“A Short Guide On The Building Owners And Managers Association International (BOMA)”

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Properties and buildings must adhere to certain types of measurements and codes. These codes are specific to the market you are catering. Building certain types of properties does not mean you just go around putting floor after floor to create a tall building.

Is it rental, commercial, or is it a mixed-use property? The building measurements and codes will be different for each property type. You have to make sure to keep in mind that the properties you build adhere to the specific building measurements and codes that are required for each type of building.

If you are not yet familiar with the particular measurements and codes that is where BOMA can help. BOMA has all the standard measurements when it comes to buildings and what you need to know regarding building codes.

And today, I’ll be providing you a short guide on what you should know regarding BOMA International. I’ll also cover in this article how BOMA serves property managers like you.

Understanding BOMA And BOMA Standards

When navigating through the development of commercial property a resource to follow in completing the building correctly would be the Building Owners and Managers Assoc International or more commonly known as the BOMA. BOMA is a respected organization in existence since 1907 that publishes and provides International building codes and standards for commercial property development.

When using BOMA standards as a property developer this organization can help to guide to find solutions when it comes to problems regarding building measurements and codes. Through their experience and status in the International commercial building codes, you are able to rely on BOMA developed standards in giving you the specific building measurement and codes that would suit your property.

But, before I continually elaborate on the work they do, let us get to know first what is BOMA.

What Does BOMA International Stand For?

The BOMA, or Building Owners and Managers Association International, is a federation composed of 90 building owners and managers association. It is located in the U.S. along with 18 international affiliates. BOMA was founded in 1907 and it represents the owners and the managers of all commercial property types.

BOMA’s mission revolves around advancing a vibrant commercial real estate industry through advocacy, influence, and knowledge. They are the primary source of information in the commercial real estate building development with a specialty in the following areas:





Building operating costs

Energy consumption patterns

Local and national building codes


Occupancy statistics

Technological developments

Other industry trends

BOMA International’s members consist of the following organizations that are made up of the following types of professionals that contribute and help to develop the BOMA mission and standards:

  • building owners
  • managers
  • developers
  • leasing professionals
  • corporate facility managers
  • asset managers
  • providers of the products and services needed to operate commercial properties

The Standards For Measuring Buildings And Properties

Beginning in 1907 and continuing to today the BOMA has been the leading association in development and building of commercial properties in both the United States and now Internationally. In a span of 100 years, BOMA International has already set the standard for measuring different types of commercial buildings.

The BOMA published the first Standard Method of Floor Measurement for Office Buildings in 1915 and has since continuously revised the standards to reflect the ever-changing needs of the real estate industry and the evolution of office building designs.

The BOMA Standards have now been revised to include 8 standards for measuring buildings which have been internationally recognized and adopted. The following sections will detail the 8 BOMA standards along with what each of the standards includes…

1. Best Practices Floor Measurement

The best practices for floor measurement is a standard that allows developers and architects to design and when completed construction advertise exact spaces for commercial office building projects. The best practices for floor measurement has been approved and adopted by the Floor Measurement Standards Committee of BOMA International. The best practices floor management provides guidance and regulations in measuring commercial office spaces in all commercial building developments.

Unfortunately, these Best Practices do not modify the BOMA published ANSI (American National Standards Institute)/BOMA Z65.X Suite of Standards. But they may still be considered for inclusion in the future updates of those publications.

However, the provisions of the section of the Legal Notice page of ANSI/BOMA Z65.X are still included in the Best Practices by reference.

Here are two samples stating question for use and applicable solution references of the best practices floor management that the BOMA International offers and how to research and find them for use in your commercial buildings:

  • BOMA Best Practices #1 – Single Tenant Building

Question: What BOMA standard should be used for measuring the floor area of an office building that belongs entirely to one single occupant?

Find regulations and standards for application in the following:

BOMA 2010 Office Standard (ANSI/BOMA Z65.1-2010)

BOMA Gross Area Standard (ANSI/BOMA Z65.3-2009)

  • BOMA Best Practices #2 – Chart 2 @ IGA Boundary

Question: The BOMA Office Standard has always stated that the area of a Major Vertical Penetration includes the thickness of its enclosing walls. Is that true even when a Major Vertical Penetration is next to an exterior building wall? How about other classes of space listed in the Wall Priority Diagram (Chart #2) of the BOMA 2010 Office Standard?

Find regulations and standards for application in the following:

BOMA 2010 Office Standard (ANSI/BOMA Z65.1-2010)

2. Office Buildings: Standard Methods of Measurement (ANSI/BOMA Z65.1-2010)

The 2nd BOMA standard of measurement for commercial office buildings includes a new method called Single Load Factor Method. It’s a calculation that can be applied to the occupant area of each floor in order to determine the rentable area. The standard also offers a new class of space.

The “Occupant Storage” is used for measuring certain occupant areas in a building.

The 2010 Office Standard also includes regional leasing practices intended for tropical climates. The practices allow for enclosure requirements and limited (unenclosed) circulation.

3. Industrial Buildings: Standard Methods of Measurement (ANSI/BOMA Z65.2-2012)

The next standard methods of measurement for industrial buildings include measurement information for determining as well as calculating the rentable area of the industrial spaces available. The measurement information can be used for both single and multiple occupancies and in both single and multistory buildings.

There are also 22 common terms included with definitions that are used in industrial building management. These common terms have been adopted and are used in the construction and measurement of industrial buildings.

Illustrations of measurement standards are provided throughout the ANSI/BOMA standards. These illustrations are meant to demonstrate the different measurement methodologies. There is also information regarding areas or items that should be excluded in floor area calculations.

4. Gross Areas of a Building: Standard Methods of Measurement (ANSI/BOMA Z65.3-2009)

The BOMA standard methods of measurement for gross areas of a building provide a uniform basis from which to compute, communicate and compare the measurement of buildings. The measurement standard details procedures regarding the measurement of construction gross area and exterior gross area of buildings.

Procedures for measurement of the gross area provide an unequivocal and direct measurement of the physical size of the building. There are also 37 illustrations and 19 definitions included in the BOMA standard that has been adopted industry-wide.

The construction gross area includes all areas of the building that have floor or are covered by a roof which is included in the total area that is defined as the exterior gross area. Additional areas considered as construction gross areas are defined as the following:

  • Areas where a structural floor can be found.
  • Areas covered by a roof.
  • A canopy that is typically unenclosed but with but is located within the building parameter.

The exterior gross area, on the other hand, is the total floor area that is contained within the measuring line. This measuring line is generally outside the surface of the exterior enclosure of the building. The exterior gross area also includes the structured parking for the commercial building.

Both methods are useful and can be applied to:

  • either new or existing buildings
  • single or multiple stories of the building
  • the building that is owner-occupied or leased
  • all types of occupancies and uses.

5. Multi-Unit Residential Buildings: Standard Methods of Measurement (ANSI/BOMA Z65.4-2010)

The measurement standard developed for Multi-Unit residential buildings provides a uniform methodology for computing, comparing, communicating the measurement of multi-unit residential buildings. There is also an unequivocal direct measure of the physical size of the floor area of a multi-residential building.

Two measurement methods are offered in the BOMA standards for measuring Multi-Unit residential buildings:

  • The Gross Method. This method generally measures unit gross area.
  • The Net Method. This method generally measures unit net areas.

The standard features illustrations, worksheets and will include 36 definitions of measurement terms. Further explanation is contained in the ANSI/BOMA standards detailing Multi-Unit residential buildings…

6. Retail Buildings: Standard Methods of Measurement (ANSI/BOMA Z65.5-2010)

The BOMA standards also have a standard measurement for Retail buildings. You won’t be troubled anymore when it comes to measuring and calculating the rental rates of a retail space like shopping centers, strip malls, and other retail commercial structures. The standard methods of measurement for the retail building have an unequivocal direct measure of the physical size of a retail building’s floor area.

A uniform methodology for computing, communicating and comparing the measurement of the gross leasable area in retail buildings is included in the BOMA standard. The methodology will provide a consistent, unambiguous measurement of the gross leasable area for retail buildings.

7. Mixed-Use Properties: Standard Methods of Measurement (ANSI/BOMA Z65.6-2012)

When dealing with a mixed-use commercial property the BOMA standards have Mixed-Use Property standards that help in consistently clarifying floor areas of mixed-use properties into use components, parking components, and mixed-use common areas. It can help measure the exterior gross areas of use components like offices, industrial, retail, and even multi-unit residential use components.

The rentable area, gross leasable areas, or unit areas of mixed-use properties is individually measured using the standard measurements provided by BOMA International.

This standard can also help measure the exterior gross area of use components like hotels, theaters, institutional and civic uses, and of parking components. The BOMA measurement standard helps in measuring the exterior gross areas of mixed-use common areas. It will also fairly allocate areas among all use components and parking components of a mixed-use property.


BOMA International is a founding member of IPMSC or the International Property Measurement Standards Coalition. IPMSC is an international group where professional and not-for-profit organizations are working together to develop and implement the global standards for measuring real property.

Through the adoption of the standard measurement provided by IPMSC, property assets will be measured in a consistent way. This will now create a more transparent marketplace with stronger investor confidence and an increased market stability.

BOMA Building Codes And Voluntary Standards

BOMA International has an advocacy team that will keep members updated on the challenges the industry will face especially the upcoming development of national codes. They assist state and local builders and developers when it comes to identifying significant changes from one code edition to the other. Additionally, they assist members in determining answers to code questions when it comes to projects being developed and provided to members.

Here are what’s included in the BOMA building codes and voluntary standards.

Federal Accessibility Guidelines

The BOMA federal accessibility guidelines are guidelines supporting the “next generation” of accessibility requirements found in new commercial buildings and alterations. The guidelines have conditions that must meet the current Department of Justice standards (2010 ADA Standards).

State and Local Code Adoption Resources & Policies

The BOMA also provides resources that will outline the most significant changes in the commercial real estate industry. These changes can positively and can also negatively affect the commercial real estate industry building development and construction.

OSHA Final Rule and Regulations Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems)

The BOMA also supports a unit that helps developers and members navigate and meet the OSHA rules and regulations that are set up and meant to increase the safety of workers. Through their guidance unit, the BOMA helps limit the number of accidents relating to the use of stairs, ladders and work surfaces that are elevated. The rules and regulations will apply to all buildings and facilities.

National Model Code Development Activity

BOMA International ensures that members have all the tools and resources they will need to ensure that members can advocate for the development of commercial buildings at the state and local level successfully.

Through the national model code development cycle, BOMA encourages all ICC Governmental members to consider positions for supporting all code changes that are necessary. Especially those code changes that will protect the health, safety, and welfare of tenants, building occupants and the first responders in the built environment.

Codes and Standards Developer Websites Links

BOMA is also on the cutting edge of technology with their make up of web-based resources that help commercial building developers navigate the State and International building codes and standards.

Below is a list of all website links for all codes can be found through the BOMA. Three types of organizations are provided. This list also includes government sites.

  • MODEL CODE ORGANIZATIONS: International Code Council, National Fire Protection Association, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials,
  • STANDARDS ORGANIZATIONS: American National Standards Institute, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, International Window Cleaning Association
  • RELATED ORGANIZATIONS: National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards
  • GOVERNMENT SITES: United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, United States Department of Justice, United States Access Board, United States Access Board ADAAG Review Advisory Committee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, The General Services Administration/Public Buildings Service, Library of Congress — Thomas

Final Thoughts On A Short Guide To Understanding BOMA

In this blog post, we talked about BOMA, and how they help property managers. When you build a property, you will need measurements and codes to make sure you follow the standard methods. If you don’t have any knowledge regarding this matter, then BOMA International can help you. They provide their members with standards that can help them measure and identify which measurement is needed for their building or their property.

BOMA International also have building codes that you will need for your properties to make sure you adhere to state and local rules and regulations. We have also covered the specific codes that will suit each type of property that is managed by property managers.

If you have any questions or comments about BOMA, please use the comment section below.




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ARTICLE: A Short Guide On The Building Owners And Managers Association International (BOMA)

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