Area Measurement in the Property Industry

Currently a hot topic in the property sphere, area measurement is no doubt on the minds of many. No longer is it just square feet or square metres that an investor must familiarise themselves with; we now need to consider what code is being applied to substantiate the measurement stated – be it imperial or metric.

Following a World Bank meeting, the International Property Measurement Standards Collation (IPMSC) was formed in 2013. It was agreed that an International Property Measurement Standards (IMPS) would ensue. The first released, in what will be a series, was IPMS for Offices.

Until May 2015 it was a given that area measurement, when delivered by a member of RICS (and therefore SCSI), was in accordance with the 6th Ed. Code of Measurement Practice. That is no longer so. The most recent RICS measurement guidance falls under the RICS Property Measurement, 1st Ed (May, 2015).

That document has three parts and they are: Professional Statement, IPMS: Office Buildings and Code of Measurement Practice, 6th Ed. (currently applicable to all building classes except office space). When applied, irrespective of the jurisdiction, a like for like area comparison now may be made no matter where your property is situated around the globe.

It is important to draw your attention to the fact that measurement practice is not a choice between the RICS code and the IPMS code. RICS fully endorse IPMS through their Property Measurement, 1st Ed. IPMS (Offices) is the mandatory reporting standard for all RICS (and therefore SCSI) members.

Another new and important point that one should consider, as included in RICS Property Measurement, is the inclusion of acceptable survey tolerance – survey accuracy. It clearly states that high value commercial property ought to be measured to a survey scale of not less than 1:20 (that is a x,y accuracy of no less than +/- 5mm).

If you wish to discuss your area measurement needs or are thinking of investing in office space, please do not hesitate to contact Murphy Surveys and we would be delighted to assist you further.

Author:  Sarah Sherlock,

Legal Mapping Surveyor, Murphy Surveys.