
2000m2 15% 17.5% 22.5%
4000m2 15% 17.5% 22.5%
The addition for externals should not exceed a figure calculated as below 1. Find the total surface area 2. Subtract the footprint of the main buildings 3. Apportion the remainder between “Hard” and “Soft” Landscaping. 4. Apply the following Rates Hard landscaping £100/m2 Soft landscaping £30/m2 This valuation will reflect the drill yard and forecourt, service connections, drainage, external lighting, and standard boundary delineation. It does not however reflect the additional costs that are incurred in the provision of e.g. security fencing, CCTV, barrier controls, underground water tanks and on-site fuelling facilities. These items should be costed separately, either from the Cost Guide (fencing and other security items) or Section 3.8 above (underground water tanks and on-site fuelling) and their value added to the £100 / £30 costs noted above to form a "ceiling" value for external works. For the avoidance of doubt these figures should be treated as line entries in the valuation, and the location factor, fees, age and appropriate obsolescence allowances etc will be applied to these figures. Note also that the external works are “Civils” and should be coded CI on the Non Bulk Server spreadsheet. ####4.4 Fees Fees should be added in accordance with the VOA cost guide. The following is repeated for the sake of completeness and in the case of doubt reference should be made to the VOA 2010 cost guide Estimated Replacement Cost Addition for Fees/Charges Sums up to £500,000 13% £500,000 to £2,000,000 11% (min fee £65,000) Sums over £2,000,000 9% (min fee £220,000) ####4.5 Contract Size adjustment Contract size adjustment should not be made to these figures ####4.6 Age and Obsolescence The age related allowances contained in the VOA cost guide should be applied, which for convenience is reproduced below. In case of doubt reference should always be made to the cost guide. Where a fire station has undergone significant works of refurbishment consideration must be given to reducing the indicated allowance. This is particularly important when valuing stations that have been extended and modernised to accord with modern day requirements. Many stations from the 1960s/70s have been extended and modernised in recent years to enhance the provision of “ancillary” facilities, both for female fire fighters and community use.
Year Percentage deduction – Buildings -Civils
2010 0.00 0.00
2009 0.50 0.00
2008 1.00 0.00
2007 1.50 0.00
2006 2.00 0.00
2005 2.50 0.00
2004 3.0 0.00
2003 3.50 0.00
2002 4.00 0.00
2001 4.50 0.00
2000 5.00 0.00
1999 6.00 0.50
1998 7.00 1.00
1997 8.00 1.50
1996 9.00 2.00
1995 10.00 2.50
1994 11.00 3.00
1993 12.00 3.50
1992 13.00 4.00
1991 14.00 4.50
1990 15.00 5.00
1989 16.00 5.50
1988 17.00 6.00
1987 18.00 6.50
1986 19.00 7.00
1985 20.00 7.50
1984 21.00 8.00
1983 22.00 8.50
1982 23.00 9.00
1981 24.00 9.50
1980 25.00 10.00
1979 26.00 10.50
1978 27.00 11.00
1977 28.00 11.50
1976 29.00 12.00
1975 30.00 12.50
1974 31.00 13.00
1973 32.00 13.50
1972 33.00 14.00
1971 34.00 14.50
1970 35.00 15.00
1969 36.00 15.00
1968 37.00 15.00
1967 38.00 15.00
1966 39.00 15.00
1965 40.00 15.00
1964 41.00 15.00
1963 42.00 15.00
1962 43.00 15.00
1961 44.00 15.00
1960 45.00 15.00
Pre-1960 45.00 to 50.00 15.00
####4.7 Land Value Land value should be calculated as below. The following percentage addition is applied to the aggregate of the ARC of all buildings and external works, inclusive of fees:
The “M25 belt”* 22.5%
Remainder of South East England ** 12.5%
Wales (excluding Cardiff/Newport areas), Merseyside and North East England *** 4.0%
Remainder of England and Cardiff and Newport areas. 9.0%
***The " M 25 Belt"** is for this purpose defined as the following Billing Authority areas:
Hertfordshire Hertsmere, St Albans, Three Rivers, Watford, Dacorum, Broxbourne, St Alban’s, Welwyn/Hatfield
Buckinghamshire Chiltern, South Bucks, Wycombe
"Berkshire" Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, Bracknell, Wokingham, Reading
Surrey (the whole county) Surrey Heath, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Elmbridge, Woking, Guildford, Waverley, Tandridge, Reigate & Banstead, Mole Valley, Epsom & Ewell
Essex Epping Forest, Thurrock, Brentwood, Basildon
Kent Sevenoaks, Dartford
West Sussex Crawley
****The remainder of South East England** is defined as the following counties excluding the Billing Authority areas forming part of the “M 25 Belt” as defined above: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, and in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole. For the avoidance of doubt the Isle of Wight should be treated as outside "South East England" for the purpose of this Practice Note. *****North East England** is defined as including Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham, and Cleveland (Hartlepool, Stockton on Tees, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland). NB Areas in counties contiguous to those valued at 4.0% and where there is clear evidence of depressed land value the figure of 9.0% may be interpolated between 4.0% and 9.0%. Similar interpolation may be undertaken near other boundaries, as appropriate. ####4.8 Decapitalisation Fire stations should be valued using the higher statutory Decap. Rate ####4.9 Stage 5 Allowances At stage five allowances may be made to reflect disadvantages that may affect the value of the hereditament as a whole. Care should be taken not to duplicate adjustments already made at stage 2 ###5. IT Support. All valuations of hereditaments in this class should be carried out using the bespoke contractors spreadsheet on the non-bulk server. ##Practice Note 1 : 2005 : Fire Stations ###1. Co-ordination arrangements Fire Stations are an SRU class, Responsibility for ensuring effective co-ordination lies with the SRUs. For more information see Rating Manual – section 6 part 1: Practice Note 1: 2005 The Reval 2005 Special Category Code 101 should be used. As an SRU Class the appropriate suffix letter should be S Fire Stations in London are subject to separate arrangements and are not within the scope of this practice note ###2. Approach To The Valuation No rental evidence exists for this class and the appropriate method of valuation for the class is contractor’s basis. The Valuation Tribunal in Somerset County Council v Hartwright VO 1999 in the 1995 Rating List considered choice of valuation method; they determined the contractors basis as being appropriate. Some of the most modern headquarter or control buildings may be located on business parks separate from operational fire stations, and may therefore be suited to a rental valuation. Currently this is likely to be the exception rather than the norm, and most are co-located with fire stations and should be valued using the contractors basis. ###3. Background Information Fire Brigades operate independently and have differing operating policies that can impact upon the property requirements for fire stations. Nonetheless, much of the function of a brigade has to be agreed by the Home Office and very careful consideration has been given to the location, staffing and size of all fire stations The nature of the area covered by a Station will dictate the design manning and operation of the station. For example many stations in rural areas are retained stations, operated by retained (i.e. Part time) fire fighters and will normally be under 500m2 with one or two appliance bays. As the fire fighters are not full time there are unlikely to be dormitory facilities etc. In urban area fire stations are likely to be manned 24 hours a day, cater for more appliances and have a canteen and dormitory facilities, and generally be larger or much larger than 500m2. A comparatively small number of stations are “day manned”, being crewed by full time fire fighters during the daytime, but reverting to retained cover over night. The level of risk in the area covered by a brigade will impact on the distribution and size of fire stations Historically response times were dictated by the Home Office but today Integrated Risk Management gives each Brigade flexibility to set its own response times The whole of the brigade area is assessed by the fire service for the risk level it presents, as well as each station, and categorised according to the level of response that will be required for any callout. . Thus the proximity of a large industrial premises may dictate that a station will be larger and have more fire-fighters and appliances than would otherwise be the case When considering older stations it is useful to note that modern appliances are longer than those for which the stations were designed, especially modern turntable ladders. Modern bays tend for this reason to be larger. This is a point to consider if there is any suggestion of superfluous bays at older stations see Para 3.6 ####3.1 Towers Many brigades maintain towers at most fire stations and they are regularly used for ladder and hose training. At least one brigade has few towers, preferring to move staff to a few locations for ladder training. Several agents have argued that “hose” towers are completely redundant because modern hoses do not need to be dried after use. Older hoses would rot if not dried properly and so part of the function of the fire tower was to provide a long drop in which hoses could be hung to dry. Even now modern hoses need to be dried before being sent away for repair. This argument completely ignores the current main function of the tower nowadays which is to provide ladder and hose training and in many stations the tower is still an integral part of the training requirement. Older towers are usually of brick or concrete construction, and generally more modern ones are pre-fabricated steel (but see section 3.2). Unless there is evidence to the contrary (e.g. a brigade is building new brick or concrete towers) then towers should not exceed the cost of a modern steel replacement capable of carrying out the same function. NB where a tower is combined with a firehouse or smoke house then brick and concrete construction remains the norm. In some stations space has been let on towers to mobile phone operators (and others) for the provision of telecoms masts Occasionally there have been instances where the top floor of the tower has been rendered unusable on health and safety grounds and if this is the case the cost of the tower should be reduced accordingly. Valuers should ensure that the telecoms hereditaments so created are separately assessed (see [Rating Manual Section 6 part 3 Sec 860 for telecommunications hereditaments](https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rating-manual-section-6-part-3-valuation-of-all-property-classes/section-860-telecommunication-masts-and-other-wireless-transmission-sites)) ####3.2 Smoke Houses Some larger fire Stations will have a smoke house, used for training purpose, which can be flooded with non-toxic smoke. In most smoke houses the smoke can be rapidly extracted from the building by fans and ducting in case of emergency. Smoke houses are generally built to mimic domestic properties and may include roof access facilities to provide a varied and realistic training environment. In some more modern stations the smoke house and tower can be combined into a single structure and in such cases they are usually of brick construction. Smoke houses vary substantially in their level of sophistication, mainly in the monitoring systems and control the smoke in the building. ####3.3 Fire Houses Fire Houses provide a different level of training, and provide realistic training for fires including the smoke heat and flames that are generated in fires inside buildings. Firehouses are usually much more sophisticated and expensive structures than smoke houses. A modern firehouse will include sophisticated control and safety equipment to provide realistic training whilst minimising the risk to the trainees. Older fire houses may have much less in the way of sophisticated control equipment, but nevertheless the structure itself will be expensive as it needs to be resistant to the heat of a fire as well as the smoke generated. Expensive refractory tiling is likely to be found in a firehouse, or sacrificial steel plate. In older firehouses, the fire is generated by setting light to flammable materials such as wood or straw in a “crib” inside the building, or ducted into the building from controlled fires in external furnaces. In more modern firehouses, a much more controllable training environment may be provided by using propane gas as a fuel for the fire, together with artificial smoke. As a generality, firehouses are considerably more expensive to build than smoke houses and again may incorporate an integral brick built tower ####3.4 Flashover Houses “Flashover” is a particular dangerous condition that can occur in fires in confined spaces, and since the advent of double-glazing has become more common in domestic fires. In this scenario inflammable gasses build up at ceiling level and reach a temperature where they spontaneously ignite in an explosive fireball. Officers who have witnessed flashover suggest it is a very sobering experience Training to recognise the potential for flashover is therefore particularly important, and some facilities have been created in recent years, Some brigades use very basic facilities, consisting of an adapted steel “shipping” container in which fires are set, specifically designed to create flashover, and the eye of a very experienced officer may monitor conditions. Training is aimed at recognition of the signs of a potential flashover, and how to prevent it (cool down the gasses). These containers often have a very short life as they are repeatedly subjected to extremes of heat for which they were never designed and need to be replaced regularly. There are also a small number of very sophisticated flashover training facilities where flashover conditions can be created in a controlled manner using propane gas as the combustible. Details of any such facilities should be forwarded to CEO rating, especially where any cost information is available ####3.5 R(oad) T(raffic) I(ncidents) Much of the work of fire fighters is now in connection with road traffic accidents, and many fire stations now devote an area of the training yard to RTI training. Scrap cars are used to test and train fire fighters in the use of equipment to extricate accident victims from crushed and mangled cars. ####3.6 General notes on design of fire stations All brigades build fire stations to a good standard of construction, though different brigades may use different levels of finishes, and this impacts on the build costs. There is therefore no “one size fits all” model fire station for fire station design, and unlike the Court service, there has been little or no central guidance on design for many years. This has generally been the case even in the 1960s and 1970s, where although stations may have been more basic in level of finishes compared with a 1990s design, they will nevertheless they are generally built to a high standard; appliance bays have terrazzo, quarry tiled or other high quality waterproof flooring, and background heating. Often there are drop down chargers for batteries. These are necessary because flat batteries etc are not an option for fire engines, and a standard ladder pump carries several hundred gallons of water that does not contain antifreeze! Exhaust fume extraction is the norm in a modern station, and many older stations have had such systems installed in recent years. Woodwork tends to be hardwood sometimes with quarry tiled skirting, and there are few stud walls. This is because cheaper materials would not stand up to the harsh treatment they get when a crew rushes out on an emergency call. Many older fire stations function perfectly well today, although they will often lack purpose built breathing apparatus rooms and a space has usually been adapted for this purpose. Similarly many were not built with gyms, and part of the station will have been turned over to this purpose Many of these comments apply equally to modern fire stations though more modern materials are substituted; all have purpose built breathing apparatus rooms and gyms, though in many ways basic designs are little different from older stations In some urban areas some stations will have extra space to keep more specialist equipment such as Foam units, pollution control unit, High Volume pump units, mobile control centres for major incidents, Lighting units and a vehicle to transport them (usually a commercial HGV chassis with hydraulic rams to lift the “pods” onto the back). These will usually cover the area of several fire stations. Similarly Hi-lift platforms will not be kept at all stations but will move to the stations as the level of risk demands The Government's New Dimension Programme established following the September 11th 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre seeks to enhance the capability of the fire and rescue service to respond to a range of emergencies. Search and Rescue Centres (SARs) are being introduced within existing brigade stations requiring the location of specialist vehicles at these stations. The stations chosen will usually be those most accessible to the motorway network thereby able to respond rapidly in the event of terrorist activity. ####3.7 Superfluity At fire Stations A fire appliance which is fully manned 24hrs a day requires four complete crews usually of seven fire fighters, and can cost in excess of £500,000 per annum to keep on the road. All brigades have to carefully consider the number and location of appliances that are fully manned. And the numbers of appliances has decreased in recent years The number of bays in a Brigade area invariably exceeds the number of appliances, indeed it appears that the in the West Midlands no station of less than three bays has been constructed in recent years, even though some are nominally a one appliance stations. The extra bays are used for * Garaging of reserve appliances * Room for appliances coming in to cover from other stations. E.g. if all the crews on a station are called out a crew from a neighbouring station will arrive to cover the uncovered risk – usually very quickly – and often the extra appliances will remain for some time after the incident is over * Flexibility – the service moves specialist equipment around dependent on changing risk patterns e.g. Hi-lift platforms * In older stations some of the bay areas have been converted to gyms or breathing apparatus rooms * Fire Service Vans etc * In some areas there is a move to keep ambulances in fire station bays, and a small room is usually provided for the ambulance crew. Similarly in coastal areas some stations have facilities used by the coastguard. Valuers should carefully investigate the circumstances of such arrangements in case there is a need for a separate assessment * International terrorism has led to the government to station specialist vehicles at some fire stations e.g. decontamination vehicles. These vehicles are manned by fire brigade personnel but remain outside the control of the brigade It follows that number of appliances compared to the number of bays is not of itself a measure of superfluity Superfluity can be taken into account but only after careful investigation of the root cause, and ensuring that space is genuinely redundant and not used for another purpose. An example of genuine superfluity could arise when the fire risk in a particular location reduces, perhaps on closure of a large industrial hereditament such as a steel works or chemical plant, and as a direct consequence a station “loses” a number of appliances, or even moves from whole time (24 hour) status to day crewed. 3.8 External Works The high level of addition for external works used for fire stations has attracted comment from agents in the past Nonetheless investigation of building costs at fire stations consistently suggests that level of external works is very high, and large additions are justified The reasons for this include the fact that fires engines have a very high axle loading, since they are very heavy vehicles running in the main on just two axles (particularly when the appliance has a full charge of water. There is a requirement for large areas of hard surfacing for compared to the area of buildings for drill areas, wash down areas etc all of which has to be capable of supporting a large axle load. In the main this will be 30cm reinforced concrete, sometimes with paviors over. In most fire stations the drive through design of the appliance bays also increases the area of roads and hard surfaces required Furthermore there is a parking requirement for personnel, and of course at a “retained” station a call out will inevitably result in a number of fire-fighters arriving independently, very quickly, and most probably in a car or van that has to parked at the station to provide immediate access to the appliance. Many stations have large underground water tanks and associated drainage, which are dual purpose. In some areas both the drainage and mains water supply are inadequate to cater for the large volumes of water moved during training, with the result that drains can be over-loaded, or taps run dry in the vicinity. Whilst this may be acceptable in emergencies, it will probably not be accepted if it happens on a regular basis for hose training. Hence the water is taken from the tanks and re-cycled back into the tanks via interceptor drains. They also provide a facility for deep-water lift training for situations where a main is not available, i.e. where water needs to be taken from wells or watercourses in the vicinity. Most modern stations do not have underground water tanks,, though this may depend upon the policy of the individual brigade, and since all the cost evidence used is derived from stations built from 1995 onwards, the external figures adopted reflect this. ###3.9 Recent Trends Fire prevention and community awareness has become more important in recent years, and areas in fire stations are devoted to this work, and in some new stations areas are purpose built for the community fire programme ###4. Valuation of fire Stations The valuation of all fire stations is to be on a contractors Basis ####4.1 Build Costs Build costs should be taken from the table below.
Up to 500 m2 Over 500 m2 Notes
Typical 1960’s and 1970’s inferior construction (age may be slightly outside these bands). 750 700 See table of variations
Other age Groups – Standard Construction 1150 1050 See note 1
Other Age Groups basic construction 950 850 See note 2
**Note 1** This represents the standard of construction applied to the majority of fire stations, which are designed for low cost in use with plastered wall of brick and hardwood fittings **Note 2** this price is drawn from evidence of modern fire stations built by a PFI provider, which although providing all the functions required and low cost in use, save on build cost by providing buildings of quasi industrial design using concrete block and profiled metal wall and roof and unplastered internal walls of painted block. (NB a very small area of the roof may be tiled for roof training) There is currently evidence of brigades building stations to different standards as indicated by the prices in the table above. Valuers should chose the price most appropriate to the hereditament For Fire Stations from the 1960s and seventies **ONLY**, additions from the table of variations below should be made as appropriate to the basic price.
Variations 60,s and 70,s only £/m2
Pitched Tiled roof - additional 25
Additions should be made for other facilities in accordance with the tables below
£/m2
Command Centres 1275
Smoke Houses 500 to1000 Dependent upon complexity
Fire Houses 1300 to 2000 Dependent upon complexity
Flashover Houses Up to 2500 NB This price applies to a purpose built permanent structure with computer control – though this may be of steel construction
Ancillary Stores and Garages 500 NB not for bays in the fires station
Garages with servicing facilities 550 As above
Canopies 175 This figure is for substantial canopies and wash down areas
Freestanding Training Towers should be added according to the table shown below subject to the note in
Range of Prices £/Unit
Steel Towers – 4 platform high quality tower 25000
Steel Towers – Crofton Range
4 Platform – Approximate Height 13m 17900 to 24600
3 Platform – Approximate Height 10m 15350 to 21500
2 Platform – Approximate Height 7m 13000 to 19000
Brick Towers 16000 to 48000
Further details of the Crofton range of towers is available from CEO rating ####4.2 Locational Adjustment The factors set out in the VO cost guide should be applied to the above costs. These are reproduced below for convenience, but in case of doubt reference should always be made to the cost guide NORTHERN REGION 0.92
Cleveland 0.91
Cumbria 0.95
Durham 0.91
Northumberland 0.94
Tyne & Wear 0.91
YORKSHIRE AND HUMBERSIDE REGION 0.89
Humberside 0.90
North Yorkshire 0.91
South Yorkshire 0.90
West Yorkshire 0.88
EAST MIDLANDS REGION 0.94
Derbyshire 0.93
Leicestershire 0.93
Lincolnshire 0.93
Northamptonshire 0.98
Nottinghamshire 0.92
EAST ANGLIA REGION 1.01
Cambridgeshire 1.04
Norfolk 0.97
Suffolk 1.01
SOUTH EAST REGION 1.10 (EXCLUDING LONDON)
Bedfordshire 1.08
Essex 1.08
Hertfordshire 1.13
Kent 1.12
Surrey 1.16
East Sussex 1.12
West Sussex 1.10
Berkshire 1.10
Buckinghamshire 1.09
Hampshire 1.06
Isle of Wight 1.07
Oxfordshire 1.05
GREATER LONDON 1.22
Barking & Dagenham 1.13
Barnet 1.19
Baxley 1.20
Brent 1.21
Bromley 1.16
Camden 1.32
City of London 1.26
City of Westminster 1.30
Corydon 1.20
Ealing 1.20
Enfield 1.14
Greenwich 1.20
Hackney 1.27
Hammersmith & Fulham 1.27
Haringey 1.22
Harrow 1.16
Hovering 1.07
Hilling don 1.15
Hounslow 1.15
Islington 1.24
Kensington & Chelsea 1.35
Kingston Upon Thames 1.24
Lambeth 1.26
Lewisham 1.17
Merton 1.21
New ham 1.13
Red bridge 1.12
Richmond Upon Thames 1.20
Southwark 1.30
Sutton 1.16
Tower Hamlets 1.23
Waltham Forest 1.19
Wands worth 1.25
SOUTH WESTERN REGION 0.95
Avon 0.96
Cornwall 0.93
Devon 0.94
Dorset 0.97
Gloucestershire 0.96
Somerset 0.94
Wiltshire 0.96
WEST MIDLANDS REGION 0.95
Hereford & Worcester 0.95
Shropshire 0.94
Staffordshire 0.93
Warwickshire 0.98
West Midlands 0.96
NORTH WEST REGION 0.95
Cheshire 0.94
Greater Manchester 0.95
Lancashire 0.95
Merseyside 0.96
WALES 0.94
Clyde 0.90
Dyfed 0.95
Gwent 0.95
Gwynedd 0.91
Mid Glamorgan 0.95
Powys 0.92
South Glamorgan 0.96
West Glamorgan 0.93
####4.3 External Works External works should be added at the percentage rates shown in the following table, tallying with the level of build cost adopted and size
External % Standard Basic 1960's
Up to 250m2 45 55 70
500m2 37.5 45 57.5
750m2 32.5 40 50
1000m2 27.5 32.5 42.5
1250m2 22.5 27.5 35
1500m2 20 22.5 30
2000m2 15 17.5 22.5
4000m2 15 17.5 22.5
The addition for externals should not exceed a figure calculated as below 1 Find the total surface area 2 Subtract the footprint of the main buildings 3 Apportion the remainder between “hard” and “Soft” Landscaping. 4 Apply the following Rates Hard landscaping £80/m2 Soft landscaping £25/m2 This valuation will reflect the drill yard and forecourt, service connections, drainage, external lighting, and standard boundary delineation. It does not however reflect the additional costs that are incurred in the provision of e.g. security fencing, CCTV, barrier controls, and underground fuel tanks. These These items should be costed separately from the Cost Guide and their value added to the £80 / £25 costs noted above to form a "ceiling" value for external works. For the avoidance of doubt these figures should be treated as line entries in the valuation, and the location factor, fees, age and appropriate obsolescence allowances etc will be applied to these figures ####4.4 Fees Fees should be added in accordance with the VOA cost guide. The addition of up to 3% for more complex buildings should no longer be applied to fire stations. The following is repeated for the sake of completeness and in the case of doubt reference should be made to the VOA 2005 cost guide Estimated Replacement Cost Addition for Fees/Charges Sums up to £500,000 13% £500,000 to £2,000,000 11% (min fee £65,000) Sums over £2,000,000 9% (min fee £220,000) ####4.5 Contract Size adjustment Contract size adjustment should not be made to these figures ####4.6 Age and Obsolescence The age related allowances contained in the VOA cost guide should be applied, which for convenience is reproduced below In case of doubt reference should always be made to the cost guide. Where a fire station has undergone significant works of refurbishment consideration should be given to reducing the indicated allowance
Year Percentage deduction – Buildings -Civils
2005 0.00 0
2004 0.50 0
2003 1.00 0
2002 1.50 0
2001 2.00 0
2000 2.50 0
1999 3.00 0
1998 3.50 0
1997 4.00 0
1996 4.50 0
1995 5.00 0
1994 6.00 0.5
1993 7.00 1
1992 8.00 1.5
1991 9.00 2
1990 10.00 2.5
1989 11.00 3
1988 12.00 3.5
1987 13.00 4
1986 14.00 4.5
1985 15.00 5
1984 16.00 5.5
1983 17.00 6
1982 18.00 6.5
1981 19.00 7
1980 20.00 7.5
1979 21.00 8
1978 22.00 8.5
1977 23.00 9
1976 24.00 9.5
1975 25.00 10
1974 26.00 10.5
1973 27.00 11
1972 28.00 11.5
1971 29.00 12
1970 30.00 12.5
1969 31.00 13
1968 32.00 13.5
1967 33.00 14
1966 34.00 14.5
1965 35.00 15
1964 36.00 15
1963 37.00 15
1962 38.00 15
1961 39.00 15
1960 40.00 15
1959 41.00 15
1958 42.00 15
1957 43.00 15
1956 44.00 15
1955 45.00 15
Pre-1955 45.00 to 50.00 15
####4.7 Land Value Land value should be calculated as below. The following percentages of the aggregate of the ARC of all buildings and external works inclusive of fees: South East England (including the Bournemouth area of Dorset) excluding London 15.0% Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham, Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, South Yorks, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wales 7.5% Remainder of England * 12.5% *NB Areas in counties contiguous to those valued at 7.5% and where there is clear evidence of depressed land value the figure of 12.5% may, by agreement of both parties, be interpolated between 7.5% AND 12.5% ####4.8 Decapitalisation Fire stations should be valued using the higher statutory Decap. Rate ####4.9 Stage 5 Allowances At stage five allowances may be made to reflect disadvantages that may affect the value of the hereditament as a whole. Care should be taken not to duplicate adjustments already made at stage 2 ###5. IT. Support. All valuations of hereditaments in this class should be carried out using the generic contractors spreadsheet on the non-bulk server as detailed in IA 021204. Note 1 Representatives of the following organisations took part in the discussions Bruton Knowles Buckinghamshire Fire Authority Dunlop Hayward East Sussex Fire Authority Gerald Eve GVA Grimley Hampshire County Council Lambert Smith Hampton NPS Wilks Head and Eve