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Not All Square Footage Is Created Equal

Gross, Rentable (RSF) or Useable Square Feet (USF)?

In simple terms, the square footage of a building defines the physical size and boundaries of a space. Because this is the common denominator of all commercial space throughout the country, you would assume it is measured using one standard system.

Every market measures buildings differently.  However, there are three types of square footage calculations for a multi-tenant office building. 

1.  Gross Square Footage. It is the measurement from the outside wall of the building to the opposite outside wall of the building.  

2.  Rentable Square Footage. This calculation is a little complicated. First the floors are measured inside wall to inside wall. Then, any vertical penetrations of the floor are subtracted from this number.  

3.  Useable Square Footage. This is a complicated calculation also. The space is measured from the inside wall of common corridors to the midpoint of common walls between tenants to the dominant interior surface of the exterior wall. 


Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) maintains a suite of floor measurement standards for a variety of property types, including Office, Retail, Industrial, Gross Areas, Multi-Unit Residential and Mix Use. 

Make sure you understand the facts before you sign a lease.

Signing a long-term lease for office space can get confusing — and expensive — very quickly.

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Is finding office space a simple process?

How visible is my space to visitors?


Exposure and visibility are many companies’ primary sources of growth, so making sure that your commercial office space is in a location where it can be seen or easily located could be crucial.  

Who are the other tenants in the building?


It's important to understand who the other tenants are for various reasons. Possibility the other companies could pose a threat (direct competition) or they could benefit your company if their services compliment yours. 

What is the after-hours protocol of the building?


This is important not only because it directly contributes to the safety and security of your space, but accommodates those employees that work late or come in on the weekends. 

Is the building wired to support my business needs?


As the needs of businesses grow and change, so does the need for access to Wi-Fi, high-speed internet, fiber optics, video conference lines, and other modern technologies. 

What is the landlord’s build-out policy?


It's very important to get clear direction and standards on what your landlord considers to be acceptable and unacceptable as far as build-out’s go.

Where are the employee and customer parking?


The last thing you want is customers and/or employees feeling frustrated as they circle the area trying to find a place to park. 

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