by Alan Draper, Managing Director, Common Ground Estate & Property Management Ltd and Technical Director of EV Solutions Group Limited.

As both the owner of Common Ground Estate & Property Management Ltd and joint owner of EV Solutions Group, I, perhaps, have a unique insight into the way EV infrastructure is being rolled out in communal environments.

With regards retro fitting EV charging infrastructure into existing leasehold developments, I have already written a thought piece published by the Institute of Residential Property Management downloadable here at the IRPM website.

This article, however, examines what is being done on new builds and why a lack of joined up thinking between central government and local councils is creating more problems than it is solving.

The government has certainly gone all-in with the transition to electric vehicles with numerous grants available, the ceasing of production of carbon fuel burning cars from 2035 and a requirement for developers to incorporate EV charging infrastructure into new builds.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of joined up thinking with respect to this and I can cite two examples of new builds managed by Common Ground Estate & Property Management Ltd, the block managing agency I own.

I won’t reveal the who and where but will reveal that Common Ground did try to intervene at the planning level to try to ensure that usable, future-proofed infrastructure was installed. In both cases, this did not happen.

Case 1

A block of 6 flats in a location where the local council is, to its credit, pro-active with regards EV charging infrastructure. The planning requirements stated that at least ONE EV charger had to be installed. We suggested that, rather than install a single charger, the developer go back to planning and request that they be able to run a cable to each of the 6 car parking spaces such that, when a leaseholder has a requirement for an EV charger, they could connect this to the pre-laid cable.  We further asked that the developers solicitor make provision in the leases such that there would be no impediment to a leaseholder applying for a license to install an EV charger at a time of their pleasing.

Sadly, the council wouldn’t allow the change meaning that there is a single, stand-alone charger connected to the communal electricity supply (meaning ALL leaseholder are paying for electricity for any EV users). The moment that there becomes a requirement for TWO or more chargers, the currently installed charger will have to be replaced with EV chargers the that are OCPP compliant which will allow the following

  • We can measure electricity usage and re-charge individual leaseholders.
  • Utilise load balancing, as the communal supply is only rated at 100 AMP’s.

It should still be possible to put in a system that allows all 6 car parking spaces to have EV chargers using they existing communal connection but they will be limited to slow charging (maximum of 7.4KW). I would anticipate that higher power requirements will be the norm on the future as the on-board chargers in cars (that convert AC to DC) are able to handle greater power loads.

Case 2

This one is an argument waiting to happen.

The development was built in two stages, with 28 flats in phase one and a further 6 flats in phase 2.

There were no requirements for EV charging structure in phase 1 but there was a planning requirement to install two chargers into phase 2. Both chargers are actually connected directly to each leaseholder’s supply, so they do pay for their own electricity. Unfortunately, the load on the incoming electricity supply to the building is now at full capacity meaning that, the 4 leaseholders without EV chargers currently will have to request either an upgrade to the incoming supply OR a new supply. This will be costly and how would costs be apportioned? The two leaseholders with EV chargers won’t want to contribute as they already have EV charging. Again, the leases are silent on the issue of EV charging.


The author believes that councils should focus on requiring new build flats to comply with the following:-

  • Install underlying infrastructure rather than individual chargers. The Government recognises this, and grants are available of up to £500 per car parking space to retro fit.
  • Make provision in the leases for the future installation of EV chargers and/or infrastructure making it clear where management responsibilities and costs lie for each of the parties to the leases.

Sadly, I predict that the First Tier Tribunal will begin to fill with cases based around EV charging structure. This will mostly centre around leases and their inability to deal with adding EV charging infrastructure and the subsequent disputes that entail.

There is an opportunity to minimise this risk for new build leasehold developments, but the Government needs to act now and start to join up it’s thinking at the local council level.