IPMS: Industrial

Shape the future

18 October 2016

Alexander Aronsohn introduces IPMS for Industrial Buildings

Since the publication of IPMS for Office Buildings and IPMS for Residential Buildings, the IPMS Standards Setting Committee (SSC) has been working hard on IPMS for Industrial Buildings, the third building class in the suite of international property measurement standards.


To meet the needs of the industrial market, the measurement practice has been revised

As it has with all previous IPMS consultation documents, the SSC has been refining definitions and adding new ones to ensure that the industrial building standard is fit for purpose and meets the market’s needs. Informed by feedback it has received during the consultation process for IPMS for Residential Buildings, the SSC has also revised the definitions of both internal dominant face (IDF) and vertical sections to make them more user-friendly. The definition of IDF is now as follows:

'The inside Finished Surface comprising more than 50% of the floor to ceiling height for each IDF Wall Section. If such does not occur, then the Finished Surface is deemed to be the IDF.'

Moreover, the SSC felt that vertical section was incorrectly titled – particularly when a number of markets tried to translate the term into their own language – and has therefore changed this term to IDF wall section and revised the definition as follows:

'The internal finish of a section of an External Wall, ignoring the existence of any columns, that is either recessed from or protrudes from its adjacent section.'

The SSC is committed to revising these definitions across all building classes when the first edition of the IPMS suite is completed towards the end of 2017.

The SSC has also considered necessary definitions that are more or less unique to this building class. It has therefore devised 6 additional definitions, which are particularly useful for the measurement of industrial buildings.

  1. Covered area: the extent at ground level of the area of a building covered by 1 or more roofs, the perimeter of which – sometimes referred to as the drip line – is the outermost structural extension, exclusive of ornamental overhangs.
  2. Catwalk: an internal or external walkway above the surrounding area that provides higher-level access.
  3. Clearance height: the maximum height in a building or section of a building, measured to the lowest point of the roof structural element or building equipment such as ducting, gantries, pipework or sprinklers.
  4. Loading bay(s): area(s) designed for vehicles next to or adjacent to a loading dock.
  5. Loading dock(s): elevated platform(s) at an opening of a building that is designed for receiving or dispatching goods or equipment.
  6. Mezzanine: an intermediate or partial storey, other than a catwalk, between the floor levels or roof of a building, and usually fully or partially open on one or more sides.

As with the previous IPMS for Office and Residential Buildings, the criterion of IPMS 1, which is equivalent to gross external area, retains the following definition:

'The total of the areas of each floor level of a Building measured to the outer perimeter of external construction features, which may be reported on a Component-by-Component basis for each floor of a Building.'

However, in order to meet the needs of the industrial market, the measurement practice has been revised to state that:

'In the absence of external construction features, for example an open-sided Building or a free-standing canopy, IPMS 1 is to be measured to the Covered Area.'

The definition of the covered area is a measurement that is also included, although it is stated separately so users have the flexibility to compare these measurements with previous ones on a like-for-like basis.

Limited-use areas

The SSC has also included three further examples of limited-use areas (see box, below) to meet industrial measurement needs.

Examples of limited use areas

Example 2 – Clearance Height: Parts of a Building with restricted height may need to be separately identified, in which case the Clearance Height is to be stated.

Example 5 – Area difference from Covered Area: Where the Covered Area outside the External Walls is not functional for the primary use, this part of the Covered Area may be classified as a Limited-Use Area.

Example 6 – Miscellaneous: Parts of industrial Buildings might be taken to have limited use for other reasons such as floor loading capacity or contamination.

As you may know from the previous IPMS, limited-use areas constitute all or part of a floor area that is not fully available for the primary use.

IPMS for Industrial Buildings also includes the revisions to IPMS Residential Buildings and a new technical section that not only links the sum of the component area to IPMS 1 but also connects the sum of the component areas minus 'Component Area B1 – the external Wall' to IPMS 2 – Industrial Buildings. In all other matters, IPMS 2 – Industrial Buildings is more or less identical to the previous IPMS, and is still defined as the total of the areas of each floor level of a building measured to the IDF.

Measurement bases

Finally, in respect of IPMS 3 – Industrial Buildings, the measurement standard for exclusive occupation, the SSC identified 2 different measurement bases, IPMS 3A – Industrial, and IPMS 3B – Industrial, to meet global market needs. The committee also recognised that, whereas some markets may only use 1 of these bases, others may use both.

However, both these bases are defined as the floor area available on an exclusive basis to an occupier. IPMS 3A – Industrial Buildings is

'that part of the Covered Area in exclusive occupation measured to its perimeter, to the Finished Surface of walls shared with Common Facilities, if any, and, where appropriate, to the centre line of shared walls between occupants'.

It should also be noted that the part of the covered area outside the external walls is included in IPMS 3A but must also be measured and stated separately, and in some circumstances IPMS 3A will equal IPMS 1.

IPMS 3B – Industrial Buildings is

'that part of the Building in exclusive occupation measured to the IDF Wall Section of external construction features and otherwise to the Finished Surface, and, where appropriate, to the centre line of shared walls between occupants'.

In some circumstances, IPMS 3B will equal IPMS 2.

The SCC hopes that you will all be pleased with the improved clarity of the IPMS for Industrial Buildings. Further details on the industrial standard and copies of both the consultation document and response form can be found on the IPMSC website. The consultation for IPMS for Industrial Buildings finished on 30 September 2016; it is expected to publish some time in 2017.

Alexander Aronsohn FRICS is RICS Director of Technical International Standards and Executive Secretary of the IPMS SSC

Further information