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

Section 50: aircraft works with airfields

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 works mainly used for aircraft manufacture or assembly, but may also be used for aircraft repair. Whilst sites would originally have included a dedicated airfield in many instances this is no longer in the occupation of the manufacturer. Sites typically are in excess of 100,000m2.

It is not applicable to aircraft hangers on commercial airports occupied by airlines, air livery or travel operators which are smaller, occupy more valuable commercial locations and lack the significant elements of plant and machinery associated with major manufacturing processes.

2. List description and special category code

List description: Aircraft Works and Premises IF2
Scat code: 007V

3. Responsible teams

Responsibility for the valuation and referencing of this class of property lies entirely with the Industrial and Crown Team within the National Specialists Unit (NSU).

4. Co-ordination

Responsibility for ensuring effective co-ordination lies with the NSU.

There are no relevant Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) decisions to support the valuation approach. Some assistance comes from the Motor Vehicle Works class Rating Manual section 6 part 3 Section 700 which shares valuation methodology, background reasoning and some physical similarities.

6. Survey requirements

Basis of measurement for Aircraft Works is GIA

The Pavement Classification Number (PCN) rating should be recorded for the various areas upon the airfield.

6.1 Safety on site

  • Aircraft Works contain safety hazards, so extreme care is required when carrying out inspections
  • Members of the VOA visiting this type of property for an inspection or other reason should wear the appropriate PSE, and ensure they are aware of all the VOA guidelines on health and safety. Minimum requirement: - safety boots and glasses, high viz clothing and hard hat.
  • Sites will have a formal health and safety induction process, this must be undertaken and allowed for when fixing appointments. Individuals should comply with all safety rules and precautions prescribed by the site operator without exception.
  • The use of cameras on site is likely to be strictly limited, especially upon Military sites, and prior approval should be sought in advance. Mobile phones likewise should be left outside the works unless prior approval is given.

6.2 The hereditament

The majority of Aircraft Works were developed in the late 1930s early 1940s period for World War 2 with dedicated airfields. To varying degrees the accommodation has been adapted and expanded often with purpose built hangers. A range of support buildings will also be present.

Plans for sites associated with military aircraft may be limited and/or restricted, and planning websites may not show full details. Accordingly enquiries are often best directed through retained rating agents.

In most respects however these are large industrial premises with traditional physical characteristics. Some items of plant and machinery are specialist and guidance is provided below.

6.3 Plant and machinery


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


Aircraft Works contain some uncommon items of plant and machinery such as:

a. Autoclaves, spray booths and ovens, Advice should be sought from Class Lead Valuer within NSU. b. Substantial steel jigs to support part assembled aircraft. Weight of jigs should be recorded. c. Pneumatics (RCG series 201A, 201D series) and Hydraulics (RCG series 212P20-92 series) d. Runways, taxiways and aircraft parking areas. (RCG series 70501-70504 series)
e. Extensive pit work. This will be of variable shape, depth and potentially floor thickness with usually a cover plate so that it is not possible to record on site. Accordingly pit work drawings should be sought from the occupier in advance. f. Overhead Crane Gantries. Frequently gantries are served by more than one traveller, the maximum lifting weight should be confirmed and costed. (RCG Crane 214B series). g. High Voltage switchgear. An electrical schematic should be sought for extensive new buildings to verify the extent of rateable switches. For those deemed rateable the number, age, type, rating and rupture capacities of each switch should be recorded. (RCG series 206B44-49 and 206B70-80)

7. Survey capture

Survey data for Aircraft Works is recorded manually in binders in the custodianship of the NSU’s caseworker support team.

8. Valuation approach

8.1 Aircraft Works are valued using the indirect rentals basis. This replicates the approach to the Motor Vehicle Works class. Whilst there is no reliable rental evidence of a large motor manufacturing and aviation works sites, the tone is set by comparison with large industrials in the locality.

8.2 Utilising this method of valuation gives consistency between various tiers of the automotive and aviation industries and general manufacturing sector. All manufacturers are supported by ‘suppliers’ either locally, nationally or internationally, who occupy similar style buildings often in close proximity to the main manufacturer and will always be assessed on the rentals method of valuation.

8.3 This method of valuation also gives consistency and fairness across the large manufacturing industry by having a common and accepted method of valuation. This enables direct comparison and consistency between, for example, Rolls Royce (Aerospace) at Derby (374,000Sq.m) and Toyota (Automotive) at Derby (333,000Sq.m).

9. Valuation support

Valuations for Aircraft Works are held by the NSU I&C team. Due to the number of line entries they are not suitable for inclusion on the CDB or Non-Bulk Server (NBS).

Practice note: 2017 - aircraft works and airfields

1. Market appraisal

Britain is currently the world’s second-largest aerospace manufacturer, with 17% of the global market, behind only America. It is made up of almost 3,000 companies and directly employs over 100,000 people. In 2014 the sector had a turnover of £27.8bn, of which about 90pc was from exports. The industry embraces Civil and Military manufacturing operations.

Civil aircraft

Although the UK does not build complete passenger aircraft it manufactures almost all of the key components: from fuel systems and landing gear, through to wings, fuselages and jet engines. British companies produce components equivalent to 10% of every single-aisle commercial jet and 20% of wide-bodied ones. The leading players with large manufacturing sites in the UK include Airbus who predominantly manufacture wings and landing gear, and Rolls-Royce who make engines. Rising global demand for commercial jets has meant the civil aerospace industry has boomed for years and it has also successfully developed carbon fibre and composite material technology keeping the UK at the forefront of the sector. Looking forward the industry should continue to prosper though the big commercial airline projects, such as the Airbus A330 and the original Boeing 777, are coming to an end, they will be replaced by a new generation of narrow- and wide-bodied jets. This will present an opportunity for the big global manufacturers to look beyond the UK for suppliers. Industry commentators expect the governments of emerging economies like China and India to compete in this high-tech, high-value industry.

Independent aviation analyst Howard Wheeldon said on 28th April 2015 : “The outlook for the industry now is as good as I have ever seen in all the years I have covered it.”

However, he warned the current strong position the industry is in could easily fade away.

“It is there for us, there for us to lose. We have to keep putting money into the industry to guarantee its future. The investment pedal has to be kept pressed down – if it is I can see the industry continuing to enjoy this sort of success for the next 20, 30 or 40 years.”

Military aircraft

The UK still has a significant defence aerospace industry providing the bulk of UK military export sales. This is primarily through BAE Systems which makes large sections of the Typhoon Eurofighter at its sub-assembly plant in Salmesbury and assembles this aircraft and the Hawk training jet at its Warton Plant, near Preston. It is a principal subcontractor on the F35 Joint Strike Fighter - the world’s largest single defence project - for which it designs and manufactures a range of components including the fuselage, vertical and horizontal tail, wing tips and fuel system. Airbus and Rolls Royce both manufacture military components. Airbus manufactures the wings for the A400m military transporter, whilst Rolls Royce engines power around a quarter of the word’s military fleet. AgustaWestland continues to design and manufacture helicopters in Yeovil

GKN Aerospace is an expert in metallic and composite aero structures and serves both civil and military fixed and rotary wing aircraft manufacturers.

2. Changes from the last practice note

There was no Practice Note for the 2010 Rating Lists.

3. Ratepayer discussions

There have been no discussions with the Aerospace Industry.

4. Valuation scheme

There is no scheme of valuation for Aircraft Works. They are valued using the indirect rentals basis. This replicates the approach to the Motor Vehicle Works class. As there is no reliable open market rental evidence of a large motor manufacturing and aviation works sites, the tone is set by comparison with large industrials in the locality.