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Valuation & Appraisal

Commercial & Industrial

Expertise is a function of education and training. We require that our valuation personnel acquire a far greater breadth and depth of real estate knowledge than is afforded by the traditional appraisal programs. We hire commerce graduates ( B+ average) and put them through the University of British Columbia's demanding four year Diploma in Urban Land Economics course and their six year Bachelor of Business in Real Estate degree, in addition to our own in-house training program. Senior staff participate in our Professional Development Program and are required to specialise in a particular sector of real estate so that we can offer clients depth as well as breadth.

We operate from a single base, Halifax, because it is more effective than running satellite offices. It has enabled us to assemble a team of real estate professionals with great depth and breadth of expertise: who because they are located in the same office, cross pollinate ideas. For example a client wishing to value a property for disposal purposes will also benefit from input from our Property Tax Division to reduce the assessment and thus facilitate the sale.

We are one of the very few firms undertaking valuation and appraisal work in Atlantic Canada that has a Brokerage Division. This gives us a window on the market which cannot be replicated by raking through the dying embers of past sales. This day to day contact is the only reliable method of measuring demand ... and the latter is critical during the hiatus that has existed since 1989. In addition our Compuval® system gives us access to over 200,000 sales extending back to the 1960s, rental information and property records ... a pool of real estate data that is unmatched ... even by Canada Revenue Agency.


Heavy Industrial

Our team leader on this project confessed afterwards to being a little taken aback when he first glimpsed his assignment: two of the world's most modern pulp mills totalling over 2 million ft. ... perhaps we should have budgeted more than one assistant! No matter. The first is always the worst. Our valuation team has tackled several pulp mills since then: in fact we can claim a proud history of valuing an extensive range of heavy industrial property: heavy water plants, smelters, aerospace facilities, shipyards, fertiliser plants, container piers, tank farms, marine terminals, grain elevators, carpet mills, molasses processing, steel fabrication ... We like a challenge.


Light Industrial

Our consultants in coveralls are equally at home donning their work boots and hardhats in Saint John or St. John's, Toronto or Trepassy. They understand the difference between job shops and machine paced assembly lines, batch flows and continuous flows ... and they ask questions. How does the present building design facilitate or impede production? Does the site configuration assist or constrain materials handling and truck loading? Is there a pool of skilled labour available locally? If not, who bears the cost of training and education; the Province or the employer? Where are the markets for the products? How do they get there? How are changes in technology impacting on the production process?


Food Processing

Food processing plants are located near their source of supply rather than their market. Most fish plants have their own wharves, often their own fishing fleet and guaranteed access to a fish quota. Some exist to provide employment, not profit. It is therefore necessary to have an understanding of the politics governing the particular industry. This is critical in the Atlantic Region because the population base will only support a very limited number of meat processing plants for example ... These external factors usually have a greater impact on value than design features of the plant such as the capacity of its killing floor. Fruit and vegetables processed by plants in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley are sold countrywide ... so the value of the real estate is more a function of growing conditions in competing agricultural regions of Canada, than the internal features of the plant. Dairy production, on the other hand is sold regionally ... often provincially. However supply management is the order of the day and milk quotas are government controlled.



The value of warehouse or similar service orientated real estate is usually dictated by the condition of the local real estate market, rather than the economic viability of the specific occupier ... unless the building is so large or otherwise specialised as to command no other tenant.

This sector encompasses a wide range of service facilities in addition to warehousing: automotive dealerships, fast food outlets, gasoline service stations, free standing retail, corner stores, garages and so on.



Hotels and Motels

No other type of real estate is so intimately tied to the fortunes of the occupier ... and in Atlantic Canada none is so much at the mercy of government policy. Tourism is important to the region and periodic government subsidies through ACOA (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) and other agencies have so expanded supply that they have on occasion, devastated hotel values. Projecting future cash flow based on past experience can be a misleading exercise unless one is tuned to the ebb and flow of government policy. Nonetheless a thorough understanding of the hospitality industry is a pre-requisite and our Professional Development Program for senior valuation staff includes courses on hotel valuation held at universities such as Cornell.


Investment Property

Apartment buildings, shopping centres, office buildings: depending on their location and size they may sell locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. We are in touch with these markets on a day to day basis. We know which markets are hot ... and which are not. Who is buying and who is selling, and why. Of course our valuation team also has the analytical tools and raw data: we have employed computers since 1978 and our Compuval® valuation system and databases provide us with a combination of analytical firepower unmatched in the Atlantic Region. However at the end of the day, current market knowledge is key.


Special Purpose Properties

Our valuation team has been involved in numerous special purpose assignments, most of them in the Atlantic Region or Ontario but also in other parts of Canada. This type of project is characterised by its variety and the concomitant research, knowledge, analytical and judgmental skills that have to be employed. The assignments have included the following:

  • Aircraft hangers
  • Airports
  • Flight Base Operations
  • Government Buildings
  • Indian Land Claims
  • Marine Slips
  • Military Bases
  • Nunneries
  • Nursing Homes
  • Ocean Terminals
  • Post Offices
  • Right of Way Corridors
  • Subdivisions