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News & opinion

16 JUL 2018

IPMS: How is it measuring up?

Peter Folwell MRICS, Director at Plowman Craven, recently delivered a series of IPMS breakfast briefings in Birmingham, Manchester and London where he discussed his experience of using IPMS, the benefits and the need to develop new consistencies. He tells us more.

While we are not valuers at Plowman Craven, we do operate in the geospatial environment, providing a range of clients with measured areas. What you might find surprising though, is that more than 85% of the office space we’ve recently measured is reported under the new measurement code.

Consistency and dual reporting

Although the message from our clients is that there are still difficulties in using the new RICS property measurement code as a valuation tool because of market and historical comparisons, the normality for us now is dual reporting that provides both RICS and 6th COMP delivery.

To help provide further uniformity, measuring to the new code - and the inclusion of additional features - new consistencies are needed. For example, where do you measure to on a sash window  top or bottom? When does a column become a wall? Secondary glazing – is it permanent or temporary? Some answers to these questions can be found in the RICS Property Measurement FAQ document.

Greater benefit and wider application

As the new IPMS building types are incorporated into the RICS Property Measurement suite, and the 6th COMP is replaced, there will be greater benefit and wider application – particularly in mixed-use schemes – where at the moment IPMS applies to Office and Residential but COMP still applies to retail (a mix of two codes).

The greater level of explanation and documentation provided by IPMS compared to 6th COMP on Residential (and subsequently Industrial and Retail) should allow improved clarity in its application too. But there are some situations that we should be aware of, which I highlighted at the recent breakfast events we hosted on IPMS.

Understanding requirements

As people are getting to grips with the new terminology and the various IPMS classes, there is likely to be differences in the clarity of instruction and understanding of requirements. For instance, is it always clear in contracts and appointments what is understood to be the latest code of measuring practice and is it aligned with actual requirements?

A critical distinction that needs to be understood by all parties is the appreciation that we are talking about a code of measurement and not a valuation tool.

For example, BIM (Building information Modelling) is now part of our dialogue, but with information and data provided being derived from multiple sources, it's important the origin of the design information and how it has been extracted is understood as this is vital to enable the new code to be applied accurately.

So where are we with IPMS?

For more than two years there have been mandatory requirements for RICS members, and as such we are measuring to the new IPMS code but dual reporting. There is increased awareness of the new code, but greater clarity of its use is still required, especially as other IPMS property types are being introduced (industrial is now published while retail is in consultation).

As the whole suite is complete and issued within the RICS Property Measurement document, we should see greater support and uptake of IPMS, and its benefits in delivering confidence and consistency in the market place.