What actually is commercial architecture?

Commercial architectureOn the surface it may seem very simple to define what commercial architecture is. At the core it is any building that has an involvement in commerce. However, there are some problems with that. For example, does a train station or airport qualify? How about a school or a hospital? It can be horribly confusing. This is worse when you look at some of the different definitions.


One of the most common definitions of commercial properties is from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. They say it is any type of real estate with a business use. As a result it covers principal sectors like retail, office, leisure, and industrial. Buildings can also be for public and private services, including schools, hospitals, government buildings, and telecoms.


The Office of National Statistics has a different outlook. They see a difference between private commercial and private industrial. The first includes entertainment, shops, health, schools, and more. However, factories, warehouses, and industries like oil and steel are industrial.

Uniclass 2015

There is also a third classification with the voluntary Uniclass 2015. This is a system for the construction industry. Its idea on what constitutes a commercial entity includes department stores, markets, financial and services buildings, shops, supermarkets, mixed use buildings, and more.

The US

In the US they look at the amount of floor space that is dedicated to business. The rule is that at least 50% of the space must be for commerce. So, a tower block with shops on the ground floor and homes on the other floors would not be commercial.

Talk to experts about commercial architecture

Coffey Architects is a team that clients can rely on to create any kind of commercial property. You can see how good we are by taking a look at the diverse array of projects in our portfolio. They include offices, shops, galleries, and educational buildings. Whatever you have in mind, we would love to help you envision it.

So, speak to us today about commercial architecture, regardless of what classification system you are using. We can give you lots of useful advice and work with you to overcome any challenges you may have.