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This help desk is a free resource intended for discussion purposes only. Neither BOMA, its chapters, affiliates, or Extreme Measures Inc.® are responsible for the information, comments or opinions expressed herein. For complete information, refer to the official publications of the standards themselves.

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Building Manager and Security Offices

Susan Havey
Richard Chmiel Architect
September 27, 2011

Using BOMA 1980, would a Building Manager's Office(s) and a Building Security Office on the ground floor of an office building be considered Usable Area or Common Area?

Adam Fingret
Extreme Measures Inc.
September 27, 2011


Normally, we would consider a building manager's or security office on the ground (or any) floor to be Usable Area.

The reasoning lies in the fact that BOMA 1980 is a floor-by-floor methodology. One would usually think of management or security offices as building-wide amenities. However, BOMA 1980 does not provide a mechanism for sharing such amenities across all of the tenants in the building. This is a well-known limitation of BOMA 1980 and one of the key drivers behind BOMA 1996 and the introduction of building common area.

David Fingret
Extreme Measures Inc.
September 27, 2011

Hi Susan,

The BOMA 1980 standard does not specifically define how these areas are to be treated and there is actually no specific definition for common area. Common Area is really what's left over after determining Usable Areas and Major Vertical Penetrations. With that said, it would be a much more reasonable approach if these spaces were treated as usable area. If they were treated as common area, than every tenant on the ground floor would pay their proportionate share of them, which isn't really fair considering these are areas that actually service all tenants in the building.

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