When I joined the charity and social business department in September as part of the property sub-team, I assumed I’d be spending all day sat at my desk with tasks such as drafting leases and reviewing licences for our charity clients. While these are tasks I do quite often, it turns out that the job involves so much more than just reviewing documents. I have been fortunate enough to accompany my supervisor on some site visits to properties we have been working on.

On one visit we went to see a large building which houses artists’ studios. Our client, an arts charity, is redeveloping the property and we are advising on the potential legal issues that could arise during and as a result of the redevelopment. The charity’s head of operations gave us a tour of the inside and outside of the building which was really helpful as we gained a much better understanding of the property than we had been able to get from the documents. It also allowed us to spot any potential issues that are only possible to see on an actual inspection in person. After the tour we had a productive discussion with the client about what we had discovered and the next steps from both sides.

Another visit involved a trip to a theatre run by one of our clients. The main reason for our visit was because we are advising on the client’s plan to install solar panels on the roof of the theatre. By visiting, we got to see exactly where the panels would be placed and we had a discussion with the client about the legal implications of this. As well as having chance to discuss the solar panels, the visit was also an opportunity for us to have a tour of the theatre which had been newly renovated. My supervisor had advised the client on the renovation works and the tour meant that he could see the completed project as well as providing an excellent opportunity to follow up on any issues that had come up during the renovation.

Both of these visits showed me how useful it is to see a property in person: you gain a much greater understanding of what you are working on as you get a clear and up to date picture of the property and also the chance to spot any potential issues that you would not have done by just looking at the paperwork. However, I found that visits are not just about understanding the property, they are equally important in terms of our relationship with the client. The visits provided an opportunity to meet the client face to face and really get to grips with their vision for the property and how best we can help them achieve it.