Commercial Property Use Classes: What Is A F1/D1 Property?

Mar 22 2019

Darren Best

Please note: D1 properties are now referred to as use class F1, as well as some elements of use class E. Read more about the new use class changes (2020) here. 

Two commercial property classifications which are similar are that of D1 and D2 buildings. When planning to buy D1 and D2 property, it is vital that you get the right classification for the intended use of the building. But what is a F1/D1 property?

What is a F1/D1 property in a nutshell?

Put simply, a F1/D1 class property refers to non-residential institutions, which includes any kind of property that may be used for educational, medical or religious purposes. Generally speaking, this type of commercial property class consists of the following:

  • places of worship
  • clinics/health centres
  • crèches/day nurseries
  • consulting rooms
  • museums
  • public halls
  • libraries
  • art galleries/exhibition halls

If they are occupied incorrectly, you may face a fine from your local council so always ensure you are abiding by the law. It is worth noting that in some instances you are able to change the property class of a building; however, this can be a lengthy process between you and your local council.

If you would like to make a F1/D1 property residential – such as a boarding school or hospital, for instance – you would need to change the property to a C2 class instead.

 Photo credit: David Bogataj / Shutterstock – University College Hospital, London

However, when it comes to buying or renting commercial property, F1/D1 properties are not to be confused with D2 properties. Commercial buildings that are defined as a D2 use class are used for leisure facilities, such as a cinema, concert venue, swimming pool or gym, for instance. Therefore, if you are hoping to set up such a facility or sell this type of property, you must ensure it falls under this class.

If you would like to find out more about the specifics, it is worth reading the amended Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987.

What is a "restricted" F1/D1 property?

 Photo credit: Piotr Wawrzyniuk / shutterstock – The British Museum

However, it can get a bit more complicated with restricted F1/D1 use. You will know if a property has restrictions in place, as you will find on the tenancy agreement labelled as “restricted F1/D1 use class”. Restrictions mean that some buildings are designated for certain purposes only, such as a hospital or medical practice for example. On the other hand, there may also be a clause in your contract that prevents you from using the property to display art or be a public hall, for example.

To be sure you know what a property’s use is, it is worth getting in touch with a specialist to read through the building’s commercial property agreement and licenses. However, usually when this is in place, it is often difficult to change the property class and can be an expensive process. This isn’t necessarily through planning permission, but building regulations, as today conversions from commercial properties to residential housing must be to the same specification as a new build. This means it’s often cheaper to knock a building down and rebuild it. As a result, it is important so be sure to check before you think about investing.


Here at Savoy Stewart, we have a range of commercial properties available for rental or purchase. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to find out more. If you want to purchase commercial property, take a read through our "10 tips to consider when buying commercial property". 


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