One of the most hotly contested concepts in commercial property is measuring office space for rental purposes. Rentals for the majority of office leases incorporate usable square metres PLUS the tenant’s proportionate share of common areas in their building.
Generally, “usable area” means the space that is occupied exclusively by the tenant. For smaller tenants, usable area is simply the space inside the offices with no exclusions for recess doors or structural columns. For full floor or multi-floor tenants, usable space includes everything inside the walls, including toilets, cleaning rooms, kitchens and even electricity supply vaults.
Full-floor or multi-floor tenants also pay a share of the building common areas not on their floor, such as the main building lobby. The common area factor is a number, which refers to shared spaces on a single floor as well as within the entire building. We recommend that as a tenant you clarify this calculation with the landlord to ensure no misunderstandings develop through the lease transaction. Make sure to address this issue in conjunction with an appointed property practitioner before a lease is signed. This is very important, because little or no recourse exists after the lease negotiation is concluded.
Shape of your office space
Reasonable landlords will accept revisions to a lease when the measurement of the premises is verified by either theirs or the tenant’s architect, subject to an acceptable measurement standard. When evaluating space options, it’s important to note that most buildings have different common area factors and floor plate dimensions. The shape of your office space can have a significant impact on your space plan, which ultimately affects the amount of usable space you need.
What it all means
Two competing spaces with similar rental rates can have significantly different economic outcomes as a result of common area factors and space design efficiencies. Working with a competent property practitioner who understands all the intricacies of leasing office space and has the technical skills to evaluate the options available will insure you are making an informed decision. Basically speaking, if you can stand on it, landlords will want you to pay for it!
Need help with working out the amount of commercial space you should be paying for as a tenant? Contact Simon on 083 261 2861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.