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How big is my building

New global standard brings measurement transparency to residential and office projects

06 October 2016

Measurement is one thing that you would have thought that you could be certain of. Ken Creighton, Director of Professional Standards at RICS and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the IPMS Coalition, provides a clear example of just how inconsistent the result of measurement estimates can be in the absence of agreed guidelines:

“There is a building on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, New York, which was traded in 1990 and again in 2011 when, on paper, it grew by 41%. During that time there was no construction, no earthquake, the laws of physics and gravity remained consistent, yet on paper it grew by 41%.”

From now on, though, people buying, renting and investing in domestic property will begin to get a clearer and more consistent understanding of exactly what size and dimension their property is, thanks to a new global measurement standard.

© Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Miguel Nunez Jimenez 6/22

Currently, the way residential property is measured can vary significantly from one market to the next. As a consequence, owners, occupiers and investors in domestic property are often left confused or misinformed when it comes to the reported floor space. This causes substantial issues when property is listed off-plan or bought by investors, but it has also led to disputes where rental calculations and service charges have relied on erroneous measurement information.

Published by a Coalition of more than 80 organisations around the world, and drafted by an independent group of 22 experts from 11 countries, the International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS): Residential Buildings is the second in a series of global open-source standards aimed at creating a uniform approach to measuring buildings. Representing many hundreds of thousands of property professionals globally, the IPMS Coalition conducted a public consultation giving property professionals everywhere a chance to have their say on this landmark residential standard.

Research has found that the measurement of residential apartments can vary by up to 15% across world regions" and "the measurement of houses (residential dwellings) can vary by up to 58% across world regions". Within local markets there can be up to a 27.17% variance in the measurement of residential apartments and a 10.22% variance in the measurement of houses.

The launch of IPMS: Residential Buildings is another step in advancing transparency and consistency across global property markets, the standard follows on from IPMS: Office Buildings launched in November 2014.

Download the IPMS: Residential Buildings at:

and the IPMS Office Buildings at:

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