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Serving the U.S. from
Denver Colorado
Phone: 720-477-7033

Floor Area Measurement Standards

The commercial real estate market in North America consists of numerous sub-markets distinguished by use and geographic location. By use, the major commercial sub-markets are office, retail, industrial, and multi-unit residential properties. Each of those sub-markets employs measurement practices that are unique to that sub-market.

Most major measurment standards are listed under the six categories below. Click on the category links for more information about each standard.

  • Gross area is used for buildings containing all kinds of occupancies for their design, valuation, marketing, and sometimes leasing.
  • Office buildings employ measures of usable and rentable area that are calculated using exacting specification unique to their markets.
  • Retail buildings such as shopping malls, strip centers, power centers and big box stores employ simpler but exacting measurement methods for determining the leasable areas of their tenants.
  • Industrial buildings like warehouses, factories and even flex properties share some of the measurement methods used in retail buildings but also offer new concepts unique to that market.
  • Residential buildings including homes, row houses, duplexes, apartment buildings and condominiums were once a neglected type of building but now have several measurement standards addressing their square footage.
  • Foreign measurement standards haven't spurred much interest in the US but are becoming more important with the rising importance of multi-national real estate companies.

Note that these standards are not laws, but voluntary standards that serve to bring measurement consistency and comparability between properties in the real estate markets in which they are used.

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This page revised 2/15/2017