Cold Store, Food Manufacture (Non Domestic Valuation practice notes)

Part of: Non Domestic Valuation practice notes (NI Reval2023)

These Practice Notes were developed for the purpose of revaluing non domestic property in Northern Ireland as part of Reval2023. They were produced primarily as guidance for LPS Valuers to ensure, amongst other things, consistency of approach and practice in rating valuations.


The scope of this Practice Note is solely to ensure a consistent valuation approach for this property Class/Sub Class/Type for Non-Domestic Revaluation 2023 and subsequent entry in the new Valuation List which becomes effective on 1 April 2023.

The basis of valuation for new entries in the Valuation List, and Rating Revision cases after 1 April 2023, is Schedule 12 (2)(1) of the Rates (NI) Order 1977.


This Practice Note refers to property classified as:

Class: Warehouses, Stores, Workshops, (Non-Ind) Garages, Manufactories
Sub Class: Cold Store
Type: Conversion, Purpose Built

This Practice Note applies to both standalone cold stores and cold stores which are part of larger hereditaments within industrial and warehouse classifications.  Appendix 1 gives an outline of how cold store development has evolved over the years. 

Legislative Background

Schedule 12 Part 1 Paragraph 1 of the Rates (NI) Order 1977 applies.

“Subject to the provisions of this schedule, for the purpose of this Order the Net Annual Value of a hereditament shall be the rent for which, one year with another, the hereditament might, in its actual state, be reasonably expected to let from year to year, the probable average annual cost of repairs, insurance and other expenses (if any) necessary to maintain the hereditament in its actual state, and all rates, taxes or public charges (if any), being paid by the tenant”.

The rateability of Plant and Machinery is governed by the Valuation for Rating (Plant and Machinery) Order (Northern Ireland) 2003.

Valuation Approach for 2023

The recommended valuation approach for Reval2023 is the Comparative method of valuation, plus enhancement for the cold store, to reflect the additional fit out.  The base pricing is in line with the levels of value appropriate for comparable bulk classes in the vicinity.

The enhancements to be applied depend on the type of facility to be valued.

Cold Stores are designed for temperatures down to -30oC.
Chill Rooms are of a lesser specification, insulated to a level that they can only be operated as a chill, usually in a temperature range of 0oC to +5 oC.
Blast Freezers operate at temperatures of around -40oC and insulation in excess of the normal cold store requirements is needed.

Rent and Lease Questionnaire

For this class of property Rent and Lease Questionnaires (RALQs) were not issued.


For advice on any aspect of this Practice Note contact LPS on 0300 200 7801.

Appendix 1

Cold store types/Categories

Construction methods and specification of cold stores has evolved over the years and the following categories as recognised by VOA, SAA and LPS have been created. For completeness all eight categories are detailed however in Northern Ireland the vast majority will fall into categories four to eight.

It should be appreciated that older stores may have been subject to upgrading such as the enclosure of loading bays, improved door closure systems, construction of racking systems, replacement of insulation and the opening out of former multi-chambers to give larger more flexible storage capacity.

Category 1

Normally constructed pre 1970 with chamber height of 6.00 to 7.00 m with cork insulation panels on timber frame in small sheets with many joints. External loading platforms. Older brick cold stores should be treated initially as meeting this specification.

Category 2

Constructed from the late 1960s through to the mid 1970s and designed for bulk storage without racking systems but may now have racking systems installed. Generally larger chambers for long term storage of single products. Chamber height generally under 10.00 m. Open fronted loading bays. Minimal door provision. Often exposed structural steel roof members. Insulation panels on timber frames; early examples have cork insulation but polystyrene more common post 1972/73. Insulation panel size gradually increasing with correspondingly fewer joints.

Category 3

Generally erected late 1970s to early 1980s with enclosed loading bays (either internal or external to chambers) more common. Chamber heights variable, but usually from 9.30 to 10.30 m. Large insulation panels using slab polystyrene. Increased number of chamber access doors to allow improved throughput of goods. Generally designed for use with racked storage systems.

Category 4

Constructed from mid 1980s. Enclosed loading bays either internal or external to chambers with urethane or polystyrene large panel insulation. Rapid closing doors with increased number of ports and lorry docking facilities. Chambers designed to accommodate static or mobile racking systems. Chamber heights variable but usually of 10.30 m or more and designed to suit purpose built racking.

Category 5

Constructed generally from about 1990. Specification as for Category 4 but of greater chamber height – usually to 12.30 m or more.

Category 6

Constructed from mid 1990s to early 2000. Specification as for Category 4 but of greater chamber height – usually to 12.30 m or more.

Category 7

Constructed from 2000 to 2005. Specification as for Category 4 but of greater chamber height – usually to 12.30 m or more.

Category 8

Constructed from 2005. Specification as for Category 4 but of greater chamber height – usually to 15 m or more.

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