If you own or lease an office building, there’s a chance that the rentable area may increase when measured with the new BOMA 2017 Office Standard, released in October. The recently launched office standard has made some significant changes in the types of spaces included in rentable area.
The Building Owners and Managers Association International distributes floor-area measurement standards to provide a uniform basis for measuring rentable area in existing and new buildings. While the 2017 version of the Office Standard adopts best practices learned from the 2010 version, it also seeks to accommodate design and amenity trends, which have evolved since the previous standard was released.
As people embrace more convenient lifestyles – blending work and play – the built environment must keep pace. Today’s tenants are demanding more amenities, at both an increase in size and quality. This all comes with a cost to the developer, and tenants have shown that they are willing to pay a premium for places and services that support their lifestyle.
One of the amenities that has influenced the BOMA 2017 standard is the inclusion of outdoor balconies and rooftop terraces in rentable area. These spaces are becoming an expectation of tenants, who have a renewed focus on employee productivity and wellness, and who understand that access to nature and outdoor spaces is a critical component to their workplace strategy.
In the past, there was not a consistent method for building owners to account for tenant amenities, such as rooftop terraces and balconies. BOMA is catching up to the market, and the new standard will provide greater clarity for all parties into how rentable numbers are calculated.
“BOMA is administered to deliver consistent and clear area measurements, so that the resulting measurements can inform decisions,” said BOMA practitioner Mitch Luehring with Gensler. “Attention to detail and alignment with the standard is critical because of the financial impact the numbers have.”
Other notable changes to the 2017 version of the standard include:
- An alignment with the International Property Measurement Standard, which provides the opportunity for consistent measurement methodology for comparing and benchmarking buildings across some international markets. The IPMS measurements for office buildings do not provide rentable area calculations and is not intended for transactional purposes such as leases.
- The inclusion of major vertical penetrations such as stairwells and elevator shafts “at their lowest level” in rentable area.
- The removal of the clause allowing for the inclusion of public pedestrian thoroughfares on the ground floor of buildings.
- The specification of nuances that affect measurements, including special conditions, new space classifications, tenant ancillary areas and more.
- The addition of details on how to apply advanced concepts, such as inter-building service and amenity allocations (formerly called limited-service areas and campus-service areas), occupant storage, circulation and standardized extended circulation calculations, etc.