How can we tell if the measurements of a property are accurate?
Property Clinic: your queries answered
If the selling agent is a member of a professional body then you can be assured that the measurements were carried out in accordance with best practice within the industry. Photograph: Istock
Q: We are house hunting and reading a lot of estate agent property details and measurements. Is there is a standard way that these are calculated? We’ve come across cases where balconies are included in the living space measurements. Surely that’s not right. How can we verify for ourselves just how much space is available?
A: The first thing that you should do when viewing a property with an agent is to ensure that everything is above board. Check if the selling agent has a PSRA (Property Services Regulatory Authority) licence and secondly is a member of a professional body such as the SCSI (Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland) and/or IPAV (Institute of Property Auctioneers & Valuers).
If the selling agent is a member of a professional body then you can be assured that the individual who measured the property for the brochure and the online marketing has carried it out it in accordance with best practice within the industry.
That is, they have measured it using the measuring guidance notes as set out by the professional body for residential property: Gross Internal Area (GIA). In essence, this means that the agent has measured from the internal face of the perimeter walls at each floor level and in each room and on top of that when arriving at the overall floor area they have included internal walls whether they are load bearing or not.
Also, when it comes to smaller areas such as bay windows, balconies etc it is good practice for the agent to state whether s/he has included these in the room measurements and/or the overall floor area of the property in question.
Finally, if you are really concerned about the floor area of a house and you go sale agreed on it, have a word with your surveyor/architect and have them verify the measurements during their survey. It might cost you a little more but it is money well spent if you have concerns in this area.
Marcus O’Connor is a Chartered Surveyor estate agent and property manager scsi.ie