How Big is My Building
Ron Williams in Commercial Office Buildings, real estate

Gensler’s new BOMA standard identification tool

In 1915 Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International introduced a building measurement standard that became the most prominently used standard of its kind in the United States and many other countries. This first standard was initially intended to measure only office buildings, specifically office space. However, this made it difficult to apply to buildings with specific use types such as industrial, residential, warehouse, and parking structures. BOMA recognized that an expanded definition was necessary to accommodate these scenarios and more. In 2000 BOMA responded to these needs by embarking on a long-term objective to expand on their building measurement standards.

Today, BOMA International publishes six different standards for building measurement. While this allows for more consistent and reliable metrics, Gensler’s Area Analysis team has seen clients struggle in their attempts to determine which standard(s) to apply to their building(s). When conducting floor area measurement studies, we typically uncover a 10-20% discrepancy in building measurements for our clients. This can mean the difference of thousand or even millions of dollars, depending on property or portfolio size. Having analyzed over 1.2 billion square feet of space, we have wrestled with applying the old and new BOMA standards to nearly every kind of property imaginable. Choosing the appropriate standard(s) at the project’s inception and understanding how specific standard metrics work is tantamount to the success of building measurement analysis.

As a result, we’ve taken on the challenge of simplifying this selection process for our team and our clients. After familiarizing ourselves with the nuances of each standard through numerous client projects, we mapped out the different building-use scenarios. Then we turned that information into an interactive tool to walk users through the process of selecting the proper BOMA standard(s). As a member of the BOMA Floor Area Measurement Committee, I’ve vetted this tool within Gensler and BOMA. Now we’re ready to share it with you. The next time you wonder, “How big is my building?” you’ll know where to start looking for answers.

Try the tool by clicking here!

From chaos to clarity: mapping out the standard selection process

Ron Williams leads the Area Analysis team for Gensler’s Real Estate Owners and Managers practice. His real estate knowledge and entrepreneurial experiences give him a unique approach to information management. His focus is to not only provide clients with the numbers they need, but a strategy-orientated solution. Contact him at or call him directly at 608.796.4364 or 844.412.9251.
Article originally appeared on architecture and design (
See website for complete article licensing information.