A new international standard for measuring residential property has been published aiming to iron out inconsistencies in global measurement practice.

'IPMS: Residential Buildings' is drafted by an independent group of 18 experts, whose mission is to bring about the harmonisation of national property measurement by creating agreed international standards for floor space.

In the past, varying methods in measuring space have led to disputes in relation to rental calculations and service charges where the amount due was linked to floor space. The new standard should change this and bring some much needed stability to the industry.

Over the coming months RICS Professionals will attempt to share their expertise to shape the Professional Statement to include the new standard as an update to the Code of Measuring Practice.

This will spell the end for gross external area, net internal area and net sales area when measuring residential property as some shiny new terminology has been introduced – 'IPMS 2' will be used for measuring the internal area of a residential building, for example.

For developers, once the standard is adopted, there should be more certainty in relation to planning arrangements that provide for a minimum area of residential development to be reserved for social housing. Additionally, overage agreements based on a given price per square meter may become more assured with the use of the new measurement standards.

The news should be taken with a degree of caution as when IPMS for offices were brought in earlier this year, despite initial optimism, surveyors acknowledged the new standards would still create discrepancies in the measurement of commercial properties of between 2% and 10%.

This is a marked improvement from the variances seen in the previous system. However, one can only hope that inconsistencies in the new residential formula are kept towards the lower end of this spectrum.