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The 5W’s Of BOMA International 2017 Office Standards

The 5W’s of BOMA International 2017 Office Standards

The BOMA 2017 Office Standards are here and RDM has your recap.

This summary is designed to help guide you through the 5W’s of BOMA International 2017 Office Standards.

Who is BOMA?

BOMA International is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Secretariat for the Office Standard of floor measurement. It has held this position for a little over a century. Changes in the commercial real estate market call for updates to these standards, and this year is no different.

Why should we have standards for measurement?

BOMA standards help clarify what measurements actually represent during real estate transactions. They also standardize the process of measuring and determining rentable square footage. This enables commercial real estate professionals to make fair and accurate comparisons on the spaces they are evaluating.

When are the Standards’ updated?

BOMA revises the Standards at least every 5 years, but the last major update was in 2010. BOMA has been publishing standards since 1915, though. The major revisions were in 1952, 1955, 1971, 1980, 1989, 1996, 2010 and now, 2017. The major shift, this year, though, is the truly international focus that 2017 brings.

Where do the BOMA Standards apply?

BOMA International is the go-to standard for the majority of North America. (New York City using REBNY standards is a notable exception.) It does, however, have the word “International” in the title. BOMA International, starting with this year’s 2017 Office Standards, is aiming to align with the International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS). BOMA is one of the founding members of the IPMS Coalition, a group of 86 organizations representing 160 countries. Their goal is to develop standards that can be globally consistent for all commercial buildings, internationally. The fact that the BOMA 2017 Office Standards is fully compatible with the IPMS for Office Buildings, is huge.

What is new for the BOMA 2017 Office Standards?

Every edition of the Standards comes with some design changes and further clarity. This year is no different, with a larger Glossary of Terms, more pictures, a new, step-by-step format, and a section on Best Practices. There is also an emphasis on the IPMS for Office Buildings compatibility.

The actual changes to the methods of measurement, though, are as follows:

  1. The 2017 Office Standards now account for exterior amenities including balconies, covered galleries, and finished rooftop terraces designated for a tenant’s exclusive use. Previously, the rentable square footage calculations did not adequately account for these. This should lead to an increase in Rentable Area.
  2. BOMA has removed the public pedestrian thoroughfare boundary condition from the 2017 Office Standards, which will slightly reduce Rentable Areas. Measurement methods are now the same across all tenant spaces. Previously, ground floor tenants that faced the streets measured from the outside-most surface of the outer walls and not the inner, finished wall.
  3. Rentable Areas previously excluded Major vertical penetrations on all floors. This change will now include these vertical penetrations at the lowest level. This means that any floor space is now Rentable Area, but floor openings are not. This should slightly increase Rentable Areas.
  4. Customizations to the Standards per tenant are now available in the form of inter-building areas. Only tenants that use amenity areas like conference rooms and loading docks will be accountable for this square footage. Inter-building area will be applicable throughout multiple buildings in an office park or campus, as well as in individual buildings. Buildings’ Total Rentable Areas will not change, but individual tenants may see changes in their allocated Rentable Area.
  5. Capped Load Factors will now be applicable on a tenant-by-tenant basis so that negotiations on leases can be more market-appropriate, and yet still stick to the BOMA 2017 Office Standards.

Please head to BOMA International for more information, or call our experts at 212-213-8190 and see if your Rentable Area has changed.