In established commercial real estate markets, Office building classifications can be used as a guide by which to compare office buildings to one another.

But one issue with building classifications is that it is not uncommon for owners and brokers to exaggerate their own building’s classification – for marketing purposes – making it difficult for tenants to make objective comparisons without seeing the building or pictures first.

To avoid this pitfall, and allow for more objective comparisons, these classifications can be grouped into 3 primary categories using these guidelines.

Suburban Class A

Typical Class A Suburban Office

Suburban Class B

Typical Class B Suburban Office

Suburban Class C

Typical Class C Suburban Office

Class A

The highest, most desirable classification, Class A Office buildings are well constructed and located, and are professionally maintained and managed. Class A buildings are usually no more than 10 years old and have no deferred maintenance. Class A buildings usually have above average amenities and onsite services when compared to the surrounding marketplace, such as lush landscaping and staffed security personnel. Many Class A buildings in today’s marketplace have some type of LEED certification or Energy Star rating.

Class B

Class B Office buildings which are a usually 10 to 20 years old, have minor deferred maintenance and are usually professionally maintained and managed. Class B Office buildings will have average amenities when compared to the surrounding marketplace. Class B buildings tend to have finishes which are still in good condition, but may be a little out of style, particularly in the common areas, such as in the lobby, elevators, corridors and restrooms.

Class C

Class C Office buildings are usually 20 years or older and tend to have significant deferred maintenance or even obsolescent building systems which may not meet potential (or even current) tenant needs. The building’s condition and amenities are characterized by the existence of below average maintenance, management and upkeep. This could include potholes in the parking lot, aged finishes in the lobby and restrooms, creaky elevators and undependable mechanical systems.

For more on Office Building Classifications, checkout Coy Davidson’s post What Class is Your Office Building?

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5 Responses to Office Building Classifications Guide

  1. Bryan Rush says:

    Thanks for posting. Building classifications are highly subjective and vary by geography. Even some of our multiple listing services do not seem to agree on building classes. One MLS might show a building as Class A then another MLS shows the exact same building as Class B. I’ve also seen listing brokers express their strong interest to MLS’s to change a specific building’s classification so that it can be marketed in a more appealing light from Class B to Class A. I recommend not getting too hung up on classifications, but compare buildings to what suits the need best. Then rank them from the tenant’s perspective.

  2. Christine S. says:

    Usually a Class A building is ADA compliant, has elevators, is sprinklered, and has a common tenant lobby and restrooms. Class B buildings often do not have these features.

  3. Lily Berrios says:

    Along the same lines, is there a range in the fees charged for tenant fit up work? (assuming the base includes establishing program need, design, construction administration. Furniture and Equipment being extra)

  4. Dylan Westhoff says:

    What is the actual name of the Typical Suburban Class A building?

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