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Calculating the area of a property: do you know how it works?

Daniel Batistela • 10/28/2021
Learn the differences between the various metrics used to calculate the area of a property.

How is this calculation performed?
When a property is negotiated, be it commercial or residential, the first information the client wants to know is its area. There are several metrics in Brazil and in the world for this calculation. About five years ago, the most used in Brazil was the private area.

Today, most owners use the so-called Boma area, created by an industry entity in the United States to unify these measurements.

In addition to these, there are also:

• Total area
• Common area
• Useful area
• “Carpet” area (already recurring term in the corporate slab segment).

We'll look at how each of these metrics works in more detail below.

The important thing, as Daniel Battistella, director of Tenant Representation at Cushman & Wakefield, Daniel Battistella, points out, is to be aware of some points in terms of metrics to calculate the area of a property.

‘‘We need to know how to distinguish the metrics to calculate the exact space that the tenant or buyer will have to effectively structure their office and also to be able to calculate the “efficiency” of the slab and whether it is suitable for the profile of the new occupant. Another factor is that by understanding these variations, we are able to accurately measure the value per square meter being requested for the property under negotiation”.

Differences between each metric
We are going to explain in a simplified way, the differences between the metrics and what each one contemplates, with a focus on the Brazilian corporate market.

Boma area
It is the acronym for Building Owners and Managers Association. Today, it is the most used in negotiations in the corporate market, mainly by foreign companies that feel more secure in adopting American standards.

Briefly, the “Boma applied in Brazil” standard is the sum of all the private and common area of the property prorated proportionally to the occupants.

Common area
For this calculation, all other spaces that are outside the private area, which may or may not be freely accessible to unit owners, are considered. For example: halls, access, support and technical areas, among others. This calculation is done through apportionment.

In the case of corporate projects where parking spaces are not demarcated, they are not included in this calculation.

Private area
These are areas considered for the exclusive use of the owner or occupant. What we call the “door in”. Balconies and technical areas for air conditioning, for example, only enter into the composition of this calculation when they are inside the private area.

Private warehouses are also included, as are wall and pillar areas. Garage areas, on the other hand, as they are indeterminate in corporate buildings, do not fit into this metric.

Useful area
In most cases, it will be equal to or smaller than the private area because it excludes from the calculation some items such as balconies, projection of the areas of walls and pillars. It is also known as the “broom area”. In this case, it is important to pay attention when negotiating a property, as the usable area gives a more accurate notion of the internal space than the private area.

"Carpet" area
It is based on the useful area of the property, but subtracts the so-called “wet area” (which includes bathrooms, pantry, kitchen) and storage, if any. It is widely used in slab negotiations because it can calculate the efficiency of the office for the accommodation of furniture and employees.

Attention to the details!
As we've described, there are many details that must be evaluated and analyzed to compose a property's area metrics. In addition, it is necessary to know the building project in detail, as architectural and construction characteristics influence this result.

"Hence the importance of the future tenant or buyer always relying on the advice of specialized companies, which provide professionals with expertise to clarify, clear up doubts and effectively help the client to carry out the business that is more in line with their needs and with the best cost-benefit ratio" , comments Daniel Battistella.


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