Sports Club (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 / Subclass / Type for Non Domestic Revaluation 2023 and subsequent entry in the new Valuation List which becomes effective on 1st April 2023.

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


This Practice Note refers to property classified as:

Class:                     Sport and Recreational
Sub Class:             Sports Club
Type:                      Bowling Club/ Handball Club/ Tennis Club

Bowling Clubs

Indoor Bowling is a popular sport in Northern Ireland although the number of dedicated facilities is very limited – Shaw’s Bridge and Jim Baker Stadium in Ballymoney.  Quite often bowling clubs use Church and other Community halls (which will be valued using the Hall Scheme).  

A typical modern indoor stadium will normally comprise a single storey building of brick or profile metal sheeting with part brick finish, with flat felt roof or metal sheeted roof.  Eaves height should range up to 4.0 m and it must be served with good heating and lighting.  There will usually be catering, bar and changing facilities in addition to the playing area.

Indoor bowling is played on a heavy duty carpet which is laid on a level concrete floor.  Alternatively, the carpet may be laid on a good quality timber floor, but this type of surface requires re-levelling periodically.  Rinks are set out at a minimum width of 5.0 m, the end rinks being at least 0.45 m from the side edge of the playing area.  To facilitate the management of a stadium, the optimum number of rinks is considered to be eight.

The majority of outdoor bowling greens are seeded or turfed.

The standard dimensions for a 6-rink green has dimensions of 38.4 m x 38.4 m, plus ditch, bank and surrounding path.  The ditch should be between 0.20 m and 0.38 m wide and between 0.05 m and 0.20 m deep. The bank should be not less than 0.23 m above the level of the green and at an angle of not less than 35o from the perpendicular.

Automatic watering is considered standard.

Tennis Club

While some tennis clubs in Northern Ireland have good court and clubhouse facilities, generally most operate in modest circumstances. 

The standard dimensions for the playing area of a doubles court are 23.77 m x 10.97 m. The standard employed for this report assumes a court area of circa 34.75 m x 17.07 m to include reasonable back and side runs.

Legislative Background

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

“Subject to the provisions 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 costs 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”.

Article 31 deals with Sport and Recreation Relief for certain hereditaments used for prescribed recreation.  Presently S&R relief is 80% and it applies to a hereditament:

which, or any part of which, is used solely for the purposes of a prescribed recreation (Bowling, Handball and Tennis are all prescribed recreations), and which is occupied for the purposes of a club, society or other organisation that is not established or conducted for profit, and

(ii)     does not employ any person to engage in any recreation for reward except for the instruction of other persons who are themselves engaging or preparing to engage in it otherwise than for reward; and

(c)     which is not distinguished in the Valuation List as exempt from rates as being a hereditament of a description mentioned in Article 41(2)(e) or (f) (recreational charities).

Bowling, Handball and Tennis are amateur sports in Northern Ireland and where clubs satisfy the above legislation S&R distinguishment is granted.

Valuation Approach for 2023

The hybrid method of valuation is to be retained as the approach for this type of hereditament.

The Contractor’s method will be used to value to the buildings and facilities.

The overall aim of the Contractor’s basis is to arrive at the effective capital value (ECV) that is then converted into annual rent. The primary method of arriving at ECV is to consider replacement building costs suitably adjusted.

Source: RICS guidance note: The Contractor’s Basis of Valuation for Rating Purposes 2nd edition August 2017, from the Joint Professional Institutions' Rating Valuation Forum which is made up of representatives of the RICS, the IRRV, the RSA, the SAA, LPS and the VOA.

The method is employed in the case of properties that are not normally let out, which by their nature do not lend themselves to valuation by comparison with other classes where rental evidence does exist, and which are not of the type where a valuation solely by reference to the accounts of the undertaking would be appropriate.

The recommended approach to valuation comprises five stages.

Stage 1: Estimated Replacement Cost (ERC)

Identify the extent of the rateable hereditament, then estimate the replacement cost of the buildings, site works, all rateable structures, and rateable plant and machinery within the property on an undeveloped site.

In order to achieve consistency, a unit cost approach using Cost Guides is the primary method adopted.  This approach will include the prevailing costs in the identified location, the effect of any contract size, and any associated professional fees.  VAT is excluded, as are any grants or donations.

There may be cases where it would be appropriate to cost a modern, simpler or smaller substitute. The substitute would be of a design and specification that enables the use of the actual property to be carried out in a fully satisfactory manner.

Stage 2: Adjusted Replacement Cost (ARC)

The ERC should be adjusted to take account of the difference between the property, in its actual state, and the replacement property costed at Stage 1.

Stage 2 adjustments can be viewed from the perspective of an owner-occupier, as opposed to Stages 1 and 3 which are concerned with capital sums.

Allowances made at this stage are intended to reflect the disadvantages of a particular building (or an item of plant and machinery within it). These allowances are generally termed obsolescence.

It should not be automatically assumed that because a property is old it merits an allowance. In certain circumstances, age may be a positive asset or have little effect, for example prestige buildings such as town halls, art galleries or universities. Age in itself is not a disability but rather what flows from age.

Where a modern substitute has been costed at stage 1, allowances at Stage 2 should be restricted to the disadvantages of occupying the actual buildings in comparison with occupying the costed substitute.

The deficiencies that may be taken into account at Stage 2 can be grouped under the heading of ‘obsolescence’ and they are normally subdivided into the following types:

Physical obsolescence which relates to wear and tear of the building due to its age. Although age itself is not a justification for an allowance the tenant will reflect the prospect of increased maintenance and running costs in his rental bid.

Functional obsolescence may occur when the functional capability of the property is not comparable to new building or design standards in the sector.  Functional obsolescence may take the form of the building exceeding the required capacity or quality compared to current market standards, or conversely being less than adequate for the intended purpose.

Technological obsolescence is an extension of functional obsolescence where current technology has changed so radically that the actual plant and machinery to be valued or the building housing such equipment has become redundant. 

For Reval2023, adjustments will apply for Age Obsolescence appropriate to the property class.

Stage 3: Value of Land

The consideration of the land element comprises two stages. The first is to establish the capital value of the site of the hereditament. The second is to make such adjustments as may be appropriate to those parts of hereditament site that have been developed with buildings or other rateable structures on it (i.e. encumbered by buildings and to which the average obsolescence allowance that was adopted to the structures at Stage 2 will normally be applied).

The capital value adopted for the land at the first stage, and before adjustment as appropriate at the second stage for the existence of rateable structures, should reflect all the advantages and disadvantages of the site and its location and assume the following:

  • The site is cleared of all buildings.
  • All services existing at AVD are available for connection.
  • There is planning permission for the subject buildings and their existing use.
  • No development potential exists over and above that required for the existing buildings or rateable structures on the land.

The assessed capital land value element will be added to form part of the total Effective Capital Value (ECV) to which the appropriate decapitalisation rate should be applied to calculate the Net Annual Value (NAV). [See Stage 4 for details on decapitalisation].

It may be appropriate to consider alternative sites in an area of high land value where the occupier of the property derives no extra benefit therefrom, however, comparisons should be made with sites of a comparable size, in the same mode or category of use. 

For certain property types there may be a reasonable amount of reliable market evidence for site rents which can be used.  For these property types the value of the land element may therefore be assessed by applying a rental rate per unit of assessment (acres/hectares) derived from analysis of such reliable rental information.  Where this method is employed, the decapitalisation rate is not applied to the assessed land rental element, the land rental element instead being added to the decapitalised ECV to form part of the Total NAV for the hereditament.

Stage 4: Apply the appropriate decapitalisation rate to the total ECV.

Decapitalising the sum of Stages 2 and 3 by the appropriate rate converts the ECV to an annual equivalent. The decapitalisation rates are prescribed by legislation, this does not allow any degree of valuation judgement.

Lower rate: 2.27% - in the case of a healthcare, educational or church hereditament.

Standard rate: 3.4% - for all other types.

Stage 5: Review. Also known as the ‘stand back and look’ stage.

This stage is used to consider if any further adjustments are appropriate. Any such adjustments must be made for specific reasons and cannot be used to circumvent the decap rate. Care should be taken to ensure they do not duplicate allowances already made at Stage 2.

Adjustments made at this final stage are to reflect factors that affect the value of the property as a whole, e.g. poor access, cramped site conditions, inadequate layout. This stage provides an opportunity to consider whether a pioneering allowance or allowance to reflect the economic state of the industry is appropriate.

The value arrived at in Stage 5 is rounded to produce the NAV.

For full details see the following documents:

RICS guidance note: The Contractor’s Basis of Valuation for Rating Purposes 2nd edition August 2017.

LPS Code of Measuring Practice  
LPS NI Reval2023 Rating Cost Guide Practice Note
LPS NI Reval2023 Rating Cost Guide Spreadsheet
LPS Contractor’s Basis of Valuation

The value of the land element of the sports ground will be arrived at by applying a rate per acre derived from rental information from sports grounds.

Rent and lease questionnaire

For this class of property Rent and Lease Questionnaires (RALQs) were issued. 


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

Related articles

Back to top