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

Section 77: archives

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 archives but is principally concerned with the valuation of purpose built facilities.

2. List description and special category code

List Description: Archive and Premises or Record Office and Premises
SCAT Code: 404 (purpose built archives) or 203 (offices including computer centres )
SCAT Code Suffix : S

3. Responsible teams

This is a specialist class and responsibility for valuation will lie with the specialist teams within each business unit. 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 Heritage Class Co-ordination Team and the Civic Valuation Panel have responsibility for this class ensuring effective co-ordination across the Specialist Teams. The team are responsible for the approach to and accuracy and consistency of archive 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 co-ordination team before starting any new work

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

See Scottish and Newcastle (Retail) Ltd v Williams (VO) RA 119 and the subsequent Court of Appeal decision – Williams (VO) v Scottish and Newcastle Retail and Allied Domecq.

And Dawkins (VO) v Royal Leamington Spa BC and Warwickshire County Council (1961) RVR 291.

See Rating Manual section 6 part 10 paragraph 9.2 and appendix 1 thereof for further guidance on mode and category of use.

5.2 The principles laid down by the Court of Appeal in the case of Garton v Hunter (VO) 1969 RA 11 give guidance on the method of valuation to be adopted and the weight to be attached to the available evidence.

5.3 The case law referred to in the 2017 Practice Note for museums and art galleries may be pertinent to this class and should be considered as necessary.

5.4 Original County Records Offices (built prior to 1990) are unlikely to be ‘sui generis’ and will fall to be valued by the rentals / comparison method as stores and offices.

5.5 Following the decision in Berry v Iceland Foods Ltd (Appeal Reference RA 61 2012) it is considered that the plant and machinery normally encountered in archives and associated with services to the hereditament are neither part of a trade process nor a manufacturing operation and therefore fall to treated as part of the rateable hereditament for rating purposes.

(See Rating Manual section 6 part 5 for further details)

6. Survey requirements

Description

6.1 County Councils, Local Authorities and other organisations have been responsible for the archiving of records for many years. These include ancient and historic documents, maps, films and sound clips from many sources. Local authorities are also required to keep secure records of adoptions etc. Traditionally they were kept in basements and attics under less than ideal conditions. In recent years archival research has become increasingly popular and purpose built archives have been constructed countrywide on a County Council and City Council basis to provide appropriate storage and facilitate public access to the records.

6.2 British Standard BS5454 ‘Recommendations for storage and exhibition of archival documents’ was introduced in the late 1970s. This document was last revised in 2000 but replaced in 2012 by British Standards Institution Public Document (BSI PD) 5454 and this is now mandatory for all County Records Offices.

6.3 As a result of the need for local authorities to provide suitable accommodation, and, in many cases on the back of Lottery funding, a new generation of purpose built archive buildings has come on stream - the earliest are unlikely to be older than 1989 / 1990. Recent examples include archives constructed alongside and part of public libraries (eg Kent History Centre in Maidstone and Huntingdon Library Archive), or museums (eg Heritage Motor Museum, Gaydon). Co-location with libraries and museums has also helped to raise the profile of archives.

6.4 The Archives and Records Association (ARA) is the principal professional body for archivists, archive conservators and records managers in the UK. Their web address is www.archives.org.uk

Other bodies may hold archival material, and it will be a matter for valuer judgment, based on the physical characteristics described below, whether the building is sufficiently specialised as to require valuation under the provisions of this Section. Examples include the Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst Place, Sussex and English Heritage National Monuments Records Office at Swindon, and The John Lewis Archive in Cookham.

6.5 The most recent buildings (1995 onwards) are sophisticated and with a minimum 20 years forward storage capacity (sometimes space is allocated to other authorities who have not yet completed a BS compliant archive building of their own). There will be two main entry points, one for the public, and one for archive contents. Stores are secure with restricted access to parts as many documents are unique and some are confidential eg adoption records. The stores must be maintained at a stable environment of 35% - 60% humidity and 13 - 20 degrees Celsius. Plant and machinery areas are substantial due to these requirements. Natural lighting is kept to a minimum as UV light damages paper material. Fire protection, particularly to the storage areas has become increasingly sophisticated from bespoke water-based systems (water damaged items can be freeze-dried) to argon-based gas-suppressant (oxygen is replaced by argon) or Oxy-Reduct (oxygen is mechanically drawn out of the storage areas) thereby preventing fires from taking place. This latter system has been adopted in the British Library Archives in Wetherby and requires airtight construction of the storage area.

6.6 The public area has a lot of the attributes of best quality central libraries or good quality museum display space, with light, open areas, there is often also a large gallery / room for exhibitions / conferences as needed. The archivists have offices as normal administration areas, but also ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ laboratories which are temperature / humidity controlled for active conservation of materials. The ‘goods inwards’ areas usually have freeze drying machines so that all materials can be ‘de-bugged’ before acceptance for conservation and storage. There may also be a small cinema or similar for screening film archives.

6.7 Film archive storage is specialised as old nitrate film is highly flammable and film archives are generally standalone e.g. British Film Institute Archive, Gaydon and Imperial War Museum Archive Ickleton.

6.8 In modern purpose-built archives, accommodation will generally be split 50:50 between storage areas and public/staff areas. Some recent archives have been constructed with ceiling heights between 2.5m - 3.0m giving a greater volume of storage space for the same building footprint. Walls and floors are often constructed of concrete to provide good floor loading capacity and also a thermal mass to protect the archive. Key components in the siting and construction of archives are as follows:

  • Site away from hazards of fire, subsidence, atmospheric pollution, noise and vandalism
  • Preference for a free-standing building, single occupancy
  • Unimpeded access for emergency services, especially fire brigade, to all parts of the exterior
  • If the public are to be admitted, easy access by public transport
  • Access for deliveries, and parking for staff and the public
  • Orientation of building to reduce direct sunlight in storage areas
  • Good natural light for office, conservation workshop and reading rooms
  • Consider future expansion space

6.9 Plant and Machinery plays an important part in the performance of archives Temperature Control - Archives should be kept at between 13 Degrees and 20 Degrees Celsius Humidity Control - Archives should be kept at between 35% - 60% relative humidity Fire Control - Archive material is unique and requires protection from fire. Some archives adopt a water-based sprinkler system (water-damaged items can be freeze-dried), some archives use an inert gas such as Argon to extinguish fires, whilst the British Library has adopted an Oxy-Reduct system in its archive in Wetherby. Security - Not only are unique and sometimes very valuable documents held in archives, but also sensitive records are held in the County Records archive eg adoption records. Security is of paramount concern hence secure entry points, and CCTV are common features.

Following the decision in Berry v Iceland Foods (2015) it is considered that the P&M in Archives is not part of a trade process nor manufacturing operation and therefore not exempt from rating.

7. Survey capture

7.1 The standard measurement should be Gross Internal Area (GIA), as defined in the Code of Measuring Practice for Rating Purposes. Separate areas for public access, archive storage, offices, laboratories, plant rooms etc. should be identified. Plant should be noted in the form of heating, air conditioning and fire suppressant systems. Green energy plant (photovoltaic panels, wind turbines etc) should also be noted.

7.2 Note should also be made on inspection of the extent of any car parking areas (including the number of car spaces) and details of other external works - car park barrier controls, CCTV, external lighting, paved and landscaped areas. The site area should be recorded and comment made on file regarding whether the developed site is adequate or under or over sized for the building it serves.

7.3 Record full details of plant and machinery which is concerned with temperature, fire humidity and security control

8. Valuation approach

8.1 The appropriate method of valuation for purpose built archives is likely to be the Contractor’s Basis. A rentals approach may be appropriate for older archives within an old building.

8.2 The selection of valuation method is a question of fact depending upon the particular attributes of the individual hereditament. It is for the valuer to use judgment to establish the most appropriate method given the following guidance:

Original County Records Offices (built prior to 1990) are unlikely to be ‘sui generis’ and will fall to be valued by the rentals / comparison method as stores and offices. For the avoidance of doubt, the above SCAT Code is inappropriate for these buildings.

Purpose built Archive hereditaments will, ‘rebus sic stantibus’, be unsuited to rentals / comparable method and should be valued by reference to the Contractor’s Basis. However care should be taken not to accept the word ‘archive’ at face value in relation to an occupier’s own description of it. Archive is a generic term for any ‘place containing records, documents, or other materials of historical interest’, while this Practice Note relates to whole hereditaments where that is the primary purpose, and where the building is intended to conform to PD5454.

8.3 . Overcapacity

All archives are purpose-built to accommodate future growth. If they were not built in this manner, they would be full to capacity in a short space of time which would be a rather short-sighted development. PD 5454 requires archives to be built with 20 - 25 years’ future expansion (PD 5454 Para.5.3). Some County archives make use of their future expansion space by housing private archives for financial remuneration. No allowance for initial over capacity or superfluity should be given at any stage of the contractor’s basis of valuation in this respect

8.4 Information gathering

As the preferred method of valuation is the Contractors Method, cost evidence should be sought issuing Cost Form of Return VO 6065 via the appropriate Market Information Team (MIT). On receipt of the completed form advice as regard analysis of costs should be sought from NSU BAMS.

9. Valuation support

Valuations of purpose built archives are to be carried on the appropriate spreadsheet held on the Non Bulk Server. Details of records offices which fall to be valued on the rentals basis should be captured on RSA and valued in accordance with the appropriate scheme.

Practice note: 2017 - archives

1. Market appraisal

1.1 A number of archives have been constructed since 2000 as County Councils fulfil their obligation to protect their records and make them accessible to the public. The more recent completions are as follows:

  • A new archive was completed in 2009 in Cardiff (Glamorgan Archives, Clos Parc Morgannwg, Canton, Cardiff CF11 8AW)
  • A new archive was completed in 2011 in Carlisle attached to a Victorian mansion which has been refurbished as part of the overall project (Cumbria Archive Centre, Petteril Bank Road, Carlisle, CA1 3AJ).
  • A similar project was completed in 2011 at Ebbw Vale at the old steelworks (Gwent Records Office The Works, Steel Works Road, Ebbw Vale, NP23 6AA . Like the Glamorgan Archives, this property has been constructed to serve a number of local authorities.
  • A new Archive was completed in Brighton in 2013 (The Keep, Woollards Way, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9BP)
  • another was completed in 2014 in Dudley, West Midlands (Archive Centre, Tipton Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4SA)
  • and another is currently (February 2015) under construction in Hereford

These are typical of current archives being built each with a ‘Repository Block’ - a temperature and humidity controlled secure storage area, together with a ‘People Block’ - the area given over to public reading rooms, administration offices, conservation workshops etc.

1.2 Some specialised archive storage facilities where volume of storage is paramount (e.g. The British Library and The Bodleian Library in Swindon) have constructed high bay buildings internally fixed with self-supporting racking. Automatic pickers retrieve items required thereby protecting the atmospheric integrity of the storage building. The cost of these high bay buildings is likely to be higher than standard archive buildings.

1.3 Two purpose-built film archives have recently been built,

  • National Film Archive, Lighthorne, Warwick, CV35 0BQ
  • Imperial War Museum Film Archive at Grange Farm, Grange Road, Ickleton, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1TA

Costs for these archives are greater than the standard costs reflecting the need to provide protection against fires and explosion of the stored film archive.

1.4 The Building Standard guidance previously provided in BS5454 has now been reviewed and replaced by PD5454 (published 2012). This new document is a more substantial publication, being 76 pages, and brings the previous standard up-to-date. Although it still has an emphasis on preservation of valuable documents – such as manuscripts – and the exhibition of such documents, it is now much more applicable in a business archive scenario. It also addresses storage of digital media.

The document begins with detailed guidance on the nature of documents and best practice for their storage and use. This includes topics such as environmental controls for different media, protection against mould, infestation and pollution, environmental monitoring, environmental control, packaging and security. The guide then goes on to describe the repository building and measures that can be taken in the design and build of an archive facility. This section includes hazard avoidance, security, construction, environmental stability, fire and water protection, load distribution, shelving and lighting, to name but a few.

2. Changes from the 2010 list practice note

The factors giving rise to the choice of method of valuation and application of the methods of valuation have not significantly changed from the 2010 Practice Note.

3. Ratepayer discussions

No discussions have taken place with any representative body or their agents

4. Valuation scheme

4.1 The costs shown in this section are for ease of reference. In all cases where a cost guide code is shown that 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 differing costs to those shown in a current version of this practice note, please refer to the CCT.

4.2 The selection of valuation method is a question of fact depending upon the particular attributes of the individual hereditament. It is for the valuer to use judgment to establish the most appropriate method given the following guidance:

4.3 Original County Records Offices (built prior to 1990) are unlikely to be ‘sui generis’ and will fall to be valued by the rentals / comparison method as stores and offices. For the avoidance of doubt, SCAT Code 404 is inappropriate for these buildings.

4.4 Purpose built Archive hereditaments will, ‘rebus sic stantibus’, be unsuited to rentals / comparable method and should be valued to Contractor’s Basis. However care should be taken not to accept the word ‘archive’ at face value in relation to an occupier’s own description of it. Archive is a generic term for any ‘place containing records, documents, or other materials of historical interest’, while this Practice Note relates to whole hereditaments where that is the primary purpose, and where the building is intended to conform to PD5454.In these instances, the Contractor’s Method is the most appropriate valuation approach.

4.5 Valuation on the contractors basis

Stage 1 - estimated replacement cost

4.5.1 Building cost

The GIA of the archive should be used to calculate the Estimated Replacement Cost (Stage 1) of the building by applying a substitute building cost as specified in the cost guide (under reference 63500G) of £2,200. Archive buildings within museums or libraries or other hereditaments should be valued having reference to the costs adopted for those particular types of property.

Film archives are to be cost individually after having taken advice from the appropriate specialist in NSU and BAMS.

Basement areas within archive buildings occupied for archive storage should be cost at the same rate as above ground archive storage. Basement areas will be more expensive to form than above ground accommodation but the ‘simple substitute’ approach should be adopted for their build costs which would normally be on the basis of above ground storage. There may be grounds for a Stage 2 allowance for basement accommodation which is either damp and / or has poor access.

4.5.2 External works

Additions are to be made in the case of archives in accordance with the following guidelines

Addition Description
2% Town centre or island site typically with 90% or greater building ratio, no more than a small yard or garden area, and either no car parking, or a very limited number of spaces within the hereditament.
2.5% As above, but typically with an 80% to 90% building ratio, limited parking, external lighting and landscaping and some boundary fencing.
5% Site typically with 50%/75% building ratio, some landscaping around buildings, secure boundary fencing, adequate parking, external lighting and landscaping with limited general parking within the hereditament and boundary fencing.
7.5% As above, but typically with 25%/50% building ratio, landscaping around buildings, secure boundary fencing, external lighting, adequate parking within the hereditament which falls short of full requirements,.
12.5% Site typically with about 25% building ratio, landscaping around buildings, secure boundary fencing, external lighting and adequate parking within the hereditament for all staff and other users.

4.5.3 Contract size adjustments should be made in accordance with standard scales in the 2017 Cost Guide.

4.5.4 Location Factors are to be applied in accordance with the figures given in the 2017 Cost Guide

4.5.5 An addition for Fees should be made in accordance with the guidance in the 2017 Cost Guide

Stage 2 – age and obsolescence

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

Stage 3 – land value

4.5.7 Land value should be arrived at by having regard to values prevailing in the locality (see 2017 practice note relating to land values), in accordance with Rating Manual section 4 part 3. A reduction of up to 20% from the prevailing land use value may be appropriate to reflect the mode and category of use, but this need not be made where there is evidence of land being acquired at the full value for the prevailing use in the area.

4.5.8 Where the site is excessive in size, reasonable assumptions should be made to arrive at an appropriate substitute, and consideration given as to whether gardens, play areas etc. should be added as undeveloped land (amenity value). Where a site area is restricted in size, only the actual area should be valued, but to avoid double counting, regard should be had to this when considering whether a further allowance at stage 5 is appropriate.

Stage 4 – decapitalisation rate

4.5.9 The effective capital value (ECV) of the hereditament shall be de-capitalised to an annual equivalent by taking the prescribed (higher) rate.

Stage 5 – end adjustments

4.5.10 Any advantage or disadvantage, which might affect the value of the occupation of the hereditament as a whole, should be reflected at this stage. An adjustment under this head should not duplicate adjustments made elsewhere.

4.5.11 No allowance should be granted for over capacity or ‘surplusage’. All purpose-built archives are constructed with a minimum 20 years’ growth capacity built in (PD 5454 Para.5.3).

4.6. IT support

4.6.1 Where the Contractor’s Basis is appropriate the standard generic Contractor’s Spreadsheet held on the Non Bulk Server should be used for all valuations selecting ‘Archives’ from the drop-down menu.

4.6.2 Where the rentals method of valuation is employed, records should be captured and valuations carried out by applying an appropriate scheme using the Rating Support Application (RSA)

Practice note 1: 2010 - archives

1. Co-ordination arrangements

Responsibility for this class lies solely with SRU’s and they are responsible for ensuring effective co-ordination. For further information see Rating Manual section 6 part 1: Practice Note 1: 2010. The 2010 Special Category Codes for Archives is 404. The Appropriate suffix letter is ‘S’.

2. Valuation method

The selection of valuation method is a question of fact depending upon the particular attributes of the individual hereditament. It is for the valuer to use judgment to establish the most appropriate method given the following guidance:

Original County Records Offices (built prior to 1990) are unlikely to be ‘sui generis’ and will fall to be valued by the rentals / comparison method as stores and offices. For the avoidance of doubt, the above SCAT Code is inappropriate for these buildings.

Purpose built Archive hereditaments will, ‘rebus sic stantibus’, be unsuited to rentals / comparables method and should be valued to Contractor’s Basis. However care should be taken not to accept the word ‘archive’ at face value in relation to an occupier’s own description of it. Archive is a generic term for any ‘place containing records, documents, or other materials of historical interest’, while this Practice Note relates to whole hereditaments where that is the primary purpose, and where the building is intended to conform to BS5454.

3. Valuation on contractor’s basis

3.1 Stage 1 - estimated replacement cost

The GIA of the archive should be used to calculate the Estimated Replacement Cost (Stage 1) of the building by applying a substitute building cost in the range £1550-£1900. The lower end of the scale is likely to be appropriate to those buildings constructed before 1995. Any building constructed from 1997 onwards is likely to attract the top end of the range. Archive buildings within museum or other hereditaments should be valued by reference to those particular types of property.

An addition for external works will be made in the case of archives within the range of 2.5% - 7.5% on the assumption that although some car parking will be available, the site is unlikely to be extensive.

Contract size adjustments should be made, and location factors applied in respect of this class in accordance with standard scales in the cost guide.

General guidance on the amount to be added for fees is provided in the R2010 Cost Guide, but an addition of 15% should normally be adopted for archives.

3.2 Stage 2 – age and obsolescence

The standard age-related allowances scale contained in the R2010 Cost Guide should be applied in most circumstances.

3.3 Stage 3 – land value

Land value should be arrived at by having regard to values prevailing in the locality, in accordance with Rating Manual section 4 part 3. A reduction of up to 20% from the prevailing land use value may be appropriate to reflect the mode and category of use, but this need not be made where there is evidence of land being acquired at the full value for the prevailing use in the area.

Where the site is excessive in size, reasonable assumptions should be made to arrive at an appropriate substitute, and consideration given as to whether gardens, play areas etc. should be added as undeveloped land. Where a site area is restricted in size, only the actual area should be valued, but to avoid double counting, regard should be had to this when considering whether a further allowance at stage 5 is appropriate.

3.4 Stage 4 – decapitalisation rate

The Adjusted Replacement Cost (ARC) of the hereditament shall be decapitalised to an annual equivalent by taking the prescribed rate.

3.5 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 stage. An adjustment under this head should not duplicate adjustments made elsewhere. Those properties that comprise buildings adapted from an earlier use are likely to require further adjustment under this head.

Where the property has been grant funded, allowances should be made to reflect the effect of the grant in accordance with Rating Manual section 4 part 3 - Appendix 2.

4. IT support

Where the Contractors Basis is appropriate the standard generic Contractors Spreadsheet should be used. It can be accessed from the Desk Top Icon Non-Bulk 2010. Instructions for use are provided in the Non Bulk Server Manual on the Rating Homepage.

Practice note 1: 2005 - archives

1. Co-ordination arrangements

Responsibility for this class lies solely with SRU’s and they are responsible for ensuring effective co-ordination. For further information see Rating Manual section 6 part 1: Practice Note 1 : 2005.

The 2005 Special Category Codes for Archives is 404. The Appropriate suffix letter is ‘S’.

2. Valuation method

The selection of valuation method is a question of fact depending upon the particular attributes of the individual hereditament. It is for the valuer to use judgment to establish the most appropriate method given the following guidance:-

Original County Records Offices (built prior to 1990) are unlikely to be ‘sui generis’ and will fall to be valued by the rentals / comparison method as stores and offices. For the avoidance of doubt, the above SCAT Code is inappropriate for these buildings.

Purpose built Archive buildings will, ‘rebus sic stantibus’, be unsuited to rentals / comparables method and should be valued to Contractor’s Basis.

3. Valuation on contractor’s basis

3.1 – Stage 1 - estimated replacement cost

The GIA of the archive should be used to calculate the Estimated Replacement Cost (Stage 1) of the building by applying a substitute building cost in the range £1300-£1750. The lower end of the scale is likely to be appropriate to those buildings constructed before 1995. Any building constructed from 1997 onwards is likely to attract the top end of the range.

An addition for external works will be made in the case of archives within the range of 2.5% - 7.5% on the assumption that although some car parking will be available, the site is unlikely to be extensive.

Contract size adjustments should be made, and location factors applied in respect of this class in accordance with standard scales in the cost guide.

General guidance on the amount to be added for fees is provided in the R2005 Cost Guide, but an addition of 15% should normally be adopted for archives.

3.2 – Stage 2 – age and obsolescence

The standard age-related allowances scale contained in the R2005 Cost Guide should be applied in most circumstances.

3.3 – Stage 3 – land value

Land value should be arrived at by having regard to values prevailing in the locality, in accordance with Rating Manual section 4 part 3. A reduction of up to 20% from the prevailing land use value may be appropriate to reflect the mode and category of use, but this need not be made where there is evidence of land being acquired at the full value for the prevailing use in the area.

Where the site is excessive in size, reasonable assumptions should be made to arrive at an appropriate substitute, and consideration given as to whether gardens, play areas etc. should be added as undeveloped land. Where a site area is restricted in size, only the actual area should be valued, but to avoid double counting, regard should be had to this when considering whether a further allowance at stage 5 is appropriate.

3.4 – Stage 4 – decapitalisation Rate

The Adjusted Replacement Cost (ARC) of the hereditament shall be decapitalised to an annual equivalent by taking the prescribed rate.

3.5 – 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 stage. An adjustment under this head should not duplicate adjustments made elsewhere. Those properties which comprise buildings adapted from an earlier use are likely to require further adjustment under this head.

Where the property has been grant funded allowances should be made to reflect the effect of the grant in accordance with Rating Manual section 4 part 3 Appendix 2.

4 – IT support

Where the Contractors Basis is appropriate the standard generic Contractors Spreadsheet should be used. A master copy is located in the R-drive and all such valuations will be downloaded into the new non-bulk server see IA’s 100903 and 140503 for further details.