Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

3.4 Area Measurement Questions and Answers

  1. Question: How should I report an area that is covered, but not enclosed, on all four sides?

    Answer: Areas that are permanently covered but not enclosed should be inventoried as assignable or nonassignable space depending upon the space use. Bounding the area with “phantom walls” along the drip line of the “cover” defines the area to be measured and added to the building’s gross area as well as to the assignable or Nonassignable Area, depending upon the use of the space. A space use, whether floored or not, that exists beyond the drip line of the covered area is not reported. Alternately, the area beneath a permanent cover that extends beyond a floored area is also not reported.

  2. Question: There is a permanent eating area, equipped with tables and chairs, which is located in a covered, unenclosed area of our Student Union Building. Is this space assignable even though the facility only has one wall? Should I count this space as part of the gross area?

    Answer: By creating “phantom walls,” you would classify this assignable area as Food Facility (630). This area should also be reported as part of the building’s gross area.

  3. Question: Should I inventory underground pedestrian tunnels and above-ground pedestrian bridges that connect buildings?

    Answer: They should be included as both gross area in your inventory and as nonassignable Circulation Area.

  4. Question: On our campus, we have “buildings” that are really contiguous structures built at different times to meet new needs. For example, a library wing was added to a classroom structure, and later a structure housing laboratories was added. However, they all share walls and are physically connected. Should these be inventoried as a single structure or several different buildings?

    Answer: It is preferable to treat each addition/wing as a separate structure, depending upon factors such as the source of the funds; the separation of each structure’s mechanical, electrical, or plumbing systems; the age differences of the two joined facilities, etc. If treated as separate structures, commonly shared walls would be prorated one-half with each of the respective facilities.

  5. Question: We have several houses that were converted into administrative offices. The uppermost usable floor has a vaulted ceiling. The floor to ceiling distance is 4’0” around the perimeter of the exterior rooms. Should the area be calculated from the edge of the kneewall? The ceiling height in the attic is 5’0” and contains HVAC equipment. Should this space be considered a Building Service area?

    Answer: The area on the uppermost usable floor with a vaulted ceiling should be included in that floor’s gross area. Since assignable area includes any interior space having 3'0? or more of ceiling height, in your case, the assignable area would be measured from the smallest floor to ceiling distance—the 4’0” kneewall of the space. Attic space used for administrative offices should be categorized as Office (310). Attic space containing HVAC equipment should be designated as nonassignable Utility/Mechanical Space (Y04).