The what, where and why of wayleaves

How are you reading this blog today? Is it from your laptop in the office (be that work or home) or are you on your smart phone device, whilst on the move?

That you are reading it at all demonstrates a level of digital connectivity we could only dream of a decade ago, yet when it falters the repercussions can be wide.

One of the key factors in ensuring good connectivity is a legal agreement which permits broadband providers to access property to install and maintain their hardware, which enables them to provide a service. These little-discussed legal documents are called wayleaves.

Amidst the complexities of building, fitting out and occupying property, the concept of wayleaves may at first seem a minor detail. Yet, as the UK continues to embrace the digital era, the significance of these legal agreements has grown exponentially. In this blog, Darren Zitren, our head of infrastructure, delves into the small matter of wayleaves and why they play such a big role in facilitating the nation’s digital infrastructure.

Understanding wayleaves

At the core of every wayleave agreement lies a straightforward principle: granting a service provider, such as a telecommunications company or utility provider, the right to access, install, maintain, or repair equipment on land or property. This requirement can be initiated by a developer at the point of build design or by a new occupier struggling to get a good connection, and whilst the idea may sound simple, the process of acquiring the necessary permissions isn’t always straight forward.

The rising demand for digital connectivity

According to a recent Statista report, the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices worldwide is expected to reach 29 billion by 2030, highlighting the rapid growth and adoption of connected technologies.

As the IoT grows, so does our reliance on a good connection and for many industries, think care homes, Build-to-Rent, logistics and co-working offices, a solid digital infrastructure is at least as important as bricks and mortar, making wayleaves essential for property owners, investors, and developers alike.

The value of a wayleave

If the requirement of a good connection is taken as a given for any commercial or residential property to function in today’s society, then it follows that the value of a building that doesn’t have a good connection will be impacted, particularly if the surrounding buildings do.

Navigating the wayleave process

You can’t have a connected building without a wayleave. Yet despite their obvious benefits, these agreements can be a complex and time-consuming process. Negotiations between landowners and service providers require a thorough understanding of the legal framework, careful assessment of the proposed works, and an acute awareness of the potential impact on the property.

It’s a team thing

Responsibility for ensuring wayleaves are in place can sit in many different roles depending on the size and structure of a company – from the head of IT through to finance director and estate manager. However, our view at Cluttons is that wherever the ultimate responsibility lies, the topic should be discussed around the board table with all the multiple stakeholders included and with one eye on the future … and this is where a property consultancy with decades of experience can add value.

At Cluttons we have successfully agreed thousands of wayleaves in recent years, and are well-equipped to guide clients through the intricacies ensuring a seamless and beneficial experience for all parties involved, ultimately saving you time and money. Furthermore, our team of expert wayleave surveyors can support our clients in managing the relationship with the landlord and/or fibre provider, including agreeing the fibre route and overseeing the build process.

Contact

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Darren Zitren

Partner, head of network estate management

T +44 (0) 20 7647 7041
Daren Zitren

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