A single-function tall building is defined as one where 85% or more of its usable floor area is dedicated to a single usage. Thus a building with 90% office floor area would be said to be an "office" building, irrespective of other minor functions it may also contain.

A mixed-use tall building contains two or more functions (or uses), where each of the functions occupy a significant proportion of the tower's total space. Support areas such as car parks and mechanical plant space do not constitute mixed-use functions. Functions are denoted on CTBUH "Tallest Building" lists in descending order, e.g., "hotel/office" indicates hotel function above office function.

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