How Do I Measure Office Space?

By Andrew Sorensen, CCIM

How do you measure office space? Very carefully. Depending on the type of building that you are in, there are several parameters that could or should affect the square footage, and most importantly for owners and tenants, the Rentable Square Footage (RSF).

First off, is your building a stand-alone single tenant building? If so, you have an easy job. Gross Leasable Area including thickness of exterior walls would probably be the best way to measure the space. This also applies to single-story multi-tenant office buildings that have no interior common areas. The measurements would go from the outside of the exterior walls to the middle of any demising walls.

Second, does your building have any interior common areas (like lobby, common restrooms, hallways, etc.) If so, you are starting to get a little more complicated. Concepts like useable office area, building common area, load factor, add-on factor, rentable office area, etc. will need to be understood and accounted for in order to make an accurate measurement of the space.

Third, if the building is multi-story, you will undoubtedly have all the complexity of a multi-tenant building with common area and added to that you will have concepts like vertical penetrations and floor common area added into the mix.

How complicated is it? Well, I will say there is absolutely no standard way of measuring space that is widespread through Southern Utah. But there should be. BOMA, building owners and managers association is a nationwide organization that strives to achieve standard measurement practices that ideally all building owners and tenants can live with. These standards, while complicated, and while constantly changing, do provide the right level of consistency to help owners tenants make good decisions comparing buildings and spaces on an apples-to-apples basis.

Does the space measurement matter that much? Yes. In some cases, the difference between rentable and useable square footage can be as large as 25%. So, if you don’t mind paying 25% more for office space or leasing it for 25% less, it would be worth the effort to figure it out.

A good commercial broker specializing in office space is the key to helping you navigate and make the most of your space decisions. At LINX Commercial Real Estate, we specialize in office space. We have performed useable/rentable analyses for dozens of buildings and hundreds of spaces. If you would like us to help you measure your building or your space, or please reach out with an email or give us a call 435-359-4900.