DEVELOPMENT PLANNING (USE CLASSES)
Commercial property forms a very distinctive part of the real estate business. If you are tempted to invest in commercial premises on Malta or Gozo, you should be fully aware of the very diverse classes under which specific types of such premises fall.
There are eight classes of commercial properties which fall within eight main categories – Category A – H. Each category dictates the classes within it with regards distinct permits issued by the authorities concerned. The proprietor must adhere to the parameters pertinent to such Category and Class of property in order to be able to operate according to law and in order to maintain a business licence where applicable. Here in a nutshell, is a breakdown of what each Category and Class of Commercial is presently all about:
Class 1 – Dwelling for residential accommodation, lodging or personal residence, part of which is also used for a commercial occupation or to render a service.
Class 2A – Residential Institution – Residence for people in need of care on a temporary or permanent basis, such as a hospital or nursing home.
Class 2B – Non-residential institution, such as a museum, library or public hall.
Class 2C – Educational institution – school, nursery, day centre, etc.
Class 3A – Guesthouse, Palazzino, Boutique Hotel, hostel etc – a residence for multiple people requiring generally temporary lodging.
Class 3B – Hotel.
Class 3C – Assembly & Leisure premises such as cinema or theatre, health club etc.
Class 3D – Marine Leisure premises for mooring, sailing, diving, or any marine-based sport or recreation.
Class 4A – Offices
Class 4B – Retail premises of all retail goods and their display except motor vehicles.
Class 4C – Food & Drink Establishment wherein no cooking is allowed.
Class 4D – Food & Drink Establishment wherein cooking is allowed.
Class 5A – Light Industry including product/process development, crafts etc.
Class 5B – General Industry as in industrial process.
Class 5C – Specialised Industry as in the processing of metals, minerals etc.
Class 6A – Storage & Distribution.
Class 6B – Boatyards
Class 7 – Agriculture – crops or animals
Class 8 – Aquaculture
Each of these classes cover very specific purposes and demand adherence to the character of individual permits and planning restraints in order to ensure conformity with regards to various aspects such as health & safety, traffic congestion, noise pollution, air pollution, etc.
It is advisable to consult a professional architect in order to ensure the remits within which the specific commercial property you would like to invest in falls and to obtain related information from the pertinent authorities. Similar professional intervention will also be required in order to change the use of a commercial property from one Class or Category to another.