Leasing Office Space: Understanding the Common Area Factor

When business owners find office space to rent, they may run into a difficult time understanding the common area factor and how it pertains to rentable vs. usable square feet. This can be confusing at first but once you get a handle on how these two measuring qualities relate and dictate the results, you will find that renting the right size office space to be an easily achievable goal.

What Is The Common Area Factor?

Many people have heard of the common area in a commercial building. It is the area of the commercial space which is shared with other commercial tenants in the office building. There are two common area factors, the floor common area factor and the building common area factor. The floor common area factor refers to the single floor only where the business tenant leases commercial office space while the building common area factor relates to those common areas which all tenants in the commercial office building have access to and are able to use. The total common area factor which you are given by the office space landlord for information prior to leasing the office space is the sum of both of these common areas.

Understanding Rentable Vs. Usable Square Feet

It is important to understand the difference between rentable and usable square feet prior to renting office space. Rentable square feet is the amount of square footage which you pay rent for. This includes all areas of the interior building space which you pay for such as the office area, restroom, closets, etc. Your commercial office space rent will be the rentable square footage multiplied by the square footage lease rate.

As for usable square feet, this calculation relates to the amount of space you put to use. This will also include the doors and structural walls as well. If you share restrooms with other tenants, you will have to pay a portion of the price for those facilities in addition to any other common areas.

Ensuring That Your Square Footage Calculations Are Accurate

The aspects of common area factor, rentable square feet and usable square feet can be a bit confusing, even when provided with the general overview of such concepts. The best way to ensure that you have a good grasp on these concepts and that you know exactly what you are renting and what you are ultimately paying for, having a tenant representative by your side is essential.

The tenant representative will explain these factors in great detail for you and help you to negotiate with your landlord to ensure that you are getting exactly what you are paying for. These concepts can be even trickier if you lease more than one floor of an office building and need to know what you are paying for and whether or not your commercial office space budget will allow for such rentals.

Many get the hang of the common area factor, usable square footage and rental square footage after leasing office space a few times. However, having a tenant representative along to help will definitely make the leasing process much simpler for most office space tenants.

BOMA Standard for Measuring Office Space

Before you even think about renting office space, chances are that you want to have the measurements so that you can obtain the proper size office space for your company or corporation.  Therefore, it is essential that you not only have approximate office space measurements but exact office space measurements.  The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) has created the proper standard for measuring office space.

Usable Area for Measurement Purposes

In ascertaining measurements, the usable area is the part of the office which can be occupied.  When determining the usable area of office space one should measure starting at the side of office space and corridors (those with a permanent wall) and move to the partitions centers.  You then take all usable area measurements and add them together to get the total amount of usable area.

Floor Rentable Area for Measurement Purposes

The floor rentable area is the area of the rented premises which the tenant can use.  The measurements for this area are taken from the inner finished surfaces of outer walls, without taking into account corridor walls or structures in the area.  Rentable area and usable area can be converted to one another by using the common area feature in measurements.

Common Area for Measurement Purposes

The common area of a building relates to the areas which are not technically included in the office area but can still be used by office space tenants.  In other words, adding the pro rata common area space to the floor rentable area space will provide the gross rentable area.

Common Area Factor for Measurement Purposes

An important calculation is the common area factor which creates a ratio of the rentable area to usable area of office space.  This loss factor or load factor shows what percentage of the office area can be used as the office space.  The R/U -1 ratio will dictate what part of the office space can be used by the tenant.

Reasons for Measuring Office Space

The calculations for measuring office space may seem a bit confusing at first but when you put the measurements into their proper ratio format, you will see that the resulting measurements are quite easy to come by.  There are a few different reasons why office space tenants would want to calculate the measurements of prospective office space.

First, by doing so, the business owner can determine how much the rental will cost and if it will be worth the money based on the amount of office space being rented.  Secondly, by measuring office space the future commercial office space tenant can ensure that there will be plenty of room to accommodate all employees and carry out the business in an efficient manner by doing so in a proper amount of office space.

Before you lease office space, it is important to determine how much space you will be getting in a particular rental.  By using the BOMA standard for measuring office space, you can ensure that your future rental is the perfect one for your needs.