Real estate types by law
There is a number of ways to distinguish different groups of real estate. One of them is distinguishing according to the laws and regulations. As of November 1st, 2017, Latvian government provides one way of real estate classification: grouping according to the process of building [and the complexity of thereof]. Before June 1st, 2017, there was another classification named 'The Classification of Constructions', but it lost its legal power, and no new general classification was introduced. As this grouping became obsolete just recently, it is still being presented on many non-governmental websites as up-to-date information, which is why caution and critical analysis of such sources are advised.
Classification by building process
Latvian laws establish 3 groups of real estate depending on a number of parameters, which, in turn, determine the building, renovation or demolition processes: Type I, Type II and Type III. The precise specifications of each type are laid out in the 'Categorization of constructions according to the building process' (Būvju iedalījums grupās atbilstoši būvniecības procesam; part of Cabinet of Ministers regulation nr. 500 (Vispārīgie būvnoteikumi), app. 1).
Type I buildings are generally small, auxiliary constructions that are unfit for living or keeping livestock. They can serve as small-scale water tanks or house an electric transformer, but the allowed volume and the power generation are very limited. They also contain fewer sub-units (if any), which is why require less detailed approach to building. Subsequently, one must submit fewer documents in order to initiate any kind of construction or renovation works with Type I real estate.
Type III buildings are bigger and more complex. They usually include all the 'major' constructions one can imagine - apartment complexes, industrial and power plants, shopping malls and parking lots, storage yards, etc. Usually containing a number of different sub-units, Type III buildings require a lot more documents to be submitted and permits to be acquired, as they present a lot more safety risks than other real estate categories.
Type II buildings are defined as 'not belonging to either Type I or Type III'. While it may seem that these are constructions, the parameters of which lay between the two other types, it is not entirely so. While in some cases this might be true, there are a number of parameters that are incomparable in quality, which it is impossible to construct a range of values that would describe the Type II estate with any precision. Thus, it is advisable to adhere to the initial formula of 'not belonging to any other types'. As for the documents and construction procedures, Type II is equal to Type III in every way, requiring all the same paperwork and permit acquisition.
Classification by usage
Legal classification by usage is a system that groups building according to their intended use. However, in contrast to the practical usage as defined by entrepreneurs and real estate investors, this classification also takes into account things like construction details, potential safety hazards, technical usage limitation and other indirectly related factors.
Parallel to Latvian classification of buildings the EU has established it own grouping system, and it is also employed in Latvia. It divides all real estate objects into two big categories - buildings and infrastructures - and then into smaller, more specific groups.