How large is my building – GEA, GIA and NIA?

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 don’t 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.

About Robert

Robert has a master’s degree in Property, Investment and Development from the University of Ulster. Having joined Neil Mason Associates as a graduate surveyor in December 2011, he is currently training for his APC, specialising in property management, lease consultancy and valuation. In his spare time Robert enjoys taking part in a variety of outdoor sporting activities as well as adding to his every growing DVD box set collection.

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