Types of Commercial Property

types of commercial properties

What are the different types of commercial property?

A commercial property or building an be categorised as follows:

  • Offices

  • Retail – retail stores, shopping centres, shops

  • Industrial – warehouses, factories

  • Leisure – hotels, pubs, restaurants, cafes, sport facilities

  • Healthcare – medical centres, hospitals, nursing homes

Every commercial property (non-domestic properties) in the UK has been assigned a ‘Use Class” of its own. It is a legal framework which determines the usability of the property for a commercial or business purpose. This framework was first introduced in Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, which was amended in 2020 and came into effect on 1 September 2020.

Use Classes

Under the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, each commercial building has its own “Use Class” and the occupant must carry out business in line with the Use Class, however a business occupant can always apply for the change of use with the local Council.

From September 2020, the Use Classes are categorised between Class B to Class F. Class A has been revoked but some of its sub-categories like A4 (pubs & drink establishment) and A5 (hot food takeaways) has been retained but falls under “Sui-Generis” which means “class of its own”.

Class B: General industrial and storage

Class C: Hotels, boarding and guest houses

 Class E: Shops, restaurants, cafes, gyms, and offices

Class F: Education, recreation, and local community related properties

Sui Generis: Those buildings which could not be assigned a use class under class B to class F, they have been classified as Sui Generis.  For example, hot food takeaways (previously Class A5), public house, bars and drinking establishments (previously A4).

Depending on the specifics of any proposed change of use, it may require an application for planning permission or prior approval.


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