RICS code of measuring practice
The RICS suggest that, ‘The purpose of the Code is to provide succinct, precise definitions to permit the accurate measurement of buildings and land, the calculation of the sizes (areas and volumes) and the description or specification of land and buildings on a common and consistent basis.’
It was first published in 1979 and is now in its sixth edition, published in 2007.
It is important that parties agree in advance the basis on which a building or land is to be measured. The Code of Measuring Practice provides guidelines for measuring buildings and land to avoid any disputes arising.
Accurate measuring is required for a variety of purposes:
- Estate agency and valuation.
- Rating and council tax.
For those within the property profession, it is a criminal offence to give false or misleading information about certain aspects of land or buildings that are for sale.
 Core definitions
The main definitions used within the code are:
- Gross External Area (GEA). The area of building measured externally at each floor level.
- Gross Internal Area (GIA). The area of a building measured to the internal face of the perimeter walls at each floor level.
- Net Internal Area (NIA). The useable area within a building measured to the internal face of the perimeter walls at each floor level.
The publication also incorporates the recent judicial guidance in the case of Kilmartin SCI (Hulton House) Ltd v Safeway Stores plc , for the meaning of useable area: ’an area is useable if it can be used for any sensible purpose in connection with the purposes for which the premises are to be used’.
 Key points
- The code is a guide, rather than a set of hard and fast rules that must be followed.
- The code is for measurement purposes and does not deal with valuation.
- The code is distinct from the Standard Method of Measurement of Building Works (SMM now replaced by the New Rules of Measurement NRM2).
- It should be used alongside other guidance notes, for example the measurement of specialist property should also refer to the RICS Valuation Standard (The Red Book).
- The code is for use in the UK only.
In 2015, the sixth edition of the Code was updated by publication of RICS Property Measurement to incorporate the International Property Measurement Standard (IPMS), a global standard developed to make property measurement internationally consistent.
RICS Property Measurement has three elements:
- Professional Statement: Office Measurement (applies to office measurements only)
- IPMS: Office Buildings (applies to office measurements only)
- Code of Measuring Practice, 6th edition (currently applies to all building classes except offices).
From 1 January 2016, RICS professionals are expected to adopt the Property Measurement Professional Statement in place of the Code for offices unless local laws, or a client require an alternative. Professional Statements for other property classes including residential, industrial and retail will be added over time as the IPMS is expanded.
See RICS Property Measurement for more information.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Gross external area.
- Gross internal area.
- Net internal area.
- RICS Property Measurement.
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
- Standard Method of Measurement.
- New Rules of Measurement.
 External references
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