One of the most confusing things about the term commercial architecture is just how broad it is. It covers a huge array of buildings, from small offices and shops to huge theatres. However, what most people don’t know is there are many different classes. Each class represents specific types of property so it is a good idea to look closely at them.
Classes of use
A1 – most types of shops as well as things like post offices, travel agents, and retail warehouses
A2 – financial services such as banks and other professional services like estate agents
A3 – restaurants and cafes selling food and drink for consumption on the premises
A4 – drinking establishments, excluding nightclubs, but including pubs and bars
A5 – takeaways supplying hot food for consumption off the premises
B1 – this class is for businesses that can be in residential areas without causing harm. It has three specific parts:
- B1(a) – offices for everything except operations associated with A2
- B1(b) – research and development
- B1(c) – industrial
B2 – this is general industrial for anything that does not fall under class B1 but it excludes dangerous processes like landfill and chemical treatment
B8 – any kind of storage or distribution
C1 – hotels and guest houses
C2 – any institutions with a residential element, including care homes and hospitals as well as boarding schools
C2A – this is residential institutions with secure elements, including prisons and detention centres
D1 – this is a very broad category that includes all kinds of institutions that don’t have a residential element. For example it includes clinics, schools, and museums.
D2 – leisure and assembly spaces, including gyms, cinemas, and swimming baths
There is plenty of legislation that prevents a number of buildings from falling into one of the above classes. As a result they are excluded and have the sui generis classification. Examples including casinos, fuel stations, nightclubs, theatres, and car showrooms.
Help with commercial architecture
At Coffey Architects we have experience with various different types of commercial building. As a result we have had the pleasure to work with properties in different classes. If you are planning a project, we suggest you get a good idea of each class so you know which your building will fall into.
If you have any questions about commercial architecture, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help and also love sharing our experience.