Getting the measure of the latest property legislation


New legislation around property measurement came into force on January 1st to ensure that all properties are measured and reported upon in a consistent way.

While the newly published International Property Measurement Standards currently only relates to office properties, it will become mandatory for other types of property in due course, so it seems appropriate to review the guidance that RICS has shared with practitioners.

The five facts to focus on are:

  • There are three main IPMS measurement standards: IPMS 1 measures the outer perimeter of the external construction features of a building and is similar to Gross External Area. IPMS 2 measures each floor level of an office building and is similar to Gross a internal Area. All measurements must be taken to the internal dominant face and reported on a component area-by-component area basis. IPMS 3 is the floor area available to an occupier on an exclusive basis office and is similar to Net Internal Area or lettable area.
  • The Internal Dominant Face can be ascertained by looking along the horizontal plane of any wall and dividing the wall into varying vertical sections depending on whether that section is either recessed or protrudes from its adjacent section. Each section should be analysed to see if the majority of that section comprises glass or the finished wall surface. If the majority is glass then measurements should be taken to the glass, otherwise measured to the finished surface.
  • Limited Use Areas are included in IPMS 2 and IPMS 3 but can also be measured and quantified separately. An example of this is an area with limited height, which may need to be separately measured so this area can be quantified for valuation or other purposes.
  • All measurements must be kept on file, together with a signed and dated floor-plan, a statement of the measuring equipment used and the measurement tolerance adopted. This will enable subsequent users to have confidence in the measurements and enable them to use them for other purposes.
  • The new legislation will not have a market impact. Market rents and values are not determined by measurement but by market forces such as demand/scarcity. Moreover RICS is initially recommending dual reporting and providing a measurement convertor to allow measurements be compared on a like for like basis.