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Hot Topic Highlight - RICS Property Measurement (Second Edition)

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What is today's blog about?

This week we will take a look at RICS Property Measurement (2nd Edition). Essential reading for RICS APC and AssocRICS candidates.

You can also listen to our CPD podcast on Anchor for more free AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support.

Why is this relevant?

Measurement is an essential skill for surveyors. Whilst you may be able to point a laser measurer or use a measuring tape, do you really know what you are supposed to be measuring?

RICS Property Measurement (2nd Edition) is our latest measuring bible. Without it, measurements are liable to be inconsistent and inaccurate. 

Our clients rely upon us to provide reliable measurements - whether to ensure they are paying the right price for a building or to correctly calculate a service charge. 

So, getting it right first time is absolutely key to being a competent and professional surveyor.

What is RICS Property Measurement (Second Edition)?

Our essential guide to measuring land and property!

RICS published Property Measurement (2nd Edition), to replace the 1st Edition effective May 2015. 

The First Edition originally superseded the Code of Measuring Practice (6th Edition) by incorporating elements of International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) for offices only.

The Second Edition's key change is to also include IPMS for residential buildings.

IPMS is slowly being adopted by RICS across various property types to create international standardisation in measurement. This means that professionals and clients can compare buildings all over the world - making the market more transparent and facilitating the flow of transactions.

When did it take effect?

The Second Edition took effect from 1 May 2018.

Do I have to follow it?

In a nutshell, yes. 

What does the new guidance look like?

Property Measurement (Second Edition) is split into:

  • Part 1 - Professional statement: property measurement (including IPMS for offices and residential buildings)

  • Part 2 - RICS IPMS data standard

Unlike the First Edition, the Second Edition no longer includes the Code of Measuring Practice for other property types. Instead, there is a brief comment in Appendix B (Further Information) which directs the reader back to the RICS website to download the Code of Measuring Practice (within the First Edition of Property Measurement) separately. 

We believe that this is likely to cause some confusion within the profession as multiple documents will be required to measure various property types, i.e. Property Measurement Second Edition (IPMS for offices and residential) and First Edition (incorporating the Code of Measuring Practice for all other property types).

The Second Edition is a professional statement, relating only to IPMS measurement of office and residential buildings. This means that it is a mandatory requirement for members to follow from 1 May 2018. If a professional negligence claim is brought against you, following this guidance may provide you with a partial defence. 

For all other property types, e.g.industrial, retail and mixed use property - the Second Edition refers back to the Code of Measuring Practice (6th edition) 2007 (which is contained within the First Edition of Property Measurement, effective from 18 May 2015).

The Code of Measuring Practice provides best practice for members, which again may be taken into account by a Court in a professional negligence claim. It is not, however, of mandatory application like a professional statement.

What changes have been made?

The latest guidance incorporates IPMS for residential buildings.

When including measurements in a professional report or document, ensure that you state:

  • Date of measurement

  • Measurement methodology

  • Measurement basis, e.g. IPMS 1, 2 or 3 (a, b or c for residential buildings)

  • If plans are used, the reference and scale

  • Metric units, followed by imperial units if required (including the conversion factor and any rounding up or down)

  • Measurement tolerance

  • RICS member who was responsible for the measurement

  • In relation to the measurement basis, ensure you are using the right basis for the right purpose. For example, for residential buildings - IPMS1 for planning applications, IPMS2 for reinstatement costings and IPMS3A, B and C for agency and valuation purposes

How does IPMS apply to residential buildings?

The key changes for the measurement of residential buildings in the Second Edition are the introduction of new measurement bases in line with IPMS:

  • IPMS 1 (similar to GEA) - ' sum of the areas of each floor level of a building measured to the outer perimeter of external construction features, which may be reported on a component basis for each oor of a building'

  • IPMS 2 (similar to GIA) - 'sum of the areas of each floor level of a residential building measured to the internal dominant face, which may be reported on a component- by-component basis for each oor of a building'

  • IPMS 3a, b and c - 'floor area available on an exclusive basis to an occupier'

IPMS3 is split into:

  • 3A (similar to GEA) - 'external measurement of the area in exclusive occupation'

  • 3B (similar to GIA) - 'internal measurement including internal walls, etc'

  • 3C (similar to EFA) - 'internal measurement excluding internal walls, etc'

Section 2.3 of the new professional statement outlines issues relating to limited use areas, e.g. area difference from internal dominant face (see Section 2.4), limited height, limited natural light, above/below ground or area difference from covered area.

Effectively, if areas are subject to limited use then they should be stated separately. 

In the UK, limited head height is generally considered to be below 1.5m. 

Furthermore, the internal dominant face (IDF) is defined by IPMS to be the 'inside finished surface comprising more than 50% of the floor to ceiling height for each IDF wall section. If such does not occur, then the finished surface is deemed to be the IDF'.

RICS states that 'in practical terms, members will need to study the internal finished surface of the wall and, where any IDF wall section includes glazing or a wall surface that extends vertically to more than 50%, these areas will be measured to the internal face of that glazing or wall surface'. 

How does IPMS apply to office buildings?

The key changes for the measurement of offices in the First Edition were the introduction of new measurement bases; IPMS 1 (similar to GEA), IPMS 2 (similar to GIA) and IPMS 3 (similar to NIA). 

Challenges faced included:

  • Difficulty in comparing offices measured on different bases, e.g. IPMS 3 vs. NIA. To ensure you are comparing like-with-like, you can convert between the old and new bases by following the RICS guidance

  • Understanding how to apply the new guidance. For example, establishing what is the dominant face of a sash window - this should be the most dominant glazed area, usually the lower sash which extends slightly further into the room

  • Explaining to clients what has changed and how this impacts upon the advice we give

Top tips for reliable measurement

  • Take a copy of the relevant section of the professional statement with you on inspections. It's easier to get it right first time rather than attend for an awkward second visit

  • Take check measurements if possible, e.g. scaled plan, tape measure for complex/challenging areas, historic file notes

  • Don't rush - take a blank plan to annotate or use an app to record your measurements and take 2-3 measurements each time to check for accuracy

  • Send off your laser measurer for yearly calibration

  • Ensure you keep abreast of further changes to RICS Property Measurement 

  • Use the right measurement basis for the right property and the right use

  • Record metric (and imperial) measurements in your client report

How can we help?

  • Head to our blog archive to access even more free CPD and AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support.

  • Download your free AssocRICS and RICS APC resources, including e-books and revision quizzes.

  • Find out more about our bespoke AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support, before booking your free 15 minute consultation and signing up for your services online.

Not sure about signing up? Make sure you read what our recent successful candidates have to say in our Testimonials.

Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal or financial advice.


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