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​International Property Measurement Standard Summary (IPMS)

International Property Measurement Standard(IPMS) is an accepted, globally applicable, form of measuring property. It aims to address inconsistencies in the way property of all types is measured from one market to the next, improving property market data and providing greater transparency.

Recent research undertaken comparing five different measurement standards from leading property markets, showed that there was a 24% variance in the reported area of the same building, when assessed using different standards.

The first IMPS standard produced relates to “Office Buildings” though the IPMS Standards Setting Committee is currently working on drafting standards for the other building classes specifically, residential, industrial, retail and mixed use buildings.

IPMS 1 applies to all building classes including office, residential, retail, industrial and mixed use. In respect of IPMS 2 and IPMS 3 these currently only apply to the measurement of office buildings.

The IPMS Office standard became mandatory for all Society of Chartered Surveyor Ireland (SCSI) members on 1 February 2016. There are a number of changes that SCSI members will need to familiarise themselves with:

  • 1.New vocabulary. Gross External Area (GEA), Gross Internal Area (GIA) or Net Internal Area (NIA) are no longer used. This terminology is replaced with IPMS 1, IPMS 2 and IPMS 3.
  • 2.Whilst IPMS 1, IPMS 2 and IPMS 3 are more inclusive in measurement than GEA, GIA and NIA, these additional measures need to be stated separately. To ensure transparency, marked up plans should accompany measurement reports, which should be detailed to include the breakdown of the measure.
  • 3.Limited use area (LUA). These areas are included in the measurement but they are then stated separately.


The IPMS 1 measurement includes the area of the building incorporating the external walls. The key differences between IPMS 1 and GEA are the inclusion of balconies under IPMS 1.


IPMS 2 measurements are taken to the ‘Internal Dominant Face’. The internal dominant face is defined as the “surface comprising more than 50% of the surface area for each vertical section forming an internal perimeter”. Covered galleries and balconies are included in the measurement and reported.

Internal dominate face


Similar to IMPS 2, measurements are perimeter measurements taken to the ‘Internal Dominant Face’, columns are included within the measurement (previously excluded). Where a floor is multi-let, the area measurement is taken to the midpoint of the party wall between each demise/tenancy. The reporting of covered galleries and balconies changes slightly, subject to use. Where a balcony is for exclusive use of one tenant this is included, however, where a balcony is a commonly used space or “Standard building facilities” it is excluded along with common area corridors, toilets, lifts stairs.


It is estimated that 70% of global wealth is in property, so there is a clear need for a single property measurement standard to reduce the confusion and uncertainty that exists at present through a consistent and transparent process.

From the use of IPMS the measured and reported area of a building will change. This does not mean the building has grown or shrunk, this is occurring as a result of how the areas within the building are reported. The International Property Measurement Standard(IPMS) is good for the Irish Market and will assist in providing comparable information, which is important in valuations, rent negotiations and will assist in property transactions.

Andrew Ramsey MSCSI MRICS

Chartered Building Surveyor

Chartered Project Management Surveyor

m: 087 1259386 t: 01 661 0390 / 01 889 1910