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

Section 815: newspaper printing works

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 of the Rating Manual applies to Newspaper Printing Works of either stand alone purpose built or adapted units. The value to be adopted will be derived from actual rents if available or rents for general industrial/warehouse use.

Where the premises are, rebus sic stantibus, suited to no other use, or where planning considerations exclude any other use, these hereditaments may be sui generis. However values should still be made by comparison with industrial rental values in the locality.

2. List Description & Special Category Code

The List Description should be: Newspaper Print Works and Premises.

The R2017 Special Category Code 198 should be used. As a Specialist Class the appropriate suffix letter should be S.

3. Responsible Teams

This is a Specialist Class with responsibilities lying with Unit Specialists for implementing the scheme as set out within the practice notes.

4. Co-ordination

The Class Co-ordination Team and the Industrial 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 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

The responsibility for ensuring effective co-ordination lies with the class co-ordination team and Unit Specialists.

Valuation is by rentals comparison and there are no separate legal considerations for this class.

6. Survey Requirements

The basis of measurement for a Newspaper Print Works is GIA.

6.1 Safety on Site

All Newspaper Print Works contain safety hazards, so care is required when carrying out inspections.

Appropriate personal safety equipment must be worn and health and safety guidelines must be observed. Minimum requirement: - safety boots and glasses, high visibility clothing and hard hat.

Sites may 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.

In particular, it is important to maintain very high levels of awareness - be alert for the risk of trips and falls; never touch exposed pipes or other elements of production equipment particularly those with moving parts such as found in the printing process.

6.2 Plant and Machinery

See RM section. 4:3 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.

Newspaper print works are unlikely to feature substantial elements of plant and machinery. Sites will however, have structural steelwork (3050B series), concrete supports and settings; specialist fire protection to structural members and sprinkler systems. Air conditioning may be installed in associated office accommodation but this is likely to be taken account of in the base price adjustments.

6.3 Particular features

Newspaper print works need generous paper reel storage and as a single reels will weigh in excess of a ton and are often stacked, the floor loading requirement is considerable. Consequently additional costs would be associated with the foundations and floor construction for these which will enhance the value of the warehouse to the occupier. Other specialist features are likely to be found particularly in the press halls. For guidance the particular features are likely to be:

extra depth of foundation to the printing presses and paper stores;

multi-storey construction either as full floors and/or mezzanine floors, both with high loading capacities;

substantially higher than standard eaves heights;

specialist fire protection to structural members; sprinkler systems.

The adjustment for these specialist adaptations may result in substantial uplifts in value compared to the commercial/industrial local rental tone.

There may be also be disabilities as a consequence of printing press changes which may create holes within floors where the presses have past through but have subsequently been removed. Please see the section below on valuation for guidance.

6.4 The process

6.4.1 Types of printing

The three most common methods of printing are called relief (or letterpress), gravure (or intaglio), and offset. All three involve transferring ink from a printing plate to whatever is being printed, but each one works in a slightly different way.

  • Relief is the most familiar kind of printing such as a potato print or an old-fashioned typewriter. The basic idea involves a reversed relief version of whatever is to be printed on the face of the printing plate and cover it with ink. Because the printing surface is above the rest of the plate, only this part (and not the background) picks up any ink.
  • Gravure is the exact opposite of relief printing. Instead of making a raised printing area on the plate an image is cut into it (a bit like digging a grave, hence the name gravure). To print from the plate it is coated with ink so that the ink fills the depressions. The plate is wiped clean so the ink is removed from the surface but left in the depressions. The plate is pressed hard against the paper (or other material to be printed) so the paper is pushed into the ink filled depressions and picking up a pattern only from those parts of the plate.
  • Offset printing also transfers ink from a printing plate onto paper (or another material), but instead of the plate pressing directly against the paper, there is an extra step involved. The inked plate presses onto a soft roller, transferring the printed image onto it, and then the roller presses against the printing surface—so instead of the press directly printing the surface, the printed image is first offset to the roller and only then transferred across. Offset printing stops the printing plate from wearing out through repeated impressions on the paper, and produces consistently higher quality prints. It is this method or variations of it that is used most commonly in the newspaper printing process.

A newspaper is printed on thin paper made from a combination of recycled matter and wood pulp, and is not intended to have a long service life. Large printing presses often located at a plant separate from the editorial and advertising headquarters, print the editions and a network of delivery vehicles move them to the distribution centres for distribution.

6.4.2 Newspaper production

The process of producing a daily edition of a national newspaper begins with a meeting of the paper’s editors, who determine the amount of editorial copy in an issue based on the advertising space that will have already been sold. A specific number of pages is agreed upon, and the editorial assignments are made to the various departments. The section of national and international news, generally the first part of the paper, is compiled from correspondents who send in their stories electronically, usually via computer modem, to the editor’s computer. Additional stories of importance are compiled from wire services such as United Press International, Associated Press, and Reuters. These are organisations that employ reporters in various cities of the globe to compile stories and items quickly for dissemination over telephone wires and computer cables.

6.4.3 The manufacturing process

Typesetting * The composing room receives the story in an electronic format, with the computer text file already translated with typeset codes. In a typeset file, the characters are of the same “type”—style, size, and width—as they appear on the pages of the newspaper. * The final version of the page is then approved by the editor on duty—sometimes a night editor in the case of a paper that is slated for a morning edition—and sent over to a process department. There, the page is taken in its computer format and transferred via laser beams onto film in an image setter apparatus. The operator then takes the film to a processor in another section of the paper, who develops it and adjusts it for its final look. Photographs are scanned into another computer terminal and inserted into the page layout. The pages that are set to be printed together are then taped down onto a device called a “stripper,” and an editor checks them over once more for errors. The strippers are then put into frames on light-sensitive film, and the image of each page is burned onto the film. The film of each page is inserted into a laser reader, a large facsimile machine that scans the page and digitally transfers the images to the printing center of the newspaper. * At the printing centre, typically a large plant separate from the newspaper’s editorial offices and centrally located to facilitate citywide distribution, the pages arrive at the laser room and are put through a laser writer, another scanning device that makes a negative image of them. In the negative image of the page, the text is white while the blank spaces are black. The final images of each page are further adjusted. This last-minute adjustment may involve fine-tuning of the colored sections and retouching of the photographs.

Plate-making

  • From these negatives the plate forms, from which the paper will be printed, are composed in a plate making room. The film of the page, usually done two pages at a time, is then placed on a light box. Next, an aluminum plate containing a light-sensitive coating is placed on top of the image of the pages. The light box is then switched on, and ultraviolet light develops the image of the pages onto the aluminum plate. The aluminum plate is then bent at the edges so that it will fit into a press, and is fitted onto plate cylinders.

Printing

  • The aluminum plates of each page next move on to the actual printing press, which may be vertically or horizontally arranged. When the press is running, the noise in the building is considerable and noise levels may be such that earplugs should be used. The most common method of printing newspapers is called web offset. The “web” refers to the large sheets of blank newsprint that are inserted in rolls, often weighing over a ton each, into the actual printing press.
  • Next, the large sheets of printed newsprint move on to machinery called a folder. There, the pages are cut individually and folded in order. This entire printing process can move as fast as 60,000 copies per hour. Quality control technicians and supervisors take random copies and scan them for printing malfunctions in colour, order, and readability. Next, a conveyer belt moves the papers into a mail room section of the plant, where they are stacked into quires, or bundles of 24. The quires then move to another section where a machine wraps them in plastic or paper. The bundles would then be loaded onto delivery vehicles for distribution.

7. Survey Capture

Survey details for Newspaper printing Works are held on RSA and EDRM in the same manner as other bulk-class hereditaments.

Survey data for this class is recorded on EDRM.

8. Valuation approach

This will be on a rentals comparison basis following the local tone of the list and subject to uplifts to reflect special features such as high loading capacity of floors and a small proportion of office area [or none at all] to the industrial printing works area.

The changes in the industry have resulted in there now being the following types of hereditament:

  1. Successful, industry-leading properties; modern purpose built large scale operations incorporating recent advances in print technology. These hereditaments are of a specialist nature and there may not be any rental market.
  2. Struggling, under-used properties with vacant or changed-use space;
  3. Vacant sites.

The works that fall into category 1 are relatively few in number and should be fully valued. They are likely to be the works that win contracts to print for other newspapers and free newspapers where the profit margins are low and efficiency is paramount. The works that fall into category 2 may be valued taking into account the fact that there should be consideration given for superfluity factors outlined above. The works that fall into category 3 may require careful judgement as to the mode and category of use as at the material day and valued accordingly.

The latter two categories may also involve consideration of structures/areas specifically built to house large machinery. This may involve the consideration of the valuation effects of the presence of redundant large pits or holes in the floors of the hereditaments where large redundant printing presses and associated equipment was housed but is no longer serviceable or has been removed.

Sui Generis

Are the hereditaments sui generis or general industrial?

Sui generis hereditaments would be affected by the decline in the newspaper printing market as a whole but general industrial hereditaments would tend not to be as other occupiers would be interested in the hereditament vacant and to let and compete in rental bids for its occupation. While it may be contended that the hereditaments are sui generis, it may be that, vacant and to let, newspaper printing works are capable of industrial uses within the rebus sic stantibus rule.

Specialist features are likely to be found particularly in press halls and reel stores buildings. For example, extra depth of foundation to the printing presses and paper stores; multi-storey construction either as full floors and/or mezzanine floors, both with high loading capacities; substantially higher than standard eaves heights; specialist fire protection to structural members; sprinkler systems. The adjustment for these specialist adaptations may result in substantial uplifts in value compared to the commercial/industrial local rental tone.

Smaller older print works

For smaller, older printing works the most appropriate method of valuation is rentals comparison. The rental evidence available should be sufficient to establish a basis for such properties within the class.

It will still be necessary to consider to what extent the rental basis requires additions for specialist adaptations not reflected in the local tone. Again such specialist adaptations are likely to be found in Press Halls and Reel Stores, and adjustment for these may result in substantial uplifts in value from the underlying rental basis.

Plant & Machinery

The relevant regulations for the purposes of the 2017 Rating Lists will be the Valuation for Rating (Plant and Machinery) Regulations 2000 SI 540. These regulations are considered in detail in RM 4:3 Practice Note to which reference should be made for guidance as to the rateability of plant and machinery.

Cost Guide

Reference should be made to the 2017 Rating Cost Guide for updated costs and advice.

9. Valuation Support

Valuations for newspaper printing works are held on RSA in the same manner as other bulk-class hereditaments.

Support and guidance can be obtained from the class co-ordination team.

Practice note: 2017 - Newspaper print works

1. Market Appraisal

Since just after the turn of the century there has been a decline in newspaper sales which it is claimed lead to a decline in demand for news printing facilities. To counter this there has been a considerable rise in free newspapers and magazines all of which will require printing. Since the late 1990s the introduction of computers and automated processes in the newspaper printing industry and the use of computer based new technology at large has had a significant impact.

Changes in technology and its effect can be summarised thus:

  • the increase in available “freebie” papers and magazines such as the Metro, Evening Standard, Stylist, Shortlist, and Sport.
  • the preference for people to review news online rather than buy a daily paper;
  • the increase in the use of tablets / smart-phones etc. to read electronic versions of newspapers;
  • the reductions in advertising revenues for local papers;
  • the significant reduction in people employed within the industry;
  • obsolescence of equipment / redundant space within print works;

This has led to a reduction in volumes of papers produced for sale on a daily basis. New research from Press Gazette has found that at least 242 local newspapers closed between 2005 and the end of 2011. This compares with just 70 launches. The research was conducted for a feature in the April 2014 edition of Press Gazette which identified news gaps – parts of the UK which are no longer covered by professional journalists. In the wake of local newspaper closures by the big regional publishing groups there is evidence that independent entrepreneurs are stepping in to launch new titles.

2. Changes from the last Practice Note

The basis of valuation is unchanged but particular consideration must be given as to which category the hereditament being valued will fall into. See the commentary below.

3. Ratepayer Discussions

There have been discussions with the ratepayers’ industry representatives for the 2005 and 2010 lists with regard to the state of the industry but no firm outcome has been achieved.

4. Valuation Scheme

This will be on a rentals comparison basis following the local tone of the list and subject to uplifts to reflect special features such as high loading capacity of floors and a small proportion of office area [or none at all] to the industrial printing works area.

4.1 Approach to Valuation

The changes in the industry referred to above have resulted in there now being the following types of hereditament:

  1. Successful, industry-leading properties; modern purpose built large scale operations incorporating recent advances in print technology. These hereditaments are of a specialist nature and there may not be any rental market.
  2. Struggling, under-used properties with vacant or changed-use space;
  3. Vacant sites.

The works that fall into category 1 are relatively few in number and should be fully valued. They are likely to be the works that win contracts to print for other newspapers and free newspapers where the profit margins are low and efficiency is paramount. The works that fall into category 2 may be valued taking into account the fact that there should be consideration given for superfluity factors outlined above. The works that fall into category 3 may require careful judgement as to the mode and category of use as at the material day and valued accordingly.

The latter two categories may also involve consideration of structures/areas specifically built to house large machinery. This may involve the consideration of the valuation effects of the presence of redundant large pits or holes in the floors of the hereditaments where large redundant printing presses and associated equipment was housed but is no longer serviceable or has been removed.

4.2 Sui Generis

Are the hereditaments sui generis or general industrial?

Sui generis hereditaments would be affected by the decline in the newspaper printing market as a whole but general industrial hereditaments would tend not to be as other occupiers would be interested in the hereditament vacant and to let and compete in rental bids for its occupation. While it may be contended that the hereditaments are sui generis, it may be that, vacant and to let, newspaper printing works are capable of industrial uses within the rebus sic stantibus rule.

Specialist features are likely to be found particularly in press halls and reel stores buildings. For example, extra depth of foundation to the printing presses and paper stores; multi-storey construction either as full floors and/or mezzanine floors, both with high loading capacities; substantially higher than standard eaves heights; specialist fire protection to structural members; sprinkler systems. The adjustment for these specialist adaptations may result in substantial uplifts in value compared to the commercial/industrial local rental tone.

4.3 Smaller older print works

For smaller, older printing works the most appropriate method of valuation is rentals comparison. The rental evidence available should be sufficient to establish a basis for such properties within the class.

It will still be necessary to consider to what extent the rental basis requires additions for specialist adaptations not reflected in the local tone. Again such specialist adaptations are likely to be found in Press Halls and Reel Stores, and adjustment for these may result in substantial uplifts in value from the underlying rental basis.

4.4 Plant & Machinery

The relevant regulations for the purposes of the 2017 Rating Lists will be the Valuation for Rating (Plant and Machinery) Regulations 2000 SI 540. These regulations are considered in detail in RM 4:3 Practice Note to which reference should be made for guidance as to the rateability of plant and machinery.

4.5 Cost Guide

Reference should be made to the 2017 Rating Cost Guide for updated costs and advice.