New international measurement standard for Commercial Property


November 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new single international measurement system for the commercial market has today been launched to bring transparency and consistency to the global commercial property sector.

International Property Measurement Standards: Office Buildings, creates a uniform method for measuring property and is set to replace dozens of different existing measurement methods currently used in countries around the world.

RICS was a founding member of the IPMS Coalition, which developed IPMS, alongside 55 other standard-setting bodies, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA). The new standard will prevent widely different measurement systems being used from country to country to measure commercial space.

The coalition began working on IPMS standards in 2013, in response to the growing number of investors and corporate occupiers operating across international borders frustrated by the numerous different measurement systems in place from country to country. In India, for example, an office measurement may include offsite car parks, while in Spain may include outdoor swimming pools. This kind of disparity in measurement practice can lead to measurement of the same property deviating by up to 24%.

Last year, an estimated $1 trillion worldwide was spent on commercial property market transactions. IPMS for Offices benefits the way property assets are managed and, ultimately, how financial decisions are made by investors, corporate occupiers, buyers and sellers. In Dubai, IPMS for Offices is already mandatory across its commercial property sector.

Measurement is at the core of the surveying profession, with chartered surveyors playing a critical role in providing best practice advice across the property industry in more than 140 countries worldwide.

"In what is becoming an increasingly international marketplace, we are delighted to be part of this project to align measurement practices. This is a huge step forward for the property industry and one which RICS has been part of since the very start. IPMS will ensure that surveyors, their clients and the markets they work in receive consistent, transparent and comparable property measurement information."

Sean Tompkins, Global CEO of RICS

RICS will launch its own guidance on IPMS in March 2015 and meanwhile, the coalition will now turn its attention to developing IPMS for residential properties, which is expected to be published in 2015.

"The usable space within a building is a vital metric in understanding the valuation and thus investment potential of a property. Investors currently suffer from having to make decisions based on information which is inconsistent from one market to the next. IPMS will address this problem; removing risk and ensuring property investors are armed with reliable and transparent information."

Martin Bruehl, Head of Investment Management, International, Union Real Estate Investment

"Our involvement in this initiative supports our position in raising the benchmark for unifying surveying standards in Dubai. The efforts to unify surveying standards should benefit property owners and investors, as it will negate some of the issues and problems that can arise from differing standards used by real estate operators. It will support transparency and trust and will contribute to the convergence of global markets."

Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director General of the Dubai Land Department

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