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The International Property Measurement Standard (IPMS) for Office Buildings has been released this month, moving a step closer towards instituting a more consistent and reliable standard of measurement for office property worldwide.
Dubai is one of the proponents of the new standard and will also be one of its early adopters.
''At the moment, measurement practices in Dubai are very inconsistent,'' Robin Teh, Country Manager — UAE of Chestertons Middle East and North Africa, told Property Weekly. ''There is a lot of confusion between measurable area and actual leasable area. The implementation of IPMS will bring consistency in measurement practices.''
Rics, the professional body that is spearheading the adoption of IPMS in the region, said it will release early next year its own guidelines on using IPMS. Rics is a founding member of the IPMS Coalition, which developed the standard.
IPMSC appointed experts from 11 countries to a Standards Setting Committee (SSC), which was responsible for producing the IPMS for Office Buildings. The SSC said it was unrealistic to create a single standard for all building classes, so it divided office buildings under three classifications (see box) — IPMS 1, IPMS 2 and IPMS 3.
Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director General of the Dubai Land Department (DLD), said the new standard supports the government's goal of adopting a single surveying standard in Dubai.
''The efforts to unify surveying standards should benefit property owners and investors, as it will negate some of the issues and problems that can arise from differing standards used by real estate operators,'' said Bin Mejren in a statement. ''It will support transparency and trust and will contribute to the convergence of global markets.''
Teh, for his part, said Dubai's move to adopt universally accepted principles of measurement will help streamline the valuation process in the emirate.
''Treatment of common areas such as galleries, stairways and pantry areas is of particular interest as current measurement practices across developers are very inconsistent,'' said Teh. ''Also, distinction between measurement practices as per the purpose of valuation requires consistency.
''The standards need to be flexible to accommodate local practices. Therefore, we believe it will require more fine-tuning with time.''
IPMS for Office
IPMS 1: The sum of areas of each floor level of a building measured to the outer perimeter of external construction features and reported on a floor-by-floor basis.
IPMS 2: The sum of areas of each floor level of an office building measured to the internal dominant face and reported on a component-by-component basis for each floor.
IPMS 3: The floor area available on an exclusive basis to an occupier, but excluding standard facilities, and calculated on an occupier-by-occupier or floor by-floor basis.
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Source: Jobannie Tabada, Subeditor, Property Weekly