International property measurement standards to cut floor space disputes

Help may soon be at hand for any global mobility professional who has ever struggled to translate the dimensions of a property to a prospective assignee.

Go to the profile of Claire Tennant-Scull
Oct 21, 2016
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The Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has announced that a new international measurement standard that will offer greater clarity and consistency to users of residential property services, whether they’re buying, selling, renting or investing will soon be rolled out across the industry.

The International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS): Residential Buildings will provide a uniform global method to determine the size and dimension of floor space measures that can be used anywhere in the world.

Currently, the way that residential property is measured varies significantly from one market to another. As a consequence, owners, occupiers and investors are often left confused or misinformed when it comes to the reported floor space. This can cause significant issues when property is listed off-plan or bought by investors, but it has also led to disputes where rental calculations and service charges have relied on erroneous measurement information.

Published by a coalition of more than 80 property organisations around the world, and drafted by an independent group of 18 experts from 11 countries, IPMS: Residential Buildings is the second in a series of global open-source standards aimed at creating a uniform approach to measuring buildings. Representing many hundreds of thousands of property professionals globally, the IPMS Coalition conducted a public consultation giving property professionals everywhere a chance to have their say on this landmark residential standard.

Alexander Aronsohn, RICS Director Technical International Standards said, “IPMS: Residential Buildings addresses a simple but challenging reality: How do we provide transparent and consistent measurements for domestic properties when the methods used to perform these measurements differ across global markets? For many, owning a home is the most important investment they’ll make. This new standard will enable investors, estate agents, developers, consumers and other users of professional property services, to make more informed decisions. IPMS: Residential Buildings is ultimately about protecting the investments we make as individuals, investors or industry leaders.”

Evidence of the variance in residential measurements is also highlighted in a new RICS Research report, Residential Property Measurement Practice (September 2016), written by Dr Lesley Hemphill and Dr Jasmine Lay Cheng Lim of Ulster University. The report investigated local measurement practice in locations across the world and compared the variance to using the new globally benchmarked IPMS: Residential Buildings. The difference in measurement for residential apartments, for example, varied by as much as 27% while measuring residential homes can vary by up to 58%.

Earlier this year, RICS Property Measurement, 1st edition, which incorporates IPMS: Office Buildings, became the mandated standard to use for all RICS professionals who perform measurements con commercial properties. A number of governments, corporate occupiers and employers of property professionals are adopting IPMS to benchmark their property measurements around the world.


For further information, see, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

For more news and insight into all aspects of residential and commercial property purchase and rental and serviced apartments, see our Real Estate and Corporate Housing channel.

Go to the profile of Claire Tennant-Scull

Claire Tennant-Scull

Head of Content & Events Director, Forum for Expatriate Management

Claire Tennant-Scull is Head of Content and acting Events Director at the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM). She chairs all FEM’s Conferences and Summits in the Americas, APAC and EMEA. Claire also leads FEM’s London Chapter and manages the FEM website and associated reports. Claire has more than 20 years’ experience in publishing, working as a managing editor, writer, journalist and broadcaster, both in the print and digital world. She has worked for major publishing houses and was previously the Online Editor at a respected global mobility publisher. Claire is always keen to meet new members and to broaden the FEM community.

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