A new international standard for measuring tall building floor area

ArcelorMittal has sponsored a research project with The Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitat  (CTBUH) to improve the way floor areas in buildings are measured and the resulting new standard, IPMS 4, based on the actual ‘net carpet area’ is in the process of being accepted worldwide. This will benefit everyone involved in building construction from investors to the public.

Gross area vs. net area

When selling or renting a house or an apartment, real estate companies advertise the amount of available square metres with a purchasing price or the monthly rental cost. The amount that we need to pay on a per square metre basis is one of the most important factors when comparing properties and taking a decision.

But do you really know how these square metres are measured? Do you know what is included in the advertised 100 square metres and what is not? Are you sure this is the actual usable area, the so-called net carpet area? It could also be the gross area meaning that walls, balconies, columns, common areas, garages, lifts, etc. are all included. Some areas may even be weighted based on being shared with future neighbours.

What do you think? Next weekend why not spend some time calculating the exact usable areas in your lovely home and comparing it to what was in your contract? You will be surprised as the difference could be huge!

Why is it like this?

Today, there is no universal standard that explains how to measure the various areas in buildings. This is rather a strange situation. Owners and developers very nearly advertise what they want. Who really checks the area with a ruler before signing a contract?

The CTBUH has been recognised as the main arbiter of tall building height, having developed the international standards for measuring buildings and bestowing designations such as ‘The World’s Tallest Building’. The CTBUH is therefore the best organisation to monitor the creation of an international standard to measure the various areas in a building.

The correct measurement of all areas in a building is ideal not only for the occupants but also for the investors and the entire building industry. As such, everything linked to a ‘per square metre’ criterion can then be optimised, and every construction solution can be objectively compared for everyone’s benefit.

Energy consumption, maximum occupancy, lift capacity, air conditioning, and of course columns sizes - ArcelorMittal is proud to have sponsored this research with the CTBUH that will finally define all of the areas in a building accurately. This new standard, IPMS 4, based on the actual ‘net carpet area’, is in the process of being accepted worldwide. The huge columns in buildings will finally have to be optimised to minimise their sizes. Thanks to steel sections and especially HISTAR® (high strength steel), engineers will have the possibility to save valuable square metres compared to traditional concrete solutions. Until now, this saving of areas had never objectively been considered.

Click here to read more about the progress made in developing this globally accepted IPMS 4 standard.

Text: ArcelorMittal Europe
Photos: ArcelorMittal Europe