In today’s post, we talk about an essential commercial real estate tool: the BOMA floor measurement standards. Keep reading to learn what the BOMA standards are, how they have evolved over time, and why they matter.
The acronym BOMA stands for Building Owners and Managers Association.
Founded in 1907 in the U.S., BOMA is one of the oldest commercial real estate associations. The organization represents owners and managers, but also other property professionals (such as service providers) across all types of commercial buildings: office, industrial, medical, corporate, and mixed-use.
BOMA’s stated goal is “to advance the interests of the entire commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information.”
As part of its mission, BOMA produces copious literature about commercial real estate and —as we’ll see in the next section— sets standards that promote consistency within the industry.
About BOMA Floor Measurement Standards
In 1915, only eight years after its foundation, BOMA published its first Standard Method of Floor Measurement, which, as its name implied, aimed to provide standardized criteria to measure commercial real estate properties.
Over the last century, BOMA standards have evolved in lockstep with the commercial real estate industry. BOMA’s current suite of floor measurement standards consists of six standards (the term “ANSI” stands for American National Standards Institute) :
- Office (ANSI/BOMA Z65.1)
- Industrial (ANSI/BOMA Z65.2)
- Gross areas (ANSI/BOMA Z65.3)
- Multi-unit residential (ANSI/BOMA Z65.4)
- Retail (ANSI/BOMA Z65.5)
- Mixed-use (ANSI/BOMA Z65.6)
The Importance of BOMA Floor Measurement Standards
Whether it’s a tenant, a landlord, or a property manager, anyone who has at least a passing relationship with commercial real estate should have some degree of familiarity with BOMA standards.
For example, the majority of office leases use the BOMA measuring standard as reference. In other words, far from being an abstract measuring method, these standards have a real impact on commercial real estate transactions.
A quick real-life example may help illustrate the point. The 2017 BOMA standard for office buildings includes “major vertical penetrations” at the lowest level (such as stairwells and elevator shafts) in the rental area of a building.
Needless to say, it will be in the interest of the landlord to ensure that all lease renewals use the updated BOMA language. Tenants, on the other hand, must be aware of these changes to avoid being caught unaware and protect their interests.
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