Offices : A New Standard for Measurement

The RICS Professional Statement : Property Measurement (1st edition) introduces significant changes to the basis on which offices are to be measured and this came into force on 1 January 2016.

The new Professional Statement (PS) incorporates the International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) seeking to ensure a single basis of measurement globally; it updates the RICS Code of Measuring Practice (6th edition) in respect of offices however, the measurement of all other types of property including residential, industrial and retail remains unchanged for the time being.

Whilst the old bases of measurement of offices can be retained for a transitional period, these will now need to be reported together with areas taken on the new bases, as follows:

IPMS1 – used for measuring the area of a building including external walls; in some markets it can be used for planning purposes or the summary costing of development; it is similar to gross external area (GEA) although, in addition, includes covered galleries (ie internal balconies), external balconies and accessible rooftop terraces; these will need to be stated separately.

IPMS2 – used for measuring the interior area and categorising the use of space within an office building; it can be used to provide data on the efficient use of space and for benchmarking; this is similar to gross internal area (GIA) but, as in IPMS1, includes covered galleries (ie internal balconies), external balconies and rooftop terraces, albeit to be stated separately. Measurements are to be taken to the “internal dominant face” which may be the glazing in windows if they comprise 50% or more of the surface area for each vertical section forming an internal perimeter.

IPMS3 – relates to valuation and agency purposes, being used for measuring the occupation of floor areas in exclusive use; it is similar to net internal area (NIA) in which standard facilities and shared circulation areas such as toilets, staircases and plant rooms are excluded. However, IPMS3 specifically includes all internal walls & columns, half the width of a common wall with an adjoining occupier, and enclosed walkways or passages between separate buildings in exclusive occupation. Areas of less than 1.5 metres (5 feet) in height are to be included but may be stated separately as a limited use area and, as above, covered galleries (ie internal balconies), external balconies and accessible rooftop terraces are to be included but will need to be stated separately.

Elements of this Professional Statement are mandatory for RICS members and will be subject to regulation by the RICS. Other elements are professional best practice and practitioners are strongly advised to follow them.