22/1/20 – Essential guidance for GPs entering into an agreement lease

Any Practice considering entering into an agreement to lease will need to consider the early appointment of a monitoring surveyor to provide necessary technical advice. The NHS (General Medical Services – Premises Costs) Direction 2013 define such a reimbursable professional role as a project manager but the services required more closely follows a project monitoring brief.

It is essential that the monitoring surveyor has primary care experience and fully understands the particular requirements of their client in order to provide comprehensive, accurate, impartial and concise advice. The appointment of a monitoring surveyor should be at the onset of the project so they can have an early involvement in the design development and shaping the Practice’s initial brief. Many developments have suffered from design shortcomings which were not been picked up until later in the design phase and when a resolution was more problematic.

A monitoring surveyor needs to be fully articulate with design related matters as there is need for careful interpretation of NHS design guidance relevant to a primary care setting rather than secondary care. The design process will be typically led by an architect and the monitoring surveyor will need to have an understanding of design related matters so they can ensure the Practice’s brief is best incorporated. This is even more important when a development is being undertaken by a developer and or professional team with limited primary care experience.

As well as design drawings a development agreement will include detailed specifications and room data sheets that will set out prescriptive and or performance based requirements for a development. When reviewing and agreeing these, the monitoring surveyor will need to understand relevant NHS design guidance, Valuation Office Agency information requirements and statutory requirements. Primary care developments are unlike other commercial developments and a monitoring surveyor needs a broad experience of the primary care development marketplace.

The development phase of a project should only commence once the monitoring surveyor has advised the practice fully on the above matters together with other considerations that will typically form the monitoring surveyor’s pre contract scope of service.

During the development phase the monitoring surveyor’s role will include reviewing the detailed design and implementation to ensure it fulfils the requirements of the agreement. As well as outcome and quality management they will advise on programme and any necessary financial management related to the agreement.

An experienced primary care monitoring surveyor is almost certainly likely to make a valuable contribution to a primary care development and will greatly enhance a Practice’s risk management.

John Clark BSc (Hons) MRICS is a Chartered Building Surveyor with over 20 years primary care monitoring, design and project management experience. He has advised many clients including Practices, CCGs, other health organisations and funders on more than 100 primary care developments.

If you would like further information contact John Clark via email to john.clark@argroup.co.uk or call 01442 220 823 / 07730 766 952.