Key considerations when purchasing industrial property




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When looking to purchase industrial property there are a number of factors which should be carefully considered before making a final commitment, but three in particular require investigation. It is always better to check requirements upfront rather than suffer regret later.

Town planning

Since many town planning departments have unique regulations which might affect your intended purpose for the property, you would be wise to enquire whether any such rules exist. Your next task should be to obtain an official zoning sheet of the site in order to determine certain important details pertaining to the property. 

It is necessary to be aware of the consent use applicable to the property while also understanding the definition of the consent use. Are the building lines in accordance with regulations? They might have been incorrectly laid out at the initial stage, which would cause delays or problems for you, and the prospective buyer at a later date. Determine the coverage definition according to local town planning requirements then check that the building falls within the legal limit. Does the height adhere to the defined specifications as stated on the official zoning sheet? Parking requirements are important, as the ratio of parking bays per 100 square metres of leasable area may differ depending on the consent use of the property. Check whether there are any annexures or schedules relating to the site or the area which may influence your proposed use of it.

Should any of this information not be contained in the official zoning sheet, it will be necessary to obtain it from another source.  Consulting directly with the commercial broker or seller should, however, secure the required information you need.

In the event that the property has been re-zoned, it will be necessary to obtain a copy of the new zoning document along with the conditions of the amended scheme. It is also advisable to confirm whether the development contribution has been paid. Enquire into the zoning of surrounding areas, as this could exert influence on the property you wish to purchase. Approach the municipal town planners to ascertain whether there are any unusual conditions pertaining to the site. If so, discuss with them how these conditions will affect your prospective usage of the property.


It is recommended that you look at the existing road infrastructure in the vicinity of the property prior to ascertaining whether any imminent changes are planned. If changes are in the pipeline, establish the anticipated implementation dates of these, along with the impact they may have on the prospective property, as easy accessibility is a vital factor for any class of commercial or industrial property. While scrutinising the adjacent roads, determine the ease with which the property may be accessed, while also noting any factors which might restrict accessibility. These restrictive factors may devolve from the Department of Transport, the municipality, or some provincial source. In order to assess the existing accessibility of the property, look at it from a variety of angles: that of private vehicles; the proximity of public transport; pedestrian traffic; possible rail sidings, where relevant; or heavy traffic congestion in the neighbourhood. Space for on-site parking is also of paramount importance as both client and staff needs must also be taken into consideration.

Environmental concerns

As national environmental awareness continues to grow, laws are frequently changing, giving due consideration to matters of environmental importance. These changes will, in future, impact heavily on the property industry as it has become an industry norm to take full cognisance of all environmental aspects where they relate to property in general, but industrial property in particular. One of the foremost concerns when purchasing industrial property is the environmental impact on the desired land as well as the surrounding areas. Another point for consideration is the possibility of soil contamination from some outside source. If there is any suspicion of contamination, then soil tests need to be carried out. Should there be any environmental uncertainties about the property, particularly in the case of vacant or undeveloped land, then it would be prudent to consult an environmental specialist prior to signing the contract.

Instead of having to face unnecessary delays when purchasing industrial property, it is far better to be one step ahead by checking for potential problems such as those mentioned above. It could make a huge difference between good or a bad investment experience. 

Information provided by Rawson Commercial.

Rawson Commercial currently has offices countrywide and looks forward to assisting you in finding the right property for your purpose. Please contact (021) 658 7100 and we will refer you to your nearest office.


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