A chartered surveyor will adhere to certain standards when measuring a property to ensure that it is as accurate as possible.
If you know how much it costs to hire a chartered surveyor, you might be wondering whether you can just do the measurements yourself. The answer is yes, but you’ll need to get familiar with the RICS Code of Measuring Practice if you want to do the job properly.
What is the RICS?
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a professional body governing qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction in the UK.
The RICS has put together the Code of Measuring Practice to allow property professionals to give accurate measurement of buildings and land on a consistent basis. This includes standardising the calculation of areas and the description or specification of land and buildings.
Accurate measurements are essential for many applications, including property valuation, taxation, sales and lettings.
Many companies measure differently, sometimes adding up to 10% onto a property’s square footage. Inconsistencies in how properties are measured can lead to buyers or renters overpaying, which is what the RICS is aiming to prevent.
It’s worth looking at the Code in full, but here are some key elements that you’ll need to be aware of.
Gross External Area (GEA)
Gross External Area is the area of a building measured externally at each floor level. Party walls are measured to their centre lines.
What does GEA include?
Check the Code for full information. As a guide, GEA includes:
- The thickness and projections of external walls
- Areas occupied within internal walls and partitions
- Outbuildings that share at least one wall with the main building
Gross Internal Area (GIA)
Gross Internal Area is the area of a building measured to the internal face of the perimeter
walls at each floor level.
What does GIA include?
Check the Code for full information. As a guide, GIA includes:
- Areas occupied by internal walls and partitions
- Mezzanines with permanent access
- Service accommodation such as toilets and bathrooms
GIA is the measure normally shown on estate agent floor plans for property marketing.
Accuracy of measurements
The RICS guidelines note that it is essential for measurements not to be misleading, either intentionally or unintentionally. Depending on the circumstances, what is being measured and the equipment used, different levels of accuracy may be suitable.
When pacing out a large area such as a carpark, a tolerance of +/-10% of the total area may be acceptable. When using a laser measuring device to determine the internal area of usable office space, a stricter tolerance of +/-1% would be more suitable.
To keep measurements as accurate as possible, the Code suggests introducing checking measures. These checks might include a regime of regular equipment calibration and software updates to ensure reliability.
Creating a floor plan to RICS guidelines
You can use your newfound knowledge of GEA and GIA to make your floor plan super accurate.
If you’re not sure where to start when drawing up a floor plan, follow our guide to drawing a floor plan. The step-by-step instructions make a seemingly daunting task very manageable.
Once you’ve sketched out the property’s basic layout and added all those detailed measurements, you’ll need to convert it into a neat, clear floor plan. We’ve got a guide on how to do that, too.
Let Elements Property create your RICS floor plan
After you’ve gone to the trouble of measuring and drawing out the property, you’ve probably already spent more time than you wanted to on it, and all you’ve got to show is a sketch.
That’s where our Floor Plan Sketch Conversion service comes in.
Send us your floor plan sketch and we’ll convert it into a high-quality digital floor plan in just a matter of hours. Sit back and let us fiddle with design software while you get on with something more pressing.
We’ll even give you a free trial if you enter the code BLOG41 when you set up your account.START FREE TRIAL
Latest posts by Alex Stretton (see all)
- A guide to the essential edits we perform on your property photos - August 17, 2020
- What do the numbers on a camera lens mean? - May 12, 2020
- Mirrorless cameras: The future for property and real estate photography? - May 7, 2020