Magazine article Journal of Property Management

IPMS SSC: Setting the Global Standard

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

IPMS SSC: Setting the Global Standard

Article excerpt

The International Property Measurement Standards Coalition's Standards Setting Committee (IPMSC SSC) recently met in Johannesburg, South Africa to continue its work on developing a set of globally recognized and accepted standards to measure the area of a building.

This effort was initiated by the World Bank in 2013 in order to facilitate the burgeoning international trade in investment real estate. The effort is sponsored and supported by over 80 professional and industry advocacy and educational organizations from all parts of the world, including IREM.



IREM is dedicated to providing education and advocacy to professionals engaged in the real estate industry. Since its founding, it has promoted best practices and high professional standards among its members, bringing much needed transparency and consistency to a process that is extremely local. The U.S. frequently references the BOMA space measurement standards, or perhaps one of the more regional standards of measurement, such as the Real Estate Board of New York's standards--but even these standards aren't necessarily applied properly--so imagine how much more confusing it can be to properly apply these standards in foreign markets. By supporting the IPMS effort, IREM is helping to bring a global standard to all markets.

When the Standards Setting Committee was established by the IPMSC, a world-wide search was conducted to identify and appoint subject matter experts who would bring the requisite knowledge, expertise and commitment to create this universal tool for the real estate investment industry. Since the first assemblage of the selected team members in Belgium in mid-2013, the SSC has completed the development and publication of the standards for office and residential properties, and has recently released the industrial standard for public comment. The meeting in Johannesburg was convened to begin the development process for the retail standard. Normally, the SSC's general meetings, which are scheduled almost every month, are conducted via conference call, a practical necessity since the 19 committee members are located across the entire time-zone spectrum. The initiation of a new standard warrants a deeper, more detailed effort to establish the critical parameters and aspects for that standard. The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) generously offered to host the SSC for the week-long session.


As with its previous efforts, the SSC began by reporting on and comparing the various standards that are already in place in different markets. It has been a hallmark of the SSC not to rely on any existing standard, in keeping with its mandate to create a neutral standard. However, evaluating the different local standards, and understanding all of the elements and logic which support those standards, provides a strong baseline from which the SSC can move its program forward. In order to review and compare the different approaches that could be applied in a retail standard, SAPOA arranged for the SSC to inspect three retail centers that spanned the spectrum of retail property types. Sandton City Center was selected to represent enclosed shopping malls. Its many distinctive architectural design features, history of expansions and variety of tenant types offered an excellent laboratory to evaluate many variations that such centers would have. …

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