Floor Measurement Standards for All Buildings

Nov. 21, 2005

The development of new floor measurement standards by BOMA Intl. and its industry partners promises to provide measurement benchmarks to the real estate industry for all types of facilities and advance the common understanding of how facilities can and should be measured. Brief descriptions of the initiatives now under way to either revise existing standards or develop new floor measurement standards follow.

Measuring Floor Area in Office Buildings
The BOMA Standard Method for Measuring Floor Area in Office Buildings has been the premier standard for leasing purposes for decades, and real estate professionals are most familiar with this standard.

As a part of the revision process for the BOMA standard, BOMA Intl. and the Intl. Facility Management Association (IFMA) are working together to develop common definitions for floor measurements for office facilities. As part of the BOMA/IFMA collaboration, the two organizations will examine and explain the reasons each found it desirable to develop their own respective floor measurement standards.

To facilitate this work, IFMA and BOMA appointed a “Working Group” comprised of key members from both organizations who have extensive background and experience in floor measurement issues. The eventual goal of the Working Group is to develop common definitions that are contained in both the BOMA and IFMA floor measurement standards. Another long-term goal is to develop commentaries for each floor measurement standard with parallel definitions. In order to reconcile the different opinions on how much area is actually in a building, the BOMA/IFMA Working Group is developing the foundation for determining the gross area of a building.

Measuring Floor Area in Industrial Buildings
BOMA and the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) joined together in 1999 to initiate work on the Standard Methods for Measuring Floor Area in Industrial Buildings. This standard is now being revised. The intent of this standard is to provide a method to measure space in both new and existing industrial buildings. Industrial space is determined to exist when more than 51 percent of the building is dominated by non-office users. Some of the provisions in this standard trace their origin to the AIR Industrial Building Standards developed by the American Industrial Real Estate Association.

Measuring Floor Area in Retail Buildings
The Intl. Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and BOMA are in the initial stages of developing a floor measurement standard for retail facilities, including regional and strip malls, free- standing retail buildings, and other retail structures. The work is in its early stages, but it will establish guidance on how areas in a shopping facility are to be allocated.

Measuring Floor Area in Multi-Residential Buildings
Development of floor measurement standards for residential structures has always been elusive. Some attempts have been made - one by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) - to develop them for single-family dwellings. However, it is not readily applicable to apartments and multi-family buildings. It also did not cover individual room dimensions - always a difficult issue. Today, BOMA is discussing development of a standard for multi-residential properties with a number of potential industry partners.

Measuring Floor Area in Mixed-Use Structures and Campus Facilities
A major trend in the last few years has been the marriage of office and retail facilities with residential uses. While highly functional when these uses are mixed in one structure, a great deal of uncertainty is created as to what portions of the building should be allocated to each specific use. To alleviate this uncertainty and confusion, BOMA intends to develop a standard specifically directed at measuring mixed-use buildings. This standard will also define the allocation of building common areas. BOMA is also discussing the potential development of a standard for measuring campus-style facilities with industry partners.

Floor measurement standards will change over time to reflect the realities of building design, as well as changes in the real estate market. BOMA continues to provide leadership to the industry to facilitate the development of these standards, and encourages interested parties to participate in these important activities.

Anyone interested in participating in the development of these standards is strongly encouraged to contact BOMA Intl. (www.boma.org).

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