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International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) for Offices

Introduction

The IPMS standard is an international property measurement standard developed by the International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMSC). The IPMSC was founded at the World Bank offices in May 2013. The international coalition is currently represented by 57 professional and not-for-profit organizations from around the world that have a mutual interest in developing and implementing an international measurement standard for all building types. The IPMSC consists of a Standard Setting Committee of 18 independent experts and a Board of Trustees.

The first published standard, known as IPMS for Office Buildings was published by the IPMS coalition on Monday November 24, 2014.

The main difference between IPMS for Office Buildings and the various BOMA office standards is that IPMS is designed primarily for valuation purposes and not leasing purposes. One of the key goals of IPMS is to ensure that international investors of property are conducting business on a level playing field. For example, if the exact same building existed in Toronto and Shanghai, the size of the two buildings would be exactly the same when IPMS for Offices is used. This equity is not necessarily the case prior to IPMS because a local standard would likely be used in each market, yielding different areas.

One key component omitted from IPMS for Office Buildings is a gross-up or load factor, meaning there are no calculations for proportionately sharing common areas, which in North America is a typical method of calculating areas for leasing purposes. In its current state, IPMS could not be used for leasing purposes, except perhaps in a single occupant building where a common area gross-up is irrelevant.

Inside IPMS for Offices

IPMS for Offices is a building-wide measurement standard that reports areas on a floor-by-floor basis. The standard is comprised of three distinct measurement methods, known as IPMS 1, IPMS 2 and IPMS 3.

IPMS 1 is used for measuring the total area of a building on a floor-by-floor basis, including external walls. It is similar to the Construction Gross Area (CGA) in the BOMA Gross Areas Standard. The area of IPMS 1 includes below grade levels and it also includes balconies, covered galleries and rooftop terraces; however, these unenclosed areas are stated separately. IPMS 1 excludes open light wells and ground level patios and decks, external parking and other unenclosed ground level areas. The primary purpose of IPMS 1 is for building planning and development purposes.

IPMS 2 is used for measuring the interior of a building and reporting various areas by category on a floor-by-floor basis. The sum of the categorized areas will equal the inside finished perimeter measurement, known as the Internal Dominant Face. This is very similar to the Gross Measured Area in the BOMA 1996 Office Standard and the Internal Gross Area in the BOMA 2010 Office Standard. The categories within IPMS 2 are unique in that they are designed primarily to provide data on the efficient use of space and for benchmarking purposes, whereas the BOMA Standards categorize spaces (e.g., floor common area, building common area, major vertical penetrations, etc.) in a manner designed primarily for calculating rentable areas for leasing purposes. The IPMS 2 categories are Vertical Penetrations, Structural Elements, Technical Services, Hygiene Areas, Circulation Areas, Amenities, Workspace and Other Areas. As previously mentioned, none of the categorized areas are used to “gross-up” tenant areas. This signifies the most significant distinction between IPMS and BOMA.

IPMS 3 is used for determining the areas of a building used exclusively by occupants. It is similar to the Usable Office Area in the BOMA 1996 Office Standard and the Occupant Area in the BOMA 2010 Office Standard, with the most notable distinction being that IPMS 3 also includes balconies, covered galleries and rooftop terraces; however, these areas are noted separately. IPMS 3 excludes all common areas and other service areas that do not change frequently over time, known as Standard Facilities.

In Closing

Like all measurement standards, the use of IPMS is voluntary. There is no governing body requiring its adoption and the BOMA Standards will remain the de-facto method for calculating rentable areas in office, retail and industrial buildings for the foreseeable future. BOMA International is a critical player in the development of IPMS and will be working next with the coalition and trustees to develop residential, industrial and retail standards. Throughout this effort, BOMA International will ensure that the BOMA Standards are compatible and complementary with IPMS.