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News & opinion

12 MAR 2018

Reflecting changes in residential practices

With economic diversification as a national priority in most Middle Eastern countries, foreign direct investment has increased since the early 2000s, especially in commercial and residential real estate.

Therefore, understanding of property assets in this region is crucial. From investor and developers to owners and occupiers, all are impacted by the variances created due to property measurement differing from one market to the next. 

Due to discrepancies in multiple measurement standards, a 10,000ft2 floorspace can lose nearly a quarter of its area depending on which building measurement was used to measure it.

As per the RICS Residential Property Measurement Practice (2016) report, after investigating multiple measurement practices around the world, the inconsistencies in measurement for residential apartments varied by 27% and for residential homes it can vary up to 58%. These variances can ultimately lead to in-efficiency, confusion in the market and disputes between parties. 

Establishing consistency 

To address the issue of discrepancies in the market when measuring property, over 85 international bodies, including RICS, worked collaboratively to develop the International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS). Through IPMS, a consistent approach can be applied when measuring all types of buildings, fostering market confidence and driving increased transparency in the market. 

To ensure that professionals are working to evolving practices in the property sector and to incorporate the IPMS: Residential Buildings, RICS has updated its Property Measurement Professional Statement. The updated Professional Statement now includes both IPMS: Office Buildings and IPMS: Residential Buildings and will become mandatory to use for RICS professionals and RICS regulated firms from 1 May 2018.

RICS property measurement 2nd edition

The update, which applies to all RICS professionals and RICS regulated firms, is divided into two parts:

Part 1

  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.

Part 2 

  1. RICS IPMS Data Standard

The RICS IPMS data standard, which improved how the data features and elements of an IPMS measurement is captured, is an added benefit for software developers and those who use or produce property measurement data.

The main changes are in relation to the application of the professional statement, the use of IPMS and the incorporation of IPMS Residential Buildings.

Regional market stakeholder insights

"While regional members should take note of the new IPMS 2nd edition and should champion it at every turn, within the region we have witnessed a hodgepodge of measurement standards being employed, particularly within the residential sector. In our experience, the market trades first and foremost on floor areas contained within official records, and it is not often clear what standard has been adopted and how this standard relates to any form of the IPMS standards.

"In the market at present, we see very little measurement activity by members, with floor areas as provided by clients or stated within title documentation being adopted, by mutual agreement between all parties, as according with the relevant standard, dependent on the use of the property that is the subject of an agency or valuation instruction." Simon Harrop, Director - Valuation & Advisory at CBRE
"There is a great deal of inconsistency across the region and very limited take up of international standards. A new edition of the standard will put the issue back on the agenda for many members and the hope that governments and developers can move towards a consistent and international standard.

"The updated standards appear to be simpler and more concise so that should remove any tendencies for interpretation or misapplication. This should aid the objective of the standard being adopted as mandatory amongst the membership and go some way to having the standards adopted by the client base." Bruce Haswell, Regional Director at Gleeds Construction Consultancy Egypt
"The RICS Property Measurement 2nd Edition will provide a unified commonality amongst construction and property professionals alike restoring confidence amongst our members’ clients. The decision-making process will be streamlined through comparing like-for-like enabling designers to complete projects faster, programmes to be accelerated, reduced wastage and providing certainty to clients when making investment decisions.

"Currently, the lack of standards across our industry undermines confidence in clients when investing in the built environment, results in development decisions being made which do not meet the demands of the current market and designs being construed which do not maximise the available liveable space." Matthew De Pear Brown, Associate Director at Arcadis