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Difference Between Commercial and Industrial Properties

Difference Between Commercial and Industrial Properties

There are various types of properties in Singapore namely residential, commercial and industrial properties.

We all know that residential properties are mainly hdb flats, condominiums, apartments, terrace houses, semi detached houses, bungalows, cluster houses, town houses, mixed developments etc.

Sometimes, when it comes to commercial and industrial properties, we may have the impression that commercial properties fall into the same category as industrial properties. However, commercial and industrial properties actually come under two different categories of properties. Let us have a look at some of the various types of commercial and industrial properties that we can find in Singapore.

Types of Commercial Properties


Of all commercial properties, this is probably the most commonly known type as many of us work from our office on almost every other weekday. Although offices are common, there are also various types of offices such as grade A offices, high rise offices, shophouse offices, serviced offices or even co-working spaces. There are also virtual offices available for companies or startups that usually only require registered mailing addresses and some simple services such as phone, fax as well as meeting facilities. 

Amongst these, Grade A offices tend to command a premium in terms of rental rates due to their excellent corporate image and location. Grade A buildings can usually be found in the Central Business District (CBD). Shophouse offices are usually more affordable and possess unique characters. Many of the shophouse lovers in Singapore tend to be creative firms such as design, advertising, media and tech companies. These companies like to be in shophouses as shophouses are distinguished in terms of their appearance and are full of character. In Singapore, there are also conservation shophouses that cannot be demolished and rebuild but certain additions and alteration works can be allowed as long as it is within the conservation guidelines. The set of conservation guidelines can also be found on the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) website. In case you are wondering, the purpose of conservation is to retain the memories of Singaporeans from all walks of life. In Singapore today, there are more than seven thousand buildings gazetted for conservation.


Retail properties are something most of us are already familiar with as we usually associate ‘shopping’ with retail. Examples of such properties are shopping malls in Orchard Road or Suburban Areas such as Jurong East, Tampines, Serangoon, Yishun. With decentralisation happening so quick, we can now easily have our ‘retail therapy’ at a nearby mall without having to travel too far. Nowadays, it is also more and more common to see mixed developments which consist of retail units on the lower levels. Examples would be condominiums, offices, medical suites or even light industrial buildings with commercial retail units on the lower levels of the buildings where human traffic is usually higher.

Serviced Offices & Co-Working Space

Serviced offices and co-working spaces are usually catered for new start-ups or for companies that are starting to expand into Singapore. As headcount is usually lower initially, these spaces are sufficient and conducive enough for budding entrepreneurs or business expansions into Singapore. In co-working spaces, business owners can also easily share useful ideas or build strategic partnerships to scale their businesses to greater heights.

Medical Suites

Medical suites are also commercial properties which are built to cater to the strong demand for healthcare services in Singapore. Sometimes, medical suites can also be part of mixed developments. Examples would be mixed or integrated developments comprising of medical + retail, medical + hotel or even medical + office. We sometimes also see medical tourists flying from overseas for medical consultations, treatments or even surgeries. Looking forward, Singapore also has great plans and a masterplan to have the largest healthcare complex in Novena. The targeted completion date for the project, Heath City Novena is by year 2030. Health City Novena is an integrated healthcare complex which links Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the medical school as well as public and volunteer healthcare facilities.


Singapore has been a popular destination for tourists from all over the world and hotels are required to cater to the accommodation needs of visitors. In Singapore, there are various types of hotels ranging from 5 star hotels to boutique hotels or even capsule hotels located islandwide. Most hotels also have retail units such as restaurants and bars within the building.

Types of Industrial Properties

B1 Industrial

Light industrial properties are also called B1 industrial properties. These industrial properties are meant for businesses with only light manufacturing activities and do not require more than 50m nuisance buffers. B1 industrial properties can sometimes be located very close to residential properties unlike B2 industrial properties that tend to be further away from residential property areas. Because of their proximity to residential areas, industrial showrooms can sometimes also be found on the ground floor of certain light industrial buildings. Some of the modern B1 industrial properties are also built with condo-like facilities such as swimming pool and basketball courts. There are also some B1 light Industrial properties with freehold tenure that still exists, however these freehold industrial buildings tend to be located around Kallang, Geylang and Sims area.

B2 Industrial

Heavy industrial properties are also called B2 industrial properties. Businesses that operate in heavy industrial properties are usually businesses with heavier manufacturing activities that require nuisance buffers of more than 50m and are usually located further away from residential properties due to the noise and dust that may be produced by heavy manufacturing and production activities. Many B2 industrial warehouses and factories can also be found in Tuas which is where our future mega port will be located.

Food Factories

Businesses with manufacturing of food products usually operate from food factories. Only areas zoned for food factories are suitable for food production. The list of food zone factories can also be found on Agri-food and Veterinary Authority’s (AVA) website. These factories are usually flatted factories and terrace factories that are licensed for food repackaging, manufacturing as well as storage. Most of the food zone factories are also located in the northern and eastern part of Singapore.

Business & Science Parks 

Business & Science Parks are generally meant for clean and light businesses which are involved in research & development, high technology, knowledge intensive or value added activities. Examples of such parks are International Business Park and Changi Business Park. 

Wafer Fab & Advance Display Parks

There are also wafer fabrication and advance display parks which are built to cater to the stringent requirements of wafer fabrication and advance display companies in Singapore. These specialised parks are located mainly in Woodlands, Tampines and Pasir Ris Area.

How Knowing the Different Types of Commercial & Industrial Properties Can Help

By understanding the different types of commercial and industrial properties available in Singapore, finding a suitable business space will likely be easier as you know exactly what these properties are and how these properties are categorised.