A guide to commercial property use classes in the UK
If you’re involved in commercial property in any way, it’s worth understanding the different classifications of a property. Have you seen an office with a use class of B1 or a light industrial unit with a use class of B8 and not really understood why? If so, read on!
Why are there property classifications?
Most UK properties have their use defined by a local authority that has jurisdiction over them. This allows local town and country planners to ensure that their plans for a property or an area can actually happen.
For example, a property with A3 usage can be used for “the sale of food or drink for consumption on the premises or of hot food for consumption off the premises”. The useage system here can help in two ways:
a) The planners for an area can ensure that no A3 type properties (eg public houses) are in the middle of a residential spot to reduce noise complaints and possibly crime rates
b) An occupier looking to buy a property with A3 usage can be comfortable in the knowledge that they have permission to sell food or drink on the premises.
What are the property classifications?
A1 – Shops
Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices, dry cleaners, etc
Pet shops, cats-meat shops, tripe shops, sandwich bars
Showrooms, domestic hire shops, funeral directors
A2 – Financial and Professional Services
Banks, building societies, estate and employment agencies
Professional and financial services, betting offices
A3 – Food and Drink
Restaurants, pubs, snack bars, cafés, wine bars, shops for sale of hot food
A4 – Drinking Establishments
Premises where the primary purpose is the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks on the premises.
A5 – Hot Food Take-away
Premises where the primary purpose is the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises
B1 – Business
Offices, not within A2
Research and development studios, laboratories, high tech
B2 – General Industrial
B8 – Storage and Distribution
Wholesale warehouse, distribution centres, repositories
C1 – Hotels
Hotels, boarding and guest houses
C2 – Residential Institutions
Residential schools and colleges
Hospitals and convalescent/nursing homes
C3 – Dwelling Houses
Dwellings, small businesses at home, communal housing of elderly and handicapped
D1 – Non-residential Institutions
Places of worship, church halls
Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, consulting rooms
Museums, public halls, libraries, art galleries, exhibition halls
Non-residential education and training centres
D2 – Assembly and Leisure
Cinemas, music and concert halls
Dance, sports halls, swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums
Other indoor and outdoor sports and leisure uses, bingo halls, casinos
Where uses do not fall within the main classes, they are classified as sui-generises
If you would like more information, please comment with your question below!