The Difference Between Office Grades (Grade A, B and C Explained)

Posted on by Prime Office Space

Office buildings in the UK are graded into three different categories, otherwise known as classes or grades. Understanding the differences between office space grades is essential for companies who want to ensure they buy or lease an office that meets their specific requirements.

The Concept of Office Grading

The idea of office grades is an integral part of commercial property parlance, representing an industry-accepted method of categorising office spaces. These grades, from A to C, form a hierarchical representation of the quality, amenities, and even the prestige associated with a building. Why is this important, you may ask? The answer lies in the fact that these grades shape multiple business aspects, from projecting your company’s image to affecting the rental rates you’re likely to pay. They are like signposts that guide you in navigating the diverse landscape of commercial real estate.

Which Factors Influence Office Building Grades?

You might now be wondering – what exactly forms the basis of these grades? Grading office spaces isn’t arbitrary; it follows an assessment of various aspects. The age of the building often plays a role, with newer or recently refurbished buildings typically securing higher grades. Location is another key factor – prime locales with excellent transport links and amenities usually go hand-in-hand with Grade A ratings. The quality of construction, level of infrastructure, and integrated technology are other critical considerations. Lastly, the aesthetic appeal, maintenance standards, and availability of amenities like parking, canteens, and communal spaces also significantly influence the grading. Each of these factors is thoroughly evaluated before a grade is assigned, ensuring a fair and reflective classification.

Ultimately, office properties are given a grade based on factors like:

  • Location
  • Amenities
  • Building age
  • Maintenance status
  • Construction quality

Grade A Office Buildings

Due to their high quality standards, Grade A office buildings are the most desirable spaces in the market. In addition to state-of-the-art facilities, they’re well maintained and feature the latest technology and telecoms infrastructure, and are typically located in the most prestigious neighbourhoods or high rise buildings. Many Grade A office buildings have unique architectural and design features, and their rental rates are the highest of all three grades. This is why Grade A offices are usually leased by well-known companies or multinationals.

Trophy office buildings are a subclass of Grade A office space. These are exceptional properties that exceed the already high Grade A standards. Trophy buildings are often architectural landmarks in and of themselves, and they can even define city skylines. In addition to their distinctive architecture and prime location, they boast luxurious interiors and premium services. Trophy assets may be new builds, but they can also be older properties that have historical significance, as is the case of 21 St James’ Square in London, a trophy property built in 1744.

Examples of Grade A office buildings include The Shard and The Gherkin. Both are located in the most sought-after areas of London and have excellent transport links. Moreover, they boast exceptional amenities, like top-ranking wired connectivity, higher ceilings, smart lighting features, advanced ventilation systems, professional management, and multiple garden spaces on each floor.

Grade B Office Buildings

Grade B office buildings strike a balance between functionality and affordability. Although they offer quality infrastructure and amenities, they can’t be considered first-grade, as these were installed years or even decades ago, considering that Grade B offices are typically in buildings constructed 10 to 20 years ago.

Due to their age, design and décor may appear slightly outdated in Grade B office space. As a side note, location alone doesn’t determine a building grade, as you can have Grade B stock in prime city centre locations. Ultimately, it’s more about the general condition of the building and whether it’s up-to-date with the latest design, infrastructure, and equipment trends.

This office grade is usually suitable for small to medium-sized companies who require a professional setting that meets basic operational needs without the premium price tag. Rental prices for many Grade B offices typically hover around the area average.

Grade C Office Buildings

Grade C office buildings are older properties with limited amenities and rather basic infrastructure, since in most cases they were built 20+ years ago and have had little improvements or maintenance done. As a result, these buildings may require partial renovation or refurbishment to meet modern standards. In addition, Grade C buildings are typically located in less desirable areas or in neighbourhoods with limited transportation links.

Due to the above, Grade C office space is generally more affordable in terms of rental rates, and per square foot rates are below the area average. This makes these properties attractive to businesses who prioritise price over function, or who are willing to invest in renovations.

Examples of Grade C offices can include units in converted industrial buildings or outdated space in out-of-town areas.

What are the Most Desirable Amenities and Locations?

In the 21st century UK office market, the most desirable amenities are:

  • Advanced and 24/7 security systems
  • Integrated technology (both telecoms and HVAC)
  • Energy-saving features
  • Ample private parking
  • On-site gym or wellness facilities
  • Green areas
  • On-site retail or hospitality

The most desirable locations are near transportation hubs in city centre locations. In London, the most sought-after office locations are the City, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Westminster, Liverpool Street and Shoreditch.

Choosing the Right Office Grade for Your Business

Selecting an office space isn’t just about settling for what’s available. It’s about aligning your choice with your business’s strategic objectives and your employees’ needs. Thus, understanding the different office grades is crucial. Your decision must be guided by considerations of your budget, business image, projected growth, and the kind of facilities you require to run your operations smoothly. Does a Grade A office’s prestige outweigh its cost? Can a Grade B office balance your need for quality with your budget? Or does a Grade C office provide the most cost-effective solution while fulfilling your basic requirements? These are questions only you can answer. However, Prime Office Space stands by you in this decision-making process. Our team of experienced professionals are ready to help you navigate these choices, ensuring you find the perfect space that’s not only a physical office but also a tangible extension of your business’s identity.

Looking for High-Quality Office Space?

The quest for the perfect office space can be daunting, but armed with the knowledge of office grades, you’re now better equipped to make an informed choice. Whether you’re a fledgling startup, a growing enterprise, or an established corporation, each business has unique needs and budgetary considerations. At Prime Office Space, we acknowledge this diversity and strive to meet it with an equally diverse array of office options across Grades A, B, and C.

So, why wait? Embark on your journey towards finding that perfect space – one that mirrors your ambitions, complements your work culture, and accelerates your journey to success. Our dedicated team at Prime Office Space is ready to guide you through every step of this journey. From understanding your needs to helping you navigate the wide world of office grades, we’re committed to helping you secure a space that truly feels like your business’s second home.

Reach out to us today and let’s together turn the key to your ideal office space. After all, your business deserves nothing but the best!