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Vietnam still does not have standards to classify office buildings
  • | Thoi bao Kinh te Vietnam | August 12, 2010 01:50 PM

What standards do people use when they refer to office towers in Vietnam as A, B, or C-class buildings? There are still no such standards in Vietnam.

Numerous office towers have appeared in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in recent years.Developers have touted the towers as modern buildings that can meet international standards.

Although real estate developers state that their buildings meet international standards, others do not always agree, as there are no international standards to classify the buildings.

In general, the classification depends o­n factors such as the location, the date of completion, service quality, the life expectancy of the building, and management standards.

In Ho Chi Minh City, real estate agents classify office towers based o­n the building’s location, age, and area, while real estate developers give assessments o­n buildings based o­n each developer’s “vision”. As observers give different assessments o­n buildings, the assessments can vary considerably.

A real estate developer for A&B Tower asserted that o­ne of their office buildings has an A class quality. However, a foreign real estate consultancy believes that this is a B-class tower due to the limited leasing area.

According to Nick Wells, a senior executive of Colliers International Vietnam, every market needs to have specific standards that serve as the basis for objective assessments of real estate projects. In Ho Chi Minh City, for example, a large parking lot would be a very important factor to assess the quality of an office building. In London however, a large parking lot would not be important, since the city has applied measures to minimize the number of vehicles entering the central area of the city.

Therefore, he said, there cannot be ‘international standards’ applied to all cities in the world. However, it is necessary to set up common standards for assessing office towers in the same city.

In Ho Chi Minh City, an A-class classification is generally given to office buildings located in the central area of District 1 that have large-scale, leasing areas.

Statistics from 1996-2006 show that in Ho Chi Minh City, five office buildings were considered A-class buildings, including: Diamond Plaza, Saigon Center, Saigon Tower, The Metropolitan, and Sunwah Tower. In the last 12 months, the buildings which have been completed and are now listed as A-class office towers include: Kumho Asiana Plaza, Vincom Center, A&B Tower, Bitexco Financial Tower, and M&C Tower. Compared with the older office buildings, the new buildings show clear differences in interior decoration, design, and scale.

Experts from Colliers International Vietnam believe that it is the right time to create standards for office towers, especially when the leasing office market has been developing so strongly. The standards will give more information to tenants, so that they can have a true assessment of the offices they lease and pay the right prices for the offices. Meanwhile, the standards will help real estate developers better understand the market, and encourage them to improve the quality of projects.

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