Updated: Jun 18, 2022
If you are an owner or manager of a commercial building, you know that measuring the square footage of a retail, office, or warehouse space is not as simple as multiplying the width by the length of the building. Sure, you'll get the rough gross area of the building, but you can't do much with it. It doesn't draw the difference between usable and rentable area, between common areas, service areas, or any other kind of spaces designated in the building.
Measuring square footage of a commercial building can be difficult.
Measuring square footage of a commercial building can be difficult. There are many ways to measure it, and each method has its advantages and disadvantages. The size and complexity of your building will affect how you choose to measure the space. For example, a warehouse or wide-open retail space will be less complicated to measure than an office building with multiple suites and subdivisions within each suite.
The reason that it's complex is that there are finely-written standards from the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) that need to be consulted.
Why follow these standards? Because they help you determine the same standardized square footage information for all the areas of the building that tenants, competitors, and the government will want to know: Gross Building Area, Total Rentable Area, Usable Areas, and more. Check out our glossary of terms to better understand the definitions of these areas.
The best way to guarantee accurate measurements is to go with a professional who can handle scanning and modeling the building in CAD.
Your BOMA expert will be able to make the most accurate measurements by using LiDAR scanning and CAD software to create a model of your building. Using BOMA standards, they will calculate how much usable space there is per floor, making it easier for you to get an idea of what can be done with each one.