RICS Property Measurement provides a major step in professionalising surveying practices

Alexander Aronsohn FRICS

Director of Technical International Standards (RICS)

We have updated our Property Measurement Professional Statement to incorporate the International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS): Residential Buildings.


The update to RICS Property Measurement 2nd Edition, follows the release of International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS): Residential Buildings, the second in a series of measurement standards developed by a global coalition of professional bodies.

The updated Professional Statement now includes both IPMS: Office Buildings and IPMS: Residential Buildings. This is a crucial step to professionalising the real estate measurement practices in the sector. Recent RICS research on “Residential Property Measurement Practice” found huge measurement variances around the world, depending on which measurement standard is used. Measurements for apartments can vary by up to 27.17% while measurements for houses can vary by up to 58.21%.

RICS IPMS Data Standard

Two important aspects to note in the updated professional statement is that, first, it applies to all properties and includes IPMS measurements updates to office and residential buildings. The professional statement will be further updated over time to include IPMS measurements for other building classes (such as industrial, retail and mixed-use buildings) as those standards become available.

Second, it includes the RICS IPMS data standard aimed at software developers and measurement data users. The data standard aims to provide consistency and improves how the data attributes and elements of an IPMS measurement is captured. The new framework is embedded in the professional statement as an XLM schema, and is available with further documentation at www.rics.org/propertymeasurement.

Key elements of the updated Professional Statement

The first part of RICS Property Measurement comprising “1. Professional statement: Property measurement” is divided into the following four subsections:

  1. Application of this professional statement
  2. Technical definitions
  3. IPMS: Office Buildings as applied in the RICS Professional Statement
  4. IPMS: Residential Buildings as applied in the RICS Professional Statement.

The main changes are in relation to 1) Application of this professional statement, where the focus has been moved from just concentrating on IPMS to professionalising measurement across all specialisms, whether IPMS is adopted or not.

In addition, the section on the use of IPMS has been revised to state as follows:

RICS members are expected to advise their client or employer on the benefits of using IPMS. However, it is understood that IPMS is not suitable in all circumstances and in these circumstances RICS members must state the reason for departure” and

RICS members must use IPMS terms (i.e. IPMS 1, IPMS 2, IPMS 3 etc) when calculating or reporting the area of office and residential floor space on an IPMS basis.”

The Component Areas within the Technical Definition subsection has also been revised so the sum of the Component Areas now equals IPMS 1, and the sum of the Component Areas minus the new Component Area B1 (External Walls) equals IPMS 2 Residential Buildings, with new sub-categories of Component Area B.

In addition to the revised Component Area B, there is also a new Component Area G called Living Space, which is defined as “the area available for use by residential occupiers". Some of the Component Areas in this table can be further used for IPMS 3 if required.

The final main changes in relation to Part 1 of the professional statement is the addition of subsection 4 on “IPMS: Residential Buildings as applied in the RICS professional statement”, which contains the following three measurement standards.

  • IPMS 1 can be used by parties for planning purposes or the summary costing of development proposals and is defined as “the 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 floor of a building.”
  • IPMS 2 – Residential Buildings can assist the property sector in making efficient use of space and benchmarking data, and is defined as: “the 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 floor of a building.”
  • IPMS 3 – Residential Buildings, the professional statement includes three different measurement bases, which the IPMS Standard Setting Committee felt were required to meet global market needs IPMS 3A – Residential, IPMS 3B – Residential and IPMS 3C – Residential. Some markets require only one of these measurement bases, but others may use two or more for different purposes.
  • IPMS 3A – Residential is an external measurement of the area in exclusive occupation and equates somewhat to GEA (gross external area).IPMS 3B – Residential is an internal measurement including internal walls etc of the area in exclusive occupation and equates somewhat to GIA (gross internal area). 
  • IPMS 3C - Residential is an internal measurement excluding internal walls etc of the area in exclusive occupation and equates somewhat to Effective Floor Area (EFA).

The updated professional statement is an important milestone for our sector as we move toward professionalising measurement practices across all specialisms.

Property Measurement 2nd Edition becomes mandatory for RICS professionals and RICS regulated firms on 1 May 2018.

Comments (1)

  1. There appears to be so many options now - and how does this fit in with the NRM. Which one takes precedence?

    Stuart Davidson Stuart Davidson, 5 February at 09:13AM

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