Despite prevailing market practice indicating a preference by developers/landlords to continue to use the 6th edition (2007) of the RICS Code of Measuring Practice (CoMP), RICS will continue to ask its members to apply the International Property Measurement Standard (IPMS). Whilst our clients should be aware of RICS continued commitment to IPMS it remains to be seen whether this commitment results in a tangible impact on established market practice.

That said, on 1 May 2018, the second edition of RICS Property Measurement will come into effect, and one of the principal changes is the introduction of IPMS for residential buildings. The IPMS for office buildings has been mandatory for members since the first edition of the Property Measurement came into effect in 2015. However the second edition sets out 2 elements: Part 1 – the Professional Statement: property measurement – which applies to all properties and includes IPMS measurements for office buildings; and Part 2 – RICS IPMS Data Standard – which is designed to encapsulate the attributes and elements of an IPMS measurement aimed at providing consistency to software developers who provide measuring software. Part 1 must be complied with by all RICS professionals involved with work that includes the measurement of buildings. Industrial and retail buildings can be measured under IPMS 1 which is a universal standard that applies to all building classes and measures the area of a building including external walls and compares closely to the gross internal area under the CoMP. IPMS 1 is also used for planning purposes and development appraisals.

Similar to the IPMS for office buildings, the IPMS for residential buildings replaces the existing concepts of “gross external area”, “gross internal area”, “net sales area” under the CoMP with concepts of IPMS 1, IPMS 2 and IPMS 3A, 3B or 3C. The main difference between the new IPMS and the previous CoMP is that the perimeter measurements are taken to the “Internal Dominant Face”, being the internal finish comprising more than 50% of the floor to ceiling height for each wall section.

The new edition of Property Measurement also makes clear that:

  • RICS members must advise their clients of the benefits of using IPMS however, it is understood that IPMS is not suitable in all circumstances…
  • If a RICS member does not apply the IPMS standards, the RICS member must state the reason for departure.
  • If IPMS is used, RICS members must adopt the IPMS terms when calculating and reporting the floor area.
  • RICS members must retain a number of details on file including (a) the date and purpose of the measurement instruction, (b) the date of measurement, (c) the measurement standard adopted, (d) the measurement methodology adopted (eg, laser measure or tape measure), (e) unit of measurement and conversion factor, if applicable (eg, square metres to square feet) and (j) name of the RICS member/regulated firm responsible for the instruction.

After the introduction of the IPMS for office buildings in 2015, the prevailing market practice continued to be the use of “net internal area” under the CoMP. However, with the emphasis on the mandatory nature of the IPMS for RICS members across the industry, it remains to be seen whether a shift away from measuring on the basis of the “net internal area” under the CoMP towards more extensive use of IPMS takes place.