How do you define a tall building? - Pager Power
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How do you define a tall building?

How do you define a tall building?
March 6, 2013 Amy Sudbury

We have recently released our Obstruction Assessment, which is designed to initially assess whether tall structures, such buildings, infringe upon imaginary surfaces surrounding aerodromes or airports causing a flight safety risk.

But how do you know if your development is considered tall? Is there specific requirements it has to meet to get this title?

Definition of Tall

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has a document titled Criteria for the Defining and Measuring of Tall Buildings in which is a section dedicated to help define a ‘tall building’.  In summary the CTBUH say that a building is defined as tall, if it “exhibits some element of “tallness” in one or more of the following…”:

  • It is relatively higher than it’s surroundings
  • Proportion (buildings can appear taller if thinner and shorter if they are wider)
  • It needs tall building technology e.g. wind engineering resulting from the height

It also states that a building is “supertall” if it stands over 300 metres.

A further section of the same document comments on how the difference between a tall building and telecommunications tower or observation tower is defined by usable floor area. A building will have “at least 50% of it’s height occupied by usable floor area.”

If you are constructing either a tall building, telecommunications tower or any structure that is relatively tall to it’s surroundings you can use our online Obstruction Assessment. Produce a clear yet detailed, report to learn whether your development may be a flight safety hazard by breaching an airport’s imaginary Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS).

Obstruction Assessment

To order an Obstruction Assessment, please sign up to an online account by clicking register here. Alternatively speak to a team member by calling +44 (0) 1787 319001 or emailing

About Pager Power

Specialists in assessing and solving planning issues for the wind, aviation, telecoms and construction sectors – we are a truly international consultancy company. With easy to use self service online reports, the information you need can be delivered to you within hours.

For the more complex planning issues requiring greater investigation, we are capable of assessing and providing highly detailed analysis and advice.



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