RICS Alert - How do you measure up?

Posted on 15 / 06 / 17
by Jen Lemen

RICS Alert - How do you measure up?

Building a better you 

Property Elite’s sole aim is to build better property professionals - supporting your career every step of the way, whether you are completing a RICS accredited degree course, your RICS APC or simply seeking engaging CPD.

Our RICS Alert blog series provides you with the latest updates on professional standards and guidance.

This blog article will focus on what the continually evolving RICS Property Measurement (1st edition) means to you.  

Why is this relevant?

Measurement is an essential skill for surveyors. Whilst you may be able to point a laser measurer or use a measuring tape, do you really know what you are supposed to be measuring?

RICS Property Measurement (1st edition) is our measuring bible. Without it, measurements would be inconsistent and inaccurate. Our clients rely upon us to provide reliable measurements - whether to ensure they are paying the right price for a building or to correctly calculate a service charge. 

So, getting it right first time is absolutely key to being a competent and professional surveyor.

In this blog, we will consider the following:

  • What is RICS Property Measurement?
  • Do I have to follow it?
  • What do I have to do?
  • What's new for offices?
  • Top tips for reliable measurement
  • Are any further changes planned?

Relevant RICS APC competencies:

  • Measurement of land and property

What is RICS Property Measurement?

Our essential guide to measuring land and property. RICS published Property Measurement (1st edition) in May 2015. This superseded the Code of Measuring Practice (6th edition) by incorporating elements of the International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS). 

The new guidance was introduced to create international standardisation in the measurement of office buildings. This means that professionals and clients can compare buildings all over the world - making the market more transparent and facilitating the flow of transactions.

The latest guidance is split into:

  • Part 1 - Professional statement: office measurement
  • Part 2 - IPMS: office buildings
  • Part 3 - Code of measuring practice

Do I have to follow it?

In a nutshell, yes. 

Parts 1 and 2 (professional statement), relating to office buildings, are mandatory requirements from 1 January 2016. If a professional negligence claim is brought against you, following this guidance may provide you with a partial defence. 

Part 3 (code) relates to all other property types, e.g. residential, industrial, retail and mixed use property and reproduces the Code of Measuring Practice (6th edition) 2007, which is effective from 18 May 2015. This section provides best practice for members, which again may be taken into account by a Court in a professional negligence claim.

What do I have to do?

Read the guidance carefully and understand what you need to do. 

When including measurements in a professional report or document, ensure that you state:

  • Date of measurement
  • Measurement methodology
  • Measurement basis, e.g. IPMS 3
  • If plans are used, the reference and scale
  • Metric units, followed by imperial units if required (including the conversion factor and any rounding up or down)
  • Measurement tolerance
  • RICS member who was responsible for the measurement

In relation to the measurement basis, ensure you are using the right basis for the right purpose. For example, IPMS 1 for summary costing of office development proposals or IPMS 3 for marketing a vacant office space. 

What's new for offices?

The key changes for the measurement of offices are the introduction of new measurement bases; IPMS 1 (similar to GEA), IPMS 2 (similar to GIA) and IPMS 3 (similar to NIA). 

Challenges faced with the new mandatory guidance include:

  • Difficulty in comparing offices measured on different bases, e.g. IPMS 3 vs. NIA. To ensure you are comparing like-with-like, you can convert between the old and new bases by following the RICS guidance
  • Understanding how to apply the new guidance. For example, establishing what is the dominant face of a sash window - this should be the most dominant glazed area, usually the lower sash which extends slightly further into the room
  • Explaining to clients what has changed and how this impacts upon the advice we give

Top tips for reliable measurement

  • Take a copy of the relevant section of the professional statement with you on inspections. It's easier to get it right first time rather than attend for an awkward second visit
  • Take check measurements if possible, e.g. scaled plan, tape measure for complex/challenging areas, historic file notes
  • Don't rush - take a blank plan to annotate or use an app to record your measurements and take 2-3 measurements each time to check for accuracy
  • Send off your laser measurer for yearly calibration
  • Ensure you keep abreast of further changes to RICS Property Measurement
  • Use the right measurement basis for the right property and the right use
  • Record metric (and imperial) measurements in your client report

Are any further changes planned?

Yes - IPMS has already been launched for residential properties in September 2016, but it has not yet been incorporated into RICS Property Measurement. RICS are currently consulting on how the guidance will be incorporated into the professional statement - have your say until 31 July 2017 here

IPMS are currently consulting on new standards for industrial buildings, whilst those for retail property are likely to be published in draft format during late 2017. The RICS will then consult on further changes to the professional statement, which will incorporate new IPMS guidance. 

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