September 17, 2007
In most parts of the country, the most common method for measuring office space and determining the gross leasable area is the BOMA (The Building Owners and Managers Association) standard. It is the most commonly used method as it provides Landlord’s with the ability to capture all common areas when calculating rentable square footage. The 1980 standard analyzed tenant spaces by floor while the 1996 method took into account the entire building’s rentable square footage.
In Silicon Valley, the BOMA standard is most commonly used while a number of office buildings use the Drip-Line method which determines the rentable square footage where the measurement is taken to the outermost perimeter of the building, regardless of whether it is enclosed or not.
In addition, there are some methods of measurement based on regional standards. Two of these regional standards are the REBNY and GWCAR methods, which are commonly used in the New York City and Washington D.C. area, respectively. The REBNY method attempts to bring the rentable square foot number as close to the gross built area so that they can maximize profits.
Regardless of what measurement method is employed, it is advisable that tenant’s perform proper due diligence before executing a lease to ensure they are getting what they pay for. While smaller tenants may not have the leverage that a 100,000 square foot user has, they should ensure that the rentable square footage of their space is at the very least within close proximity of what the landlord is quoting.
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