Tricks Of The Trade: Definitive Floor Area Measurements

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By James C. Elledge, IFMA Fellow, CFM, FMA, RPA, RIAQM
Published in the June 2009 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Q In the past, companies would use ASTM Standard Classification for Building Floor Area Measurements for Facility Management (E 1836-98). Recently, more updated versions of this standard have become mainstream.
For instance, IFMA offers Space and Project Management Benchmarks Research: Report #28, which outlines the latest trends in space planning and utilization. BOMA also joined the fray and combined with IFMA to write The Unified Approach To Measuring Office Space. So what is the definitive standard for the following?

  • How to measure a space?
  • How to identify the proper naming conventions for each space (office, cubicle, vertical penetrations)?
  • What is the requirement when classifying a space as occupiable or non-occupiable?
  • In CAFM, how should the rooms be divided?
  • Is there a standard rent multiplier for occupiable space versus non-occupiable space?
  • How should common areas be classified (print room or print station, coffee room or canteen)?
  • How should primary and secondary circulation be calculated into a floor’s rent model?

And finally, if a standard exists that can answer some, if not all, of the questions I posed, can you identify it? I can assume that I am only one of the many who are struggling with the daunting task of establishing a standard. If you could point me in a direction that I can utilize, I would be greatly appreciative.

Thomas Cook
Office Space Planner/Sign SPA
IIS Network
[email protected]

A The standards you seek are the ones you noted. The ANSI/BOMA Z65.1 Standard Method for Measuring Floor Area in Office Buildings is used in calculating the rentable and usable square feet of commercial office space. This standard defines how to measure the entire floor area while deducting for major vertical penetrations to compute the rentable square feet. Directions are also provided to determine common areas that can then be used to compute the usable square feet. It also provides the formula for figuring the floor Rentable/Usable ratio, as well as the building R/U ratio. A companion publication, Answers To 26 Key Questions About The ANSI/BOMA Standard Method For Measuring Floor Area In Office Buildings is available through www.boma.org.

IFMA has worked with ASTM to create a standard—ASTM E1836-08: Standard Practice for Building Floor Area Measurements for Facility Management. Part of this standard uses rules comparable to ISO/AWI 9836: Performance standards in building/definition and calculation of area and space indicators. This standard:

  • Can be used to facilitate comparison of areas that have been measured, but it does not specify what measurements must be conducted;
  • Can be used in programming and forecasting of space requirements;
  • Can be used to classify areas for internal cost accounting purposes;
  • Can be used to compare space use between organizations.

Also, in an effort to assist in providing uniformity between public and private sector entities, an inter-association Definitions Committee was formed with members from National Association of State Facilities Administrators, the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers/APPA, the Federal Facilities Council, IFMA, Holder Construction Company, and Infrastructure Strategies. This group has released Asset Lifecycle Model for Total Cost of Ownership Management Framework, Glossary, and Definitions.

Elledge,facility/office services manager for Dallas, TX-based Summit AllianceCompanies, is the recipient of the Distinguished Author Award from theInternational Facility Management Association (IFMA), is an IFMA Fellow, and isa member of TFM’sEditorial Advisory Board. All questions have been submitted via the “Ask TheExpert” portion of the magazine’s Web site. To pose a question, visit this link.

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