From 1 January 2016, all property measurements undertaken or commissioned by RICS members need to comply with the RICS Property Measurement Professional Statement . What does this mean and how will you and your clients benefit from this change?

By Karl Delattre FRICS and Marc Ménagé MRICS

As explained by Tina Paillet MRICS and Paul Bennison FRICS in a recent article, RICS Property Measurement is, after the Red Book , the first tangible outcome of the new RICS’ International Standards agenda. Good guidance, consistency, comparability and transparency are the immediate benefits of this change to your business, and will also ultimately reduce risk for you and your clients.

Consistent property measurement – IPMS 

Around the world in general, but in Europe in particular, property is measured against many different, often national, standards. RICS also had its own standard, the RICS Code of Measuring Practice. Many of these standards are good, but there is just one major problem, they do not lead to the same outcomes. A JLL study has shown that depending on the standard used, measured floor space can differ up to 24%. This shows that having many standards is in fact the same as having no standard at all.

A universal measuring standard cannot be developed by a single organisation. Therefore, RICS, together with more than 70 other national and international bodies, have worked closely together to develop the International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS).

RICS Property Measurement Professional Statement

The first IPMS, for offices, was published in November 2014. This is a high-level, principles-based document that requires further guidance for delivering property measurement in practice. RICS is the first organisation who has developed such guidance for its members. Incorporating IPMS, the RICS Property measurement Professional Statement represents the best practice guidance available to members on how to undertake a measurement and what to include in a  measurement report.

The Statement consists of three parts:

  • Part 1: Professional statement: office measurement
  • Part 2: IPMS: office buildings
  • Part 3: RICS Code of Measuring Practice, 6th edition (COMP)

Since there is currently only an IPMS for offices, the COMP, which is the original measurement code of RICS remains valid for all other property types , for the time being. As IPMS develops further, COMP will be phased out. This is guidance, therefore if in your country there is no defined or dominating measurement standard, this is something you may want to make use of.

Part 2 is the IPMS: Office Buildings standard, integrally copied with permission of the IPMS Coalition. This section shows how a building is measured according to IPMS 1 (comparable to Gross External Area), IPMS 2 (comparable to Gross Internal Area) and IPMS 3 (areas in exclusive use).

Part 1 is the Professional Statement and currently only applicable for measurement of office buildings. This section provides you with information on how as a RICS member you will need to undertake floor measurement.

What does ‘mandatory’ mean?

 RICS Property Measurement offers two main elements:

  • What to take into account when measuring and reporting
  • Further guidance on IPMS, to allow you to undertake the most consistent property measurement globally.

The RICS Property Measurement states that “The RICS professional statement for measuring offices is mandatory. RICS members undertaking office measurements must be able to demonstrate compliance if called upon by RICS Regulation.”

The above means that the following must always be part of your measurement reports:

  • Provide a statement of the dates when the measurements are taken, or captured and transferred to plan
  • Provide a statement of the measurement methodology adopted
  • Provide the reference and scale of any plans
  • Retain a record of the RICS member responsible for certifying the above requirements

For the full list of requirements and explanations, you should read RICS Property Measurement.

RICS, through our Online Academy, also offers you the possibility to learn how to measure according to IPMS and RICS Property Measurement.

Can you still measure using your national standard and be compliant with RICS Property Measurement?

Yes. Whilst measurement against IPMS is mandatory, we acknowledge that any transition to a new measurement standard will necessarily take time, especially in markets where the local standard is well established. Therefore you can deviate from the Professional Statement where your client has stated, in writing, that they would prefer an alternative, specified standard to be used.

In any case, members are encouraged to report on a dual basis until IPMS is embedded into market practice. To enable this, RICS is launching a free online converter tool which will allow you to automatically convert IPMS measurement back into your local standard. Please get in touch with us if you know someone who can assist us with getting your national standard included.

How will you be regulated against RICS Property Measurement?

We assess compliance in response to complaints made against a RICS member who does not follow the Professional Statement.

As we understand that further information may be required, in the coming months our primary focus will be on further explaining IPMS and the RICS Property Measurement Professional Statement, having a dialogue with you on how this will work best in your country.

Further information on RICS Property Measurement and IPMS can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions document.

In the coming months, we will provide you with more detailed information on IPMS and the international standards agenda, either through your local newsletter or RICS Europe e-news.

More information

Read the next page in this section

Property Measurement Professional Statement FAQs