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A Guide to Office Building Classifications; Class A, Class B, Class C

Posted By squarefeet On July 6, 2008 @ 12:21 pm In Leasing Tips,Tools | 23 Comments

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When considering office space, tenants will find that office buildings are generally classified as being either a Class A, Class B, or a Class C building. The difference between each of these classifications varies by market and class B and C buildings are generally classified relative to Class A buildings. Building classifications are used to differentiate buildings and help the reporting of market data in a manner that differentiates between building types. That said, there is no definitive formula for classifying a building, but in the general characteristics of each are as follows:

  • Class A. These buildings represent the highest quality buildings in their market. They are generally the best looking buildings with the best construction, and possess high quality building infrastructure. Class A buildings also are well-located, have good access, and are professionally managed. As a result of this, they attract the highest quality tenants and also command the highest rents.
  • Class B. This is the next notch down. Class B buildings are generally a little older, but still have good quality management and tenants. Often times, value-added investors target these buildings as investments since well-located Class B buildings can be returned to their Class A glory through renovation such as facade and common area improvements. Class B buildings should generally not be functionally obsolete and should be well maintained.
  • Class C. The lowest classification of office building and space is Class C. These are older buildings (usually more than 20), and are located in less desirable areas and are in need of extensive renovation. Architecturally, these buildings are the least desirable and building infrastructure and technology is out-dated. As a result, Class C buildings have the lowest rental rates, take the longest time to lease, and are often targeted as re-development opportunities.

The above is just a general guideline of building classifications. No formal international standard exists for classifying a building, but one of the most important things to consider about building classifications is that buildings should be viewed in context and relative to other buildings within the sub-market; a Class A building in one market may not be a Class A building in another.

There is no international standard for classifying office buildings. In fact, BOMA is generally against the publication of a classification rating for individual properties. Were there a more scientific method for classifying buildings though, some of the building characteristics which could be used to compare and rank buildings would be as follows:

  • HVAC Capacity
  • Elevator quantity and speed
  • Backup Power
  • Security and life safety infrastructure
  • Ceiling heights
  • Floor load capacity
  • Location
  • Access (freeway, public transportation)
  • Parking
  • Construction, Common Area Improvements
  • Nearby and/or on-site amenities (dry cleaning, restaurants, ATM, etc.)

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23 Comments (Open | Close)

23 Comments To "A Guide to Office Building Classifications; Class A, Class B, Class C"

#1 Comment By KEV. On July 29, 2008 @ 10:14 am


Bohkon Bohkon!

this is a great posting but you forgot (3) important diffrentiators 1.) Siesmic issues 2.) Electrical / data capacity 3.) ADA complience. These alone are huge factors between A,B,& C product!

#2 Pingback By Doug Cornelius .com · Office Building Classifications On March 1, 2009 @ 3:14 pm


[...] Square Feet started this with his (or her) Guide to Office Building Classifications. [...]

#3 Comment By Matt Barber On March 22, 2009 @ 2:19 pm


I prefer income potential as the most important criteria for defining office class. I can’t put my finger on the definition, but it’s something to the effect of: Class A space commands the highest rent in any given sub-market, even when compared to new construction.

Most of the other critieria mentioned above deals with construction quality, which usually corresponds to rent levels, but let’s not confuse a Class A (structural steel columns, etc.), B (reinforced concrete), C (masonry bearing walls), or D (wood/steel framing) CONSTRUCTION TYPE with office type.

#4 Pingback By A Guide to Office Building Classifications; Class A, Class B, Class C | Property Jump On May 14, 2009 @ 5:10 am


[...] This is a great article on the differences between Class A, B and C office space.   New Haven county landlords and brokers seem to toss these terms around very loosely.   Everyone seems to have a different idea on the difference between the classifications.  Check out the full article from Square Feet HERE. [...]

#5 Comment By Philippine Real Estate On October 6, 2009 @ 11:10 pm


The office building classification really has its relevant standards. Thanks for providing a list of what are the bases on ranking and classifying office buildings. This is a very helpful article especially for real estate investors.

#6 Comment By patrick On October 29, 2009 @ 2:05 pm


if I have a treatment which I can perform on existing airsided HVAC installation, which reduces Amp draw (energyconsumption) and extend the life of the coil by 4 times, what place would be best to start..New York, London? (I have very good sales people) suggestions or other advice?

#7 Comment By las vegas offices On December 24, 2009 @ 12:29 am


this was actually a cool article cus i just started working at an office broker in las vegas and now this whole Class A, Class B, C stuff makes sense

#8 Pingback By A Guide to Office Building Classifications; Class A, Class B, Class C | Square Feet Commercial Real Estate Blog « World Office Forum On February 21, 2010 @ 10:36 am


[...] Febrero 21, 2010 · Dejar un comentario A Guide to Office Building Classifications; Class A, Class B, Class C | Square Feet Commercial Real … [...]

#9 Comment By Prabhmeet Singh On August 16, 2010 @ 2:18 am


Resourceful and informative article
As all the above points are essential to classify the development in A, B, or C class, it is important to note the brand value attached through the Developer. A reputed commercial real estate developer would make it possible to attract all the mentioned points, to make it an “A Class” development.

#10 Pingback By Urban Omnibus » STACKD On September 28, 2010 @ 5:35 pm


[...] I was curious who else was in our building. Being able to listen to the conversations in a class C building such as 150 W 28th Street would reveal much that is unexpected: a healing center that [...]

#11 Comment By Jennifer Yu On February 1, 2011 @ 8:55 am


Can class B office Building lease to a doctor office?
Thanks.

#12 Pingback By STACKD « WorldTransformsItself On April 7, 2011 @ 11:49 am


[...] I was curious who else was in our building. Being able to listen to the conversations in a class Cbuilding such as 150 W 28th Street would reveal much that is unexpected: a healing center that [...]

#13 Comment By Jim Meredith On April 9, 2011 @ 4:10 pm


My concern is that “Class A office space” is defined by the characteristics of investment property and not by the experiences of the people and organizations who work in these buildings. My commentary here [7] and here [8] as well as other places.

#14 Pingback By Manhattan office buildings by class On August 9, 2011 @ 11:56 pm


[...] Class A buildings are more often than not those which are vintage buildings and have the position to demand above average rents if companies want to take their place on the tenancy roster. [...]

#15 Comment By Burt Parker On October 16, 2011 @ 7:04 pm


Thank you for providing this simple yet effective definition. As I am new to the commercial industry and have always wondered what the differences are?

#16 Comment By Chris Palmer On October 24, 2011 @ 2:32 pm


In your opinion, is construction quality or location more important to the classification?

#17 Comment By David On January 20, 2012 @ 8:33 am


While construction quality is a major factor, it is subjective to the purpose of the building/facility. Qualification for class is primarily the suitability and quality of the overall facility to the application and local market comps. For instance, if this is typed as Class A office; is it newly-built flex space with adaquate parking and highway access but not convenient to the local amenities that employees need such as restaurants, etc.? Would it be a hardship to lease there if all your employees had to be out of the office longer than an older space with less modern qualities but closer to stores and services? Apples and oranges?

#18 Comment By shahriar On March 10, 2012 @ 2:24 am


hey guys
i need at least one example{photo} for each classification…
if you have plese send a photo to my E-mail….
thanks….

#19 Comment By REIT Joan On April 26, 2012 @ 8:15 am


General or not, you office classification guidelines were very helpful. I appreciate you reiterating that B, C, and D classifications office properties relate directly to the Class A standard for a particular market.

#20 Comment By Skinner Development On May 15, 2012 @ 12:03 pm


Great list, I know classifications and be tricky depending on what state you’re in.

#21 Pingback By A Guide to Office Building Classifications; Class A, Class B, Class C | CBC Benchmark – Daytona Beach On June 1, 2012 @ 7:18 am


[...] possess high quality building infrastructure. Class A buildings also are well-located, have good access, and are professionally managed. As a result of this, they attract the highest quality tenants and [...]

#22 Comment By LeaseMatrix On July 13, 2012 @ 7:22 am


Great post. Check out LeaseMatrix when you have a moment. It is a new, web-based [9] tool which might be useful for you. It creates elegant lease analysis and comparison reports in under 5 minutes and includes the ability to classify the grade of each property.

#23 Comment By Gerard On October 1, 2013 @ 8:53 pm


what about new retail space from the ground up how does that classify?

Thanks


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URL to article: http://www.squarefeetblog.com/commercial-real-estate-blog/2008/07/06/a-guide-to-office-building-classifications-class-a-class-b-class-c/

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[9] : http://www.lease-analysis.com/