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Forms & Documents

Forms & Documents

  • Principles, Instructions, Elements and Definitions 4th (NRM) Edition.

    The new 4th (NRM) edition of the Elemental Standard Form of Cost Analysis (SFCA) has not sought to make radical changes to the elemental list, but to take account of some practical issues that have come to light in the drafting of measurement rules for designed elements and components for NRM1 and NRM3. 

    The use of the common elemental definitions and cost breakdown structure with the New Rules of Measurement for capital and maintenance cost will increase their usefulness to the profession and its clients and allow capital and lifecycle maintenance cost plans to be developed and analysed in the same format.


  • In the UK construction industry the standard metric for the floor area of buildings is Gross Internal Floor Area (GIFA). It is important for benchmarking and estimating and cost planning purposes in the construction and FM industries that the measurement of floor area is consistent across all building types.

    GIFA continues to be the common measurement. This note shows how GIFA relates to the new International Property Measurement Standard (IPMS) for offices.It is defined in NRM, SFCA and in non-RICS documents by reference to the definition of Gross Internal Area (GIA) in the RICS Code for Measuring Practice (CoMP).

    RICS has recently issued Property Measurement (incorporating IPMS), which updates the RICS Code of Measuring Practice, 6th edition, and incorporates IPMS for offices.

    For offices, the new standard replaced the definition of GIA in the CoMP with the IPMS 2 definition, which includes additional areas not enclosed within the building.

    GIFA and IPMS 2 for offices

    Gross Internal Floor Area is the area of a building measured to the internal face of the perimeter walls at each floor level (see full definition below).

    For offices the Property Measurement Guidance Note uses IPMS 2 rules, which also include:

    • Area of external open sided balconies (stated separately)
    • Accessible roof terraces (stated separately)
    • Areas occupied by reveals of windows when the dominant internal face (see definition) is not the wall-floor junction, (ie the difference between the area measured to the internal dominant face and the area measured at the will floor junction) (stated separately)

    Where possible these additional areas should be shown in conjunction with the GIFA on office buildings.

    Gross Internal Floor Area

    Gross Internal Floor Area is the area of a building measured to the internal face of the perimeter walls at each floor level, which includes:

    • Areas occupied by internal walls and partitions
    • Columns, piers chimney breasts, stairwells, lift-wells, other internal projections, vertical ducts, and the like
    • Atria and entrance halls with clear height above, measured at base level only
    • Internal open sided balconies, walkways, and the like
    • Structural, raked or stepped floors are treated as a level floor measured horizontally
    • Horizontal floors with permanent access below structural, raked or stepped floors
    • Corridors of a permanent essential nature (eg fire corridors, smoke lobbies, etc)
    • Areas in the roof space intended for use with permanent access (BCIS)
    • Mezzanine areas intended for use with permanent access
    • Lift rooms, plant rooms, fuel stores, tank rooms which are housed in a covered structure of a permanent nature, whether or not above main roof level
    • Service accommodation such as toilets, toilet lobbies, bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, cleaners’ rooms and the like
    • Projection rooms
    • Voids over stairwells and lift shafts on upper floors
    • Loading bays
    • Areas with a headroom of less than 1.5m
    • Pavement vaults
    • Garages
    • Conservatories (BCIS)

    And excludes:

    • Perimeter wall thickness and external projections
    • External open-sided balconies, covered ways and fire escapes
    • Canopies
    • Voids over or under structural, raked or stepped floors
    • Greenhouses, garden stores, fuel stores and the like in residential property
    • Open ground floors and the like (BCIS)


    Separate buildings – GIFA excludes the thickness of external walls, but includes the thickness of all internal walls. Therefore it is necessary to identify what constituted a separate building, particularly in adjoining properties.

    Internal face – means the finished surface provided by the initial builder, eg. brick/block work or plaster coat applied to the external walls, not the surface of internal linings or skirtings installed by occupier.

    Lift rooms etc. – should be included if housed in a permanent, enclosed structure.

    IPMS definition: Internal dominant face

    The internal dominant face is the inside finished surface comprising 50% or more of the surface area for each vertical section forming an internal perimeter.

    A vertical section refers to each part of a window, wall or external construction feature of an office building, where the inside finished surface area varies from the inside finished surface area of the adjoining window, wall or external construction feature, ignoring the existence of any columns.

    If there is no internal dominant face, because no face in a vertical section exceeds 50%, or if the internal dominant face is not vertical, the measurement should be to the wall-floor junction, ignoring skirting boards, cable trunking, heating and cooling units, and pipework.

    When determining the internal dominant face of a vertical section, the following guidelines should be used:

    • skirting boards and decorative elements are not classified as being part of a wall
    • the existence of columns is ignored
    • window frames and mullions are deemed to form part of the window
    • air conditioning units, ducting bulkheads and cornices are ignored
  • The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) has launched for consultation a proposal for a Standard Form of Civil Engineering Cost Analysis (SFCECA).

    The main consultation document is the ‘SFCECA outline data structure’, which presents an overview of cost elements for most types of civil engineering structures. The structures are grouped by basic functions into ‘Entities’ with Elements proposed for each Entity.

    In addition to the outline data structure BCIS has published General principles, instructions, definitions and common elements’ for preparing a cost analysis and detailed definitions for certain Entities.

    BCIS is keen to consult as widely as possible.

    The aim of the consultation is to establish:

    • whether there is a general need for a SFCECA
    • whether the approach developed is generally acceptable by:
    • seeking comments and suggestions on the proposed structure
    • engaging with specialist clients and consultants to incorporate existing definitions of entity types and functional cost data structures; and
    • if there is a desire for an industry database.

    Consultation documents:

    • Outline data structure: Key consultation document that describes the general concepts and shows the proposed data structure.
    • Principles, instructions, definitions and common elements: Sets out the principles of analysis; details the supporting information required so that the costs analysed can be fully understood; sets out the cost breakdown for works that occur on most projects (external works, facilitating works) and for preliminaries, temporary works, design fees, etc.

    Definitions of elements for some individual entities: Provides classification of the entity types, and detailed definitions of the elements:

    • Pavements, which covers roads, runways, hard standings, etc. Includes specific definitions for Runway pavements.
    • Railways and the like
    • Quays, Piers, Jetties, Platforms and the like
    • Support structures (Masts, Towers and the like)
    • Pipelines and Ducts

    Queries and comments should be sent to:

    BCIS, RICS, Parliament Square, SW1P 3AD. 020 7695 1500.

    Proposed Standard Form of Civil Engineering Cost Analysis - Consultation Document 7


  • Principles of Measurement (International): For Works of Construction, (POMI), was published in 1979 in several languages.

    In June 2011, BCIS undertook an online survey to sample members’ opinion on the RICS Principles of Measurement (International) (POMI), which showed that it was still widely used particularly in the Middle East.

    PDFs of POMI in various translations are available to download.

    Principles of Measurement (POMI) English.pdf