Construction Law

Building Height Classifications featured image

Building Height Classifications

Every building is unique. From the smallest one-story tenement to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, every building has its own story and purpose. As buildings grow in height, they become almost mythic. When a structure becomes so colossal that you can see it at virtually any time, it’s easy to forge a strong connection with it. People love tall buildings, but very few people outside of the construction industry understand the differences between sky-high buildings of varying heights.

If you have experience constructing buildings that reach skyward, it’s imperative that you possess a fundamental understanding of the various building height classifications used to distinguish between low-rise, high-rise, skyrise (skyscrapers), and supertalls. If you want to verify that you possess the proper licensing for an upcoming construction project, contact a construction lawyer in Clarksville, TN.


Unsurprisingly, low-rise buildings are the least tall of these four categories. By definition, low-rise buildings consist of any and all buildings measuring 99 meters in height or less. However, some sources have differing definitions. For example, the construction data company, Emporis, considers a low-rise as any building less than 35 meters tall. Although not explicitly used as a classification, the term mid-rise has been linked to buildings in Toronto that are between four and twelve stories tall.


As is true with low-rise buildings, the classification of “high-rise” possesses multiple definitions depending on the location of your project. Typically, a high-rise is taller than 100 meters. As a contractor, the taller the building in your design plans, the more bureaucracy you’ll face moving forward with your project. Certainly, working at higher altitudes presents an array of dangers including fatal falls and vertigo, so you’ll want to contact a construction law attorney in Clarksville, TN before proceeding with your project.


Sky-rise buildings, more commonly referred to as “skyscrapers,” include buildings greater than 200 meters. Some of the most famous buildings in the world are skyscrapers including:

  • Kingdom Centre
  • Salesforce Tower
  • Chrysler Building
  • 30 Rockefeller Place
  • Woolworth Building
  • Bank of China Tower
  • 40 Wall Street
  • Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago
  • Eiffel Tower
  • New York Times Building


Buildings above 300 meters (or 1,000 feet) are classified as supertall. Supertall buildings are designated by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. In addition, the term “megatall” is being used to describe buildings that extend over 600 meters into the air. This is becoming more common in places like China and the United Arab Emirates, where “building up” is becoming increasingly common.

If you would like to speak with a construction attorney in Clarksville, TN, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.