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26 SEP 2016

Residential Property Measurement Practice – Evidence from World Regions

The report by University of Ulster investigated local property measurement practice across five world regions and attempted to quantify the measurement choices made locally.

The results drew upon questionnaire survey responses from the Americas (Brazil, Canada, USA), Asia/Middle East (China/Hong Kong, India, UAE), mainland Europe (France, Germany), Europe UK (Glasgow, Edinburgh, London) and Oceania (Australia).  The respondents were asked to reflect their own local practice in relation to both apartments and single dwellings to differentiate the localised measurement approaches.

Local measurement practice in the apartment sector returned a negative variance of up to a maximum of 27.17%, influenced by the exclusion of balconies, roof terraces and/or loggias/covered galleries in some markets.  In contrast, local measurement practice in the single dwelling sector returned a positive variance of up to a maximum of 10.22%, influenced by some regions including patios, carports, gardens and/or outdoor swimming pools. 

The level of measurement consistency across world regions was much higher in the apartment sector with the recorded variation between regions only 14.88%, whereas in the single dwelling sector this variation increased to 58.21%.  This high level of inconsistency in the single dwelling local measurement practice was influenced by the presence of both positive and negative variance and confusion on the inclusion/exclusion of elements such as chimneys, internal staircases, storage with restricted height, internal walls and external space such as patios, carports, gardens and swimming pools.  Furthermore, the percentage inclusion of these external elements differed greatly not only across markets but also within markets with different cities adopting different percentages adding to the overall inconsistencies and supporting the need for an international measurement standard.

Overall, there was strong support for the proposed new IPMS residential standards to avoid current confusion between standards, local practices, legal cases and to eliminate any market inconsistencies.  There was also support for more physical measurement of buildings and for the markets that currently rely on either 3rd party measurements or developer plans to at least incorporate check measurements.

RICS Research Trust is now the Property Research Trust

This research was funded by the RICS Research Trust. As of the end of January 2021, RICS Research Trust became fully independent of RICS, and has been rebranded as the Property Research Trust. Find out more here . The Trust supports and promotes high-quality independent contributions to knowledge in the disciplines of land, real estate and construction.