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

Section 990: squash courts

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 deals with the general principles to be adopted in the valuation of squash courts occupied either singly or in complexes, and either by private or public bodies.

2. List Description and Special Category Code

When valued separately SCAT Code 263. As a Generalist Class the appropriate suffix letter should be G.

List Description: Squash Court and Premises

3. Responsible Teams

This is a Generalist Class.

4. Co-ordination

The Class Co-Ordination Team has overall responsibility for the co-ordination of this class. 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 lists. 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

There is no specific legal framework for this class of property.

6. Survey Requirements

Squash courts may be constructed in a variety of ways, but they will generally fall into two distinct categories:

a. Traditional (i.e. solid brick walls with plastered surfaces), which will often include glass backed courts with viewing areas behind.

b. Prefabricated (e.g. concrete panels, or sheet material on a prefabricated frame).

Basis of measurement GIA with specific reference and areas recorded of the following - changing accommodation and viewing galleries are normally to be expected, but in addition sauna baths, solariums, Jacuzzis, TV lounges, crèches, games rooms, reception areas, lounges and bars are commonly provided. Methods of construction will again vary between the ‘traditional’ and the ‘prefabricated’.

VOs should ensure that on inspection full constructional details are taken and ‘trade names’ noted if possible to assist comparison and costing. Prefabricated courts should be investigated thoroughly and if possible contrasted with those of traditional construction in an attempt to gauge their relative merits having particular regard to the requirements of a tenant from year to year. Generally, traditional courts are more popular among squash players than prefabricated ones.

The survey should include the following information: Location of club (dense urban area), site plan, description of the building, age, number of courts, size of courts, classification of tournaments that can be held, other facilities - capacity of viewing gallery, changing, restaurants/bar, membership tariff, level of membership, growth or static membership levels, local or private operator.

For International tournaments the expected size for singles is 9.75 X 6.40 and doubles 9.75 X 7.62 - clear height for both 5.64.

7. Survey Capture

Where appropriate rating surveys should be captured on the Rating Support Application (RSA) and in all cases plans and surveys should be stored in the property folder of the Electronic Document Records Management (EDRM) system.

8. Valuation Approach

Subject to the valuation method applied comparison should be made in terms of a price per court inclusive of a basic viewing gallery, but otherwise exclusive of ancillaries. Ancillaries, which may vary in type and quality considerably, should be expressed separately.

Where the squash courts are themselves ancillary to a larger sports hereditament the valuations will need to cross-reference with the relevant Rating Manual sections regarding local authority or private leisure centres as appropriate.

See Rating Manual: Section 6 - Part 3 - Sections 960 & 965.

8.1 Rental

Where sound rental evidence is available it will form the best evidence to support valuations, but rental evidence is known to be limited. Even so due regard should be had to reliable rental information when available. VOs should be wary however, of placing too much emphasis on single rents without first examining other evidence. The Court of Appeal decision in Garton v Hunter (VO) is pertinent and VOs are referred to the decision (1969 RA 11).

8.2 Contractors Basis

A contractors basis, in the absence of rental evidence, is considered to be the most appropriate method for use at revaluation or in connection with subsequent proposals if suitable evidence of settled assessments is unavailable (see Leisure UK Ltd v Moore (VO) 1974 RA 237).

9. Valuation Support

All valuations should be entered either on RSA if a rental approach is applicable or the NBS in the event of a contractors under Sports and Leisure Centres.

Practice note: 2017 - Squash courts (Sui generis)

1. Market Appraisal

In its heyday of the 1970s and 1980s squash was one of the most popular sports in the country, played by people from all walks of life. In this boom time courts were built and squash clubs in both inner city and suburban areas thrived with a healthy membership list and fierce competition to book courts in the weeks ahead. From then on squash suffered from an image problem as it was perceived as a corporate sport which did not help promote its growth.

This coupled with a change in lifestyle and working culture as the 1990s and 2000s took hold meant that a game which was played predominantly at lunchtimes and afternoons was left behind as people ate lunch at their desks and worked longer hours.

Along with a decline in membership the major factor facing squash was that the facilities began to get older and more expensive to maintain and were often in high value locations near offices making them ripe for redevelopment as either health centres and gyms or as residential accommodation. Many courts affiliated with larger health clubs were converted into gym areas as the financial benefit of using the space for classes far outweighs that of squash.

2. Changes From Last Practice Note

There was no Practice Note for the 2010 Revaluation.

3. Ratepayer Discussions

There have been no 2017 List discussions on this class of property.

4. Valuation Scheme

Rental evidence from within Units should be analysed in terms of rent per square metre. This should enable comparison to be made between clubs and similar properties, thus enabling a judgement to be made as to the correct level of value for the differing types of buildings and locations.

Where there is a lack of rental evidence, the fall-back position will be the contractor’s basis.

Where the squash courts are themselves ancillary to a larger sports hereditament the valuations will need to cross-reference with the relevant Rating Manual sections regarding local authority or private leisure centres as appropriate.

See Rating Manual: Section 6 - Part 3 - Sections 960 & 965.