Bilfinger GVA was the first major property consultancy to set up a department dedicated to the needs of the telecoms industry, be that mobile, broadcast or fixed line. We operate from London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow and serve our clients on a national basis. We remain the largest in the UK both by staff numbers and market share.
Our acquisition expertise emanates from the 1990s when many thousands of sites for mobile base stations were acquired. With consolidation in the industry, few new sites are required these days and our expertise has been refocused on acquiring additional rights (where necessary) to facilitate the deployment of 4G networks.
A high proportion of the new sites being acquired these days are contentious given they tend to be in sensitive areas with poor coverage. Our dedicated telecoms planners are adept at such applications. For example, frequently coverage in historic towns can only be achieved by incorporating base stations in church spires which requires sensitive design so as to leave no visible external changes.
Forced site moves
When operators are forced to move to allow landlords to redevelop their properties, we manage relationships with the landlord and his developer and acquire replacement sites so as to maintain network coverage for customers.
Whether inside or outside the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, we negotiate with landlords and their agents and have a thorough understanding of the interaction between that Act and the Communications Act 2003 with the Telecoms Code contained therein.
Annually, we deal with hundreds of rent reviews, whether it be open market value or indexed. Where necessary we make representations to arbitrators and independent experts on behalf of our operator clients.
Business rates are a big issue for Telecoms operators. The tension between an industry barely 30 years old and a tax system dating back centuries is a constant threat. We have case managed most of the important test cases in recent years, provided expert witnesses and been successful in all of them.
We run comprehensive databases for client’s rents and business rates, which ensure both payments, reviews and renewals are all made in a timely fashion. We run a helpdesk to help resolve landlord queries.
Rent and rate payments are made on time every time in respect of some 30,000 base stations, which is one of the largest portfolios in the UK.
We have a thorough understanding of the telecommunications code, its interaction with landlord and tenant rights and the need to use it sparingly. We have negotiated rights with Code Powers in the background and have provided expert witnesses where disputes have orison.
We undertake portfolio appraisals relating to the assets and liabilities of leasehold sites, as well as advising on the value of freeholds for potential disposal.
We advise on the packaging of sites for disposal, bringing them to the market negotiating with interested parties and completing asset realisations.