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Statistical Release: Floorspace and rateable value of commercial and industrial properties - 1 April 2007, England and Wales

Published 28 February 2008

This release is to announce the publication of statistics on commercial and industrial bulk class properties in England and Wales, which is based on information provided by the Valuation Office Agency, and to provide a brief summary of the statistics. The Notes to Editors section 'Definition of terms' which provides more detail of terms used, as footnoted, within the release.

Download this release as a PDF:

Key information from data as at 1 April 2007 shows that:


  • The total floorspace(iii) of commercial and industrial bulk class(iv) properties(i) in England and Wales was 597 million m2, slightly smaller than the area of Merseyside (655 million m2), and very similar to the amount of floorspace at 1 April 2006 (596 million m2).
  • The North West is the region that has the highest percentage of commercial and industrial floorspace (14 per cent) and the North East has the lowest (5 per cent).
  • The make up of bulk class varies across region. London has the highest proportion of office floorspace, but also the lowest proportion of factory floorspace.

Commercial and industrial floorspace, by type of property, and region; 1 April 2007

Commercial and industrial floorspace, by type of property, and region; 1st April 2007

Rateable value

  • The average rateable value(ii) of commercial and industrial bulk class(iv) properties in England and Wales was £64m2.
  • London has the highest rateable value per m2 (£143m2), nearly three and a half times that in the North East (£44m2).
  • Within regions the rateable value also varies substantially. The map, at the end of the release, shows there are pockets of high rateable value within all regions.
  • The rateable value also varies by bulk class. Retail premises had the highest rateable value (£129 m2) and factories the lowest (£28 m2).

Rateable value by m2, by region; 1 April 2007

Rateable value by m2, by region; 1st April 2007

Further detail on first 2007 statistics

The data underpinning the statistics in this release, together with more detailed statistics, can be obtained from:

Communities and Local Government website: Summary statistics at national and regional level can be accessed via the Live Tables at the following link:

Neighbourhood Statistics website: Guidance on accessing statistics at local authority and MSOA level can be obtained at the following link:

Review of statistics

The department is currently reviewing the statistics it produces on commercial and industrial properties. Views on the usefulness and importance of the statistics produced are therefore invited, particularly views of the statistics at the lower geographical levels (local authority and Middle Super Output Area level). Local authorities are being consulted on their use of the statistics, as are known user groups. If you would like contribute to the review, please send an email to by 31 March 2008, stating which statistics you use, at which geographical level and the importance of the statistics.

Publication of 1 April 2008 statistics

These statistics are produced on an annual basis. The date for publishing 1 April 2008 statistics is likely to be during February or March 2009 and a publication date will be announced towards the end of 2008, on the schedule of release dates via the National Statistics website: (external link). This is, however, partly dependent on the outcome of the statistical review mentioned above.


Notes to editors

Definition of terms

i. Properties: The VOA collects information on 'hereditaments'. All the statistics in this release relate to hereditaments. A hereditament is a property on which rates may be charged and is the unit to which the VOA assigns 'rateable value' (see below). In general hereditaments are buildings or premises within buildings, appropriate or used for single occupation. Hereditaments can be occupied or vacant. This has no impact on rateable value, though it can affect the level of rates levied on a property.

ii. Rateable value: The rateable value of property is the value at which a property might be expected to be let for one year. It is based on a range of factors including use, location and age, but a major determinant of rental value is the size (total floorspace) of the property.

iii. Floorspace: For many of the more common types of commercial properties, the VOA measures the floorspace of the property as part of the detailed internal surveys that it undertakes to assess rateable values.

The VOA measurement conventions follow the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Code of Measurement Practice. The floorspace measurement convention used for different properties is given below. Some properties in certain areas do not comply with this code and follow established local practice.

  • Retail premises and offices: net internal area (NIA): Includes most space useful to the business of an occupant, and excludes common areas, stairwells, and foyers. The lift shafts, walls and columns of a property are also excluded.
  • Factories and warehouses: gross internal area (GIA): Includes all internal area, but excludes external walls.
  • Other bulk premises: There are recommendations for different types of premises and depending on the type, measurement can be NIA or GIA.

iv. Bulk classes: The 'bulk class' group of hereditaments (around 1.4 million in total) consists of retail properties, offices, factories, warehouses and a small miscellaneous group defined as 'other bulk premises' which consists mainly of halls, social clubs and garden centres. The bulk class properties are those for which floorspace and other descriptive information is consistently available. The 400,000 other properties, known as non-bulks, generally do not have floorspace and other descriptive statistics available and include pubs, car parks, and schools.

Source of statistics

1. The statistics in this release are based on commercial and industrial (non-domestic) property data provided by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to Communities and Local Government. These non-domestic property data are held in a database of two parts. These are the Rating Support Application (RSA) data, and the statutory Rating Lists. A download from the VOA of both the Rating Lists and the RSA provides the basis of the statistics presented here. The rating lists are legally defined public documents that list all non-domestic hereditaments on which rates are paid. They comprise only a simple set of data items for each hereditament, including the address and the rateable value. The RSA is a computer appraisal tool that assesses the rateable value of the bulk classes in England and Wales and includes additional descriptive information, including floorspace and other classifications.

2. To improve the accuracy of the final statistics bulk class properties in the VOA download that have missing floorspace (because they are valued outside the RSA) are identified. The floorspace information is subsequently collected by the VOA on these properties and added to the final download.

3. National Statistics: National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs.

4. Further details: Available from Floorspace enquiries, Communities and Local Government, Zone 2/B4, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU. E-mail:


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