Need Commercial Property in London? Make Sure You Know the Use Classes

July 2, 2012 | Author: | Posted in Real Estate

If you’re looking for commercial property in London, it’s natural that you’ll want to find a building that suits your business’s needs. Nobody would try to run a bank from a burger stand – or a hair salon from a warehouse. Thankfully, it’s easy to find the type of property you need because all commercial property in London – indeed all commercial property throughout the UK – is given a classification that dictates exactly what business types can and can’t operate from it.
Helping business owners find suitable properties isn’t the only reason that property classes exist. Local authorities can gain some leverage over the types of businesses that operate in an area by ensuring that certain property categories do not exist in certain areas. For example, they can ensure that commercial property in London – in residential areas – does not negatively affect the lives of the residents. By reducing the number of noisy factories or pubs that operate in the area, for example. This way, they can make sure that commercial property, in terms of usage, reflects their plans for certain areas.
When you begin your search for property in London, it pays to know which property classes suit your company. After all, it is important that you – as a business owner – get hold of commercial property in an area that is ideal for your needs, and in many cases this will reflect the desires of the authority that puts these classes in place.
There follows a quick rundown of the classes assigned to commercial property in London and the rest of the UK:
A1 – Shops
This classification includes post offices, hairdressing salons, funeral parlours, domestic appliance repair shops and most other forms of retail businesses that do not sell hot food.
A2 – Financial and Professional Services
You should find commercial property in London in this category if you plan to open a building society, estate agents, betting office or any other service that can be operated appropriately in a shopping area. The class does not apply to health and medical services.
A3 – Food and Drink
Any business in this class should sell hot food for consumption off the premises, or food and drink that is eaten on the premises. So you should look for commercial property in London that has been designated ‘A3’ if you plan to open a restaurant, bar, cafe or bakery, for example.
B1 – Business
Look for B1 properties if you plan to use the building as an office, or for industrial processes that do not cause unpleasant noise, smells or other emissions.
B2 – General Industrial
For any industrial use that doesn’t fall under B1, or under any of the special classes (B3 to B7) mentioned below.
B3 to B7 – Special Industrial Groups A to E
Because of the potentially dangerous, noisy or otherwise unpleasant procedures carried out at industrial properties, there are five special categories applied to buildings in which these procedures can be carried out (in order to ensure that these business practices do not negatively affect local residents).
B8 – Storage or Distribution
This class applies to properties that are used for storage (such as a warehouse) or distribution, but are not used for the manufacture of goods.
C1 – Hotels and Hostels
C2 – Residential Institutions
The first of these categories applies to boarding houses, guest houses and hotels. The distinction between this and C2 is that no ‘care’ is provided at C1 properties (C2 is used for hospitals, nursing homes, and residential schools, colleges and other residential learning institutions).
The last two classes, D1 and D2, are used for all non-residential institutions (D1) and leisure institutions (D2) such as cinemas, casinos, concert halls and swimming baths.
Familiarise yourself with these property classes and your search for commercial property in London should begin on the right foot.

All commercial property in London – and across the rest of the UK – is assigned a ‘class’ that determines what the building can and can’t be used for. An office rental in London, for example, would be classed as a B1, or business property.


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