Square Footage- 12″ x 12″ right?

Measuring square footage has never been more complex than now. Yet in every project we design, it is among the most critical elements.
The means to establish the size of a building or unit within the building varies from location to location though falls under certain national standards that are blissfully ignored.
Condos, coops, commercial buildings, single family residential houses all abide by different criteria when it comes to the discussion of size.

Naturally when you want to sell, you want that property to be large and convey a greater sense of value- so in this case- bigger is better…But…what happens when the tax assessor rolls around with his mandate from the Mayor to re-assess local property and buildings?  Then you want the property to shrink- and small seems very attractive.
Add to the mix, the fact that the type of ownership, influences the way the space is measured. For example most condos- the square footage is measured from outer walls to mid demising wall and exterior envelope. How about a coop, in which the owner actually owns shares of a building or property? These are typically measured “paint to paint” and a pro-rated portion of common areas: lobby,  halls, mechanical rooms etc.

Commercial spaces are even more complex with common-with bathrooms-elevators-entering the mix-not all of which are not used evenly by commercial owners and tenants.
Image result for arguing over square footage
In the ANSI standard  (American National Standards Institute), ANSI Z765-2003-used by many appraisers, square footage is calculated by measuring the outside perimeter of the structure and includes only finished, habitable, above-grade living space. But like many things, if it is just an academic norm used by one profession,  how much value does it contain?

So in speaking to several land-use and real estate lawyers and real estate professionals, the consensus seems to be: state the parameters by which the space is measured -which should be in accordance with the prevailing local customs, and list the actual portions of the property or building to establish the reasoning for the total discussed.

Sheeeesh! Measure carefully and call Steven Secon Architect 914 980 5532.