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Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

6.5.4 Differences Between Commercial Measurement Systems, FICM, and Architectural/ Engineering/ Construction (A/E/C) Practice

The measurement approach used in the FICM is, generally, more tenant-oriented than landlord-oriented.

  • Like most landlord-oriented systems, FICM does not deduct interior columns and projections.
  • Like the old GSA system, FICM measures physical space that is actually usable for a given activity or occupant. For example, FICM measures to the face of interior walls, unlike landlord-oriented systems, which attempt to recoup every interior square foot of area in the form of rent by measuring to the centerline of walls. The result is that the FICM approach results in a smaller square-foot area than typical landlord-oriented systems—often by as much as 10 percent.
  • Similar to the above, FICM measures to the face of the exterior wall, or to the face of the front of a convector running along the floor in front of the exterior windows. Most landlord-oriented systems measure to the dominant portion of an exterior wall, usually to the glass line in modern buildings.
  • “Construction area” is not ignored in FICM. It is measured by subtracting a floor’s measured “gross area” from the floor’s net usable area—the latter determined by the sum of the internally measured Net Assignable Area and nonassignable area—each measurement term being specifically defined in FICM.
  • Like most commercial systems, but unlike what architects and builders often do, FICM counts the area of multistory spaces (such as atriums, large lecture halls, etc.) only once. For example, a six-story atrium measuring 1,000 square feet on its lowest level would be counted as 1,000 square feet in FICM, but perhaps as much as 50 percent higher when accounted by an A/E.