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The International Property Measurement Standard (IPMS) is a standardised and globally applicable method for measuring property. This global method of measurement is being introduced gradually into Australia

How We Created an IPMS Survey for a commercial building in Australia


The International Property Measurement Standard (IPMS) is a standardised and globally applicable method for measuring property.  This global method of measurement is being introduced gradually into Australia to provide one shared measurement standard that can be used by all property stakeholders. IPMS is the new, widely accepted international standard for measuring property area.



Research has shown that a property’s floor area can vary by as much as 24% depending on the methods used to measure the lettable areas of a commercial property. 



The International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) aim is to ensure that property assets are measured in a consistent way, creating a more understandable plan for everyone. The IPMS is a standardised method that can be used globally to reduce inefficiency, confusion and errors. Learn more about our IPMS Services

Lettable Area Plan IPMS Sample from Realserve property surveying company in Australia of a commercial property with retail and office space


Seeing as it is an international standard large international corporations have seen benefit in adopting this methodology in Australia when structuring their lease documentation and records for a more comparable insight on returns between one commercial property in 1 country to another. IPMS methods also see an increase in the total lettable space by comparison to its australian counterpart due to the inclusions of lift lobbies, balconies and back of house accessways under single whole occupation circumstances.


Our client requested an IPMS 3 and PCA surveys as set out in the lease provisions between the landlord and incoming tenant for a new commercial build that was circa 9,500m2 and would comprise of;

  • Ground floor retail tenancies


  • 5 upper levels of commercial spaces


It was critical for Realserve to be able to deliver compliant surveys that would meet both local and international standards. We managed to do this through the construction phase that was at 80% practical completion and we had the project fully submitted within 2 weeks of the instruction to proceed.


Realserve has 20 years of experience dealing with commercial and retail property measurement so the team has expert knowledge when it comes to dealing with complex situations for property development or leasing. Using the latest measuring equipment included our Sokkia 5x Total Station and Traverse Kit we were able to quickly & accurately measure this development in Melbourne.


Our team will ensure there is proper due diligence applied when assessing the dominant features of each perimeter floor/space being assessed. Vertical dominance calculations must be applied to each surface to determine the correct placement of the lease line. Whether it be the internal finish of wall, sill or glazing line we have found on a number of occasions inline with our client’s best interests that incorrect lease line placements can cost you rentable m2 space.


By tenant areas such as amenities and interconnecting stairs found outside the main building core and within the internal commercial space though often appear as service areas are actually regarded as by tenant installations that can form part of the floor/spaces total NLA. No upsides as by tenant installations are usually installed after a lease has been signed and the space has been handed over to the tenant.


Lift lobbies that front directly onto office spaces are permitted into the NLA calculations under single whole occupied floor circumstances. Whereas lift lobbies that front other lifts or core service areas do not qualify. In the case that a lift lobby fronts a single-tenant it will be an upside for the lessor as the result will be an increase in the net lettable area which in turn means a higher return on rents.


The Realserve Team are experts when it comes to using the Australian Property Council Method of Measurement. Therefore it makes it relatively easy for us to interpret those guidelines in relation to the IPMS requirements. In this example there were some differences and learnings we discovered;

  • Vertical dominance assessed window by window under IPMS 3 as opposed to the whole spanning internal façade calculations found in the NLA class.
  • Balcony areas under single occupation are permitted in IPMS standards where the NLA class has them excluded under the classification of an external service area.
  • Inter-core accessways and lift lobbies under single occupation are also permitted under the IPMS standards whereby the NLA class has them excluded under the classification of a base building service area
  • IPMS 3 class vs the Australian industry PCA NLA class have on average bore floor areas 2% greater than their NLA counterparts.
  • Provisions for IPMS 3 surveys continue to come from international corporates as part of their internal lease requirement/strategies.
  • Determinations against glazed perimeters that angle both on a horizontal and vertical plane can be quite tricky. We found this hurdle along the northern and southern facades of this project – our solution was to traverse internally along the façade and fire a pair of pinpoint laser guided shots at the base of each panel of glazing. A total of 70 glazing panels were identified on each floor.


Realserve has experience across many different areas of property measurement and documentation. In this project our team could have also delivered the following services;


  • Reflected Ceiling Plan; once the building project was completed a reflected ceiling plan could have been done for each space to make property management easier by understanding the exact placement of services, lighting etc Learn about our Reflected Ceiling Plans

  • 3D Virtual Tour; for each tenancy being created for either the retail or commercial spaces typically the property owner or real estate agent will hire a photographer to take photos to be used to advertise the properties for lease. The Realserve team has the latest equipment to create 3D Virtual Tours of practically any type of industrial, retail or commercial space that can be used for marketing purposes and find tenants faster. Learn about our 3D Virtual Tours

  • Interactive 3D Floor Plans; When properties are empty or brand new, sometimes it can be difficult to visualise how the space can be used. Our Interactive 3D Floor Plans can enable you to accurately plan the fit out of your office or retail shop using virtual 3D technology to place items and layouts. Learn about our Interactive 3D Floor Plans 


Get more information about our range of IPMS SERVICES services.


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Take a look at our 3D Laser Scanning services in Australia

Realserve has a team of surveyors who can provide 3D Laser Scanning services in each capital city of Australia. We use use the latest cutting-edge equipment to produce a wide array of survey plans, point cloud data, Revit or Digital Twin 3D models. 3D laser scanning allows surveyors to provide as-built, existing condition, surveys that are incredibly accurate for internal or external spaces. 

Our qualified surveyors can play a pivotal role in any project with the use of laser scanning technologies to improve the plan, design, construction, management, renovation or refurbishment processes for any building type.