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Turner Drake & Partners Ltd.
6182 North Street
Halifax, N.S.
B3K 1P5
Canada

Tel.: (902) 429-1811
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Saint John, N.B.
E2L 5G5
Canada
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109 Richmond Street
Charlottetown, P.E.
C1A 1H7
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35 York Street
St. John's, N.L.
A1C 5M3
Canada
Tel.: (709) 722-1811

4th Floor
111 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON.
M5C 1S2
Tel.: (416) 504-1811

E-Mail: tdp@turnerdrake.com
Internet: www.turnerdrake.com

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Lasercad® (Space Measurement)


Office Standard Method of Measurement

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Standard Method of Measurement is used to measure space in office buildings. The process of determining the Rentable Area for each tenant space, as stated by BOMA in their 2017 Standard Method of Measurement for Office Space, consists of several steps:

  1. Calculate the Boundary Area of each floor of the building, employing the concepts of finished surface and dominant portion.  BOMA defines Boundary Area as "the individual segments and extent of area that defines the peripheral measurement of each Floor, established according to the Boundary Conditions".  There are some exceptions but essentially the Boundary Area is the interior face of the exterior wall.

  2. Calculate the area of all Rentable Exclusions, which includes Major Vertical Penetrations (defined as "the area used for an opening in the Floor of a building to accommodate Vertical Service Area and Vertical Circulation Area." It includes stairwells, elevator shafts, flues, pipe shafts, ventilation ducts and their enclosing walls) as well as Parking Area, Covered Galleries, and Occupant Storage Area.  Subtract these from the Boundary Area to arrive at a Floor Rentable Area.

  3. Calculate the area of all Occupant Areas (tenant units and ancillary areas), Building Amenity Area, and Building Service Area.

  4. Determine the Floor Service Area by deducting from the Floor Rentable Area all Occupant, Building Amenity, and Building Service Areas.

  5. The Floor Service Areas are allocated to each tenant by multiplying the various Occupant Areas by the Floor Allocation Ratio to determine each Occupant's Floor Allocation. [The Floor Allocation Ratio is the factor which distributes the Floor Service Area to the various occupants of each floor on a proportionate share basis.  The Floor Allocation Ratio = (Occupant Area + Building Amenity Area + Floor Service Area) ÷ (Occupant Area + Building Amenity Area)].

  6. The Building Service and Amenity Areas are then allocated to each tenant through the application of the Building Allocation Ratio to arrive at their Rentable Area.  [The Building Allocation Ratio is the factor which distributes the Building Service and Amenity Areas to all occupants of the building on a proportionate basis.  The Building Allocation Ratio = (Total Floor Rentable Area) ÷ (Total Occupant Areas and Floor Allocations)] .

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Q: Is atrium space measured by the Standard?

    A: Atrium space above the main lobby floor does not constitute Rentable Area. It is empty space and is treated as a void in the floor (i.e. it is excluded from the Boundary Area). The base of the atrium, however (i.e. the finished floor) is measured.

  2. Q: How are "enclosing walls" defined in conjunction with Major Vertical Penetrations? What about the floor of the stair tower or the elevator pits of the elevator shaft?

    A: The term "enclosing walls" refers to those walls required by the building code, and not to the architectural or decorative treatments of those walls. The floor of a stair tower and the pits of the elevator shaft are not part of the Major Vertical Penetration.

  3. Q: Are areas outside the fire resistance enclosure of a Major Vertical Penetration considered part of that penetration? For example, plumbing chases behind restrooms?

    A: No. Walls enclosing the major vertical penetration, which are required by the building code, are part of the penetration. Additional walls outside these enclosing walls are not considered part of the penetration and are not deducted from Rentable Area.

  4. Q: Are "areas of refuge" (mainly a feature of Canadian buildings) deducted as Major Vertical Penetrations?

    A: If the area of refuge is not isolated from the stairwell, then it is part of the Major Vertical Penetration and is deducted as such. If the area of refuge is isolated from the stairwell with its own set of doors, then it is part of the Floor Rentable Area and is distributed to each Occupant Area through the application of the Floor Allocation Ratio.

  5. Q: Can a mechanical room serving tenants on an above-ground floor be part of Building Service Area?

    A: Yes, if it is not already part of a Floor Service Area.

  6. Q: How are door setbacks treated under the Standard?

    A: Entrances and exits for Occupant, Service and Amenity Areas are often recessed from the corridor to accommodate door swings or for accent/variation to a corridor wall. When entrances or exits are set back from the typical wall line of the corridor, the boundary line does not follow the door setback but continues as if the recess had not occurred.

  7. Q: On an above ground floor, can a corridor that is ordinarily a Floor Service Area be assessed to a particular tenant if it provides the only access to their space?

    A: Yes. Corridor space comprising a recessed entrance or a corridor used solely by a specific tenant is allocated to that tenant.

  8. Q: How is storage space measured under the Standard?

    A: If the space is for the sole use of a tenant it is considered an Occupant Storage area. It is measured initially as any other tenant space but does not receive a gross-up for common areas. If the storage space serves the building at large, it is considered a Building Service Area and is allocated to the various building occupants through the Building Allocation ratio.

  9. Q: Is a courtyard included in Building Amenity Area if it is enclosed by four sides but not a roof?

    A: "Fully enclosed" refers to an enclosed space where environmental conditions are maintained by a heating, ventilating and air conditioning system; so there must be a roof in order for the courtyard to be fully enclosed.

  10. Q: Are an exercise club and restaurant part of Building Amenity Areas if they serve the entire building?

    A: No; these areas represent rent-paying tenants; so while they do provide a service to the entire building (indeed to any paying customer), they are Occupant Areas rather than Building Amenity Areas. However, if these areas were available for all tenants to use as part of their lease, then they would be considered Building Amenity Areas instead.

  11. Q: In an office complex, would mechanical areas located in one building, but which serve others as well, be considered Building Service Areas?  What about underground corridors that link one building with another?

    A: They would be considered Inter-Building Service Area, which is allocated between multiple buildings in a complex on a proportionate basis.

  12. Q: On a single tenant floor, are the elevator lobby and restrooms considered Occupant Area?

    A: The elevator lobby is considered part of the Occupant Area; however the washrooms are considered to be Floor Service Areas.

  13. Q: If a private stairway is built between two floors occupied by one tenant, is that stairway part of Rentable Area or is it deducted as a Major Vertical Penetration?

    A: Any vertical penetrations built for the private use of a tenant occupying space on more than one floor are counted as Rentable Area. The stairway would also be part of the Occupant Area of the tenant.

  14. Q: If a tenant expands its Occupant Area, do the Floor Allocation Ratio and Building Allocation Ratio change as a result - meaning that each tenant's Rentable Area would change?

    A: It depends where the expansion takes place.  If the tenant merely expands into an adjacent unit then the ratios will remain unchanged.  if the tenant expands into a Service or Amenity Area then it may affect the Floor Allocation Ratio, Building Allocation Ratio, or both.

  15. Q: Is parking ever counted as Rentable Area?

    A: No, the Standard excludes parking space from Rentable Area.

  16. Q: Does the Standard measure retail units if they exist in an office building?

    A: Yes, the Standard measures these spaces in the same manner to any other Occupant Area.  However, there are conditions permitting the Occupant to be allocated Ancillary Retail space if they use areas beyond the physical boundary of their Tenant Area.

  17. Q: Should ground floor spaces that have separate entrances and have no access to ground floor lobbies still receive a "gross-up" for those areas?

    A: Yes, all tenant spaces within a building should be treated equally. Therefore tenant spaces with separate entrances and no access to ground floor lobbies are treated in the same manner as tenants who do have access to the ground floor lobby.

  18. Q: How are columns treated by the Standard? Are they deducted from area calculations?

    A: No deductions are made for floor space occupied by columns and all measurements are taken as though the columns do not exist. Thus, where two walls meet a column the measurement will continue through the column to the imaginary point at which the walls would meet if the column were not present.

  19. Q: How is the boundary of a tenant space defined?

    A: The area of a tenant space is taken to the centre line of walls separating the unit from adjacent tenant spaces or Amenity Areas, to the inside face of walls bordering Major Vertical Penetrations and Service Areas, and to the dominant portion of exterior walls.

  20. Q: Are mezzanines measured by the Standard?

    A: Permanent mezzanines are measured by the Standard with the area of the mezzanine being included as part of the floor area immediately below. Temporary mezzanines (which tend to be built by the tenant with the intention of being removed or relocated at a later date) are not measured by the Standard. The usefulness of a mezzanine is not addressed by the Standard, and is better left for lease negotiations between Landlord and Tenant. Varying lease rates are common in the market using such criteria as location on the floor, proximity to the elevator lobby, windows, views, heights in the building, and the usefulness of a particular space.

  21. Q: Does the Standard measure space in below-ground floors?

    A. Yes, except for those areas specifically excluded by the Standard, such as parking areas.

  22. Q: Is Gross Building Area an appropriate way to measure a single occupant building?

    A: Gross Building Area refers to the total enclosed area of a building. Since single occupant buildings will often need to be compared to multi-occupant buildings, building Rentable Area is the preferred measurement to use. Gross Building Area is not measured by the Standard and should only be used in instances where all parties agree.

  23. Q: Does the Standard provide for the measurement of warehouse or industrial space? Does it cover a shopping centre or strip mall?

    A: No, the Standard is intended to apply specifically to the measurement of office buildings. No provision is currently made for measuring any other type of building.

  24. Q: Does BOMA 'certify' space measurement firms or instruments?

    A: Neither BOMA nor the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) certifies, approves, or endorses any space measurement firm or measurement device.