Surely measuring a medical/commercial property is straightforward? So why can two surveyors come up with two different measurements? The answer is that the area of the premises will vary depending on the purpose.
For instance, if you needed a valuation of your premises or wanted to appeal your notional rent, the valuation surveyor will use the net internal area (NIA). NIA is the area achieved by measuring to the internal face of the perimeter walls at each floor level and most importantly, only includes the usable space within the measured area.
If you require a build cost assessment for your insurance, a quantity surveyor will use either the gross external area (GEA) or gross internal area (GIA) i.e. including or excluding the external walls.
Without overcomplicating matters, areas that are deemed unusable include internal structural walls, stairwells, lifts, toilets, corridors positioned between structural walls and areas with headroom of less than 1.5m. From a medical perspective, it is worth noting that toilets designated for patient use can be included with the NIA measurement schedule but not staff toilets.
To ensure there is consistency of approach, we are required to measure in accordance with the RICS Guidance Notes for Code of Measuring Practice and Valuation of Medical Centres and Surgery Premises.
When we’re doing valuations, clients often say, I have had my premises measured before and I dont suspect the building has shrunk. Why do you need to measure it again?. There are a number of reasons why, the most important being that human error can crop up in measuring a building. If two surveyors were asked to measure a building, 9 times out of 10 they will come back with measurements that vary slightly.
Often when negotiating a notional rent appeal with the District Valuer, one of the main reasons for successful obtaining an increase is because the DV has measured a lower floor area. Generally when there is a difference of opinion regarding a measurement, the two parties will discuss the difference and come to an agreement on the floor area.