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Last edited 27 Jan 2023
Gross internal area GIA
- Gross external area (GEA).
- Gross internal area (GIA) or gross internal floor area (GIFA).
- Net internal area (NIA).
- Total useful floor area (TUFA).
- Usable floor area.
It is very important when describing the area of a building to be clear about which measure is being used, for example in planning applications, building regulation applications, property sales, lease negotiations, rating valuations, and so on.
 What is gross internal area?
- Areas occupied by internal walls (whether structural or not) and partitions.
- Service accommodation such as WCs, showers, and changing rooms.
- Columns, piers, whether free standing or projecting inwards from an external wall, chimney breasts, lift wells, stairwells, and so on.
- Lift rooms, plant rooms, tank rooms, fuel stores, whether or not above roof level.
- Open-sided covered areas (should be stated separately).
Gross internal area excludes:
- Open balconies.
- Open fire escapes.
- Open-sided covered ways.
- Open vehicle parking areas, terraces and so on.
- Minor canopies.
- Any area with a ceiling height of less than 1.5m (except under stairways).
- Any area under the control of service or other external authorities.
The VOA code is in general agreement with RICS Guidance Note, A guide for Property Professionals, 6th Edition Code of measuring practice 2007, other than, areas with a headroom of less than 1.5m which are excluded from the VOA measurement.
NRM1: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building work, defines ‘gross internal floor area’ (GIFA) (or gross internal area (GIA)) as: ‘…the area of a building measured to the internal face of the perimeter walls at each floor level. The rules of measurement of gross internal floor area are defined in the latest edition of the RICS Code of Measuring Practice.’
- 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 (e.g. fire corridors, smoke lobbies, etc.).
- 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 headroom of less than 1.5 m.
- Pavement vaults.
- Perimeter wall thickness and external projections.
- External open-sided balconies, covered ways and fire escapes.
- Voids over or under structural, raked or stepped floors.
- Greenhouses, garden stores, fuel stores and the like in residential property.
- The GIFA excludes the thickness of perimeter walls, but includes the thickness of all internal walls. Therefore, it is necessary to identify what constitutes a separate building, e.g. the sum of the GIFA of a terrace of buildings, treated as separate buildings, will be different from the terrace treated as a single building.
- Areas of open ground floors and the like should be excluded.
- ‘Internal face’ means the structural wall or plaster coat applied to the structural wall, not the surface of internal linings installed by the occupier.
- Lift rooms, etc. should be included if housed in a roofed structure having the appearance of permanence (e.g. made of brick or similar building material). Areas covered by enclosures designed solely to mask plant, rooflines, etc. should be excluded.
- The presence of steps or changes in floor levels should be noted.
- Attention is drawn to the exclusion of voids over atria at upper levels and the inclusion of voids over stairs, etc. Where an atrium-like space is formed to create an entrance feature, and this also accommodates a staircase, this does not become a stairwell but remains an atrium measurable at base level only.
- Walkways across an atrium at upper levels should be included in the measurement of upper floors.
- Areas in the roof space intended for use with permanent access should be included in the measurement of upper floors and measured to internal face of the enclosing wall or the roof at floor level.
- Re-entrant balconies, i.e. open sided balconies within the predominant line of the external wall should be treated as open sided balconies and excluded.
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