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Offices need new grading system   2010-08-06 - VNS

Viet Nam needs a new system to grade office buildings to ensure transparency and fairness, a property consultant said.

Experts list several major factors in determining a building's quality status, including location, services, age, accessibility, and management standards, James Graham, Colliers International Vietnam's leasing associate director, said.

Speaking at a seminar on the issue on Wednesday, he said, however, some of them could be subjective or simply not relevant to a particular market.

Viet Nam, and more specifically, HCM City, does not have a specific grading system but only an assessment by agents and developers.

Agents adopt a standard based generally on location, age, and size of floorplates while developers grade their building based on their "vision".

He suggested adopting the Property Council of Australia's system, which is broken down into 14 main categories, including the environment, configuration, communications, amenities, security, and management.

"We understand that all the factors in ‘A Guide to Office Building Quality' may not necessarily be relevant to the different markets in Viet Nam, but at least it is a starting point for adopting a concise and well researched methodology.

"In HCM City, for example, where there is no routine and robust public transportation system, motorbike parking is a very important factor, whereas in London, the government has implemented measures to minimise private transport.

"Access to public transport would far outweigh parking in this scenario."

In HCM City, five buildings built between 1996 and 2006 are considered to be Grade A: Diamond Plaza, Saigon Centre, Saigon Tower, The Metropolitan, and Sunwah.

The factors that appear to set them apart from all others in the city are their District 1 location and size, with all having more than 10,000sq.m of leasable area.

But this appears to be a very simplistic approach to the grading system though it has sufficed until now.

Kumho Asiana Plaza is another top-grade building that came into the market recently while several others like Vincom Centre, A & B Tower, and Bitexco Financial Tower will soon be finished.

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