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Moscow Research Forum Announces New Office Classification Criteria

The Moscow Research Forum (MRF)* has announced the adoption of updated classification criteria for office real estate in Moscow. Over the past year MRF participants (Colliers International, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Jones Lang LaSalle, Knight Frank) discussed the criteria for evaluating office buildings and how they correspond to current market demands. As a result more than 70% of the classification criteria were revised, resulting in more stringent classification requirements.
The office classification criteria were first developed by the Moscow Research Forum in 2003 and subsequently updated in 2006.

The new classification includes 26 assessment criteria grouped according to category: Building Engineering Systems, Building Structure, Location, Parking, Ownership, and Property Management & Occupier Services. An important new category is Certification, which covers business center certification according to international energy-efficiency standards, such as BREEAM and LEED. For now this criteria is only recommended, but it points to changes on the market and the growing importance of green building standards.

The parking ratio requirement has undergone substantial changes. In light of the recent changes in the city’s approach to organizing public parking, the analysts of the five leading international consulting firms agreed on the need to update the parking criteria. For a business center located within the Garden Ring the parking ratio has become recommended: 1 parking place per 100 sqm of leased office space. For Class A and B+ offices situation outside the Garden Ring the parking space coefficient has become mandatory: 

• between the Garden Ring and the Third Transport Ring: no less than 1/80
• between the Third Transport Ring and the MKAD: no less than 1/60
• outside the MKAD: 1/30 – 1/40 or more

On the whole, the office classification requirements have become stricter, with seven criteria now made mandatory:

• existence of building management system (for class В+)
• existence of HVAC system (for class В-)
• elevator wait time of no longer than 30 second (for class А)
• clear ceiling height – minimum of 2.7 meters (for class В+)
• floor depth of no more than 10 meters from window to floor plate core (for class А)
• building loss factor of no more than 12% (for class В+)
• existence of efficiently organized reception zone (for class А)

The system for classifying Class B- buildings was revised. There are now both mandatory and recommended criteria for buildings of this class. In order for a building to qualify as Class B-, all 8 mandatory criteria must be met:

• modern fire security system
• modern elevators for 4-story buildings and higher
• CCTV security system and access control
• quality materials used in fit-out of common areas and facade finishing
• organized guarded parking
• organized property management
• sufficient internal infrastructure in consideration of existing in close proximity to the building

* Moscow Research Forum was established in 2003 and incorporates the analytical departments of the five leading international real estate consulting companies in Moscow: Colliers International, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Jones Lang LaSalle and Knight Frank. The classification standard for office buildings was first developed by participants of the forum in 2003 and subsequently revised in 2006 and 2013.