Measuring the Floor Area of Tall Buildings: Industry Need for a New Standard

Dario Trabucco
Research Manager
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Venice

Over time, the building industry has evolved and adapted to accommodate the new needs of the occupants in residential and office settings. These adaptations include changes to conventional structures, such as using an efficient diagrid system or offsetting the columns from the façade into the interior space, which can allow for more views and lighting. Also, workspaces have largely progressed to an era where open space is emphasized, instead of private offices lining the exterior. This alteration can make a space more efficient and has influenced the incorporation of more social and public space to maintain office moral and encourage tenants with optimal conditions.

Although these changes are largely seen as positive and progressive, they can majorly impact the space that is actually usable for working and living. Currently, the existing - and internationally accepted - methods for measuring floor area often include elements, such as structural members, window ledges, tight spaces in corners or behind columns, and even the thickness of exterior curtain walls. With the inclusion of all of this additional floor space, buildings can be affected by serious overcrowding issues, which can affect the comfort of inhabitants and present major problems to how a building functions, such as increasing the load on elevators, air conditioning, and plumbing.

This presentation introduces a new method for measuring the “real” usable space in tall buildings. This can help building developers and managers know exactly how much space they are selling to their tenants, as well as help vertical transportation and MEP consultants anticipate the population of the building that will be using their systems.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation