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Area Inclusion on Ground Floor based on Enclosure limit

March 31, 2015

Multi-story office building with Public Pedestrian Thoroughfare (PPT) established on the ground floor by the foot traffic of an urban setting; perimeter columns on the PPT side of the ground floor provide support to 2nd floor and above with ground floor tenant glass and doors set back 10 feet from building perimeter columns.

Based on the Enclosure Limit definition is it not reasonable to include the space between the outside surface of the perimeter columns and the current location of the tenant window in the rentable area of the building?

In this situation the current occupant window and door location are not anchored by any structural element such as a column, as depicted in the standard's illustration 10.3A, but are placed arbitrarily. We often encounter ground floor renovations that push the occupant area to the perimeter column face when requested by a tenant prospect. Excluding the area between the outside surface of the perimeter columns and the existing occupant glass line forces a building total rentable change in such situations, which is a burden to building owners and managers.

If the intent of the Enclosure limit is to establish a consistent boundary for measuring Interior Gross Area where the existing enclosure may be subject to modification should not the outside surface of the perimeter columns be the Enclosure Limit?

I have sent a PDF of the floor plan in question to the general email address: mail@xmeasures.com.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

David Fingret
Extreme Measures Inc.
April 1, 2015

Hi John,

The purpose of Enclosure Limit is to establish a consistent boundary for IGA at the time it is being established and not for a future time when it might change. The standard makes clear that it is subject to modification "within the limit". In other words, there is no unenclosed area type that could be part of the IGA and be reserved for future use.

You cannot include the unenclosed area between the columns and the window as part of the IGA. The IGA boundary should be to the outside surface on the side of the building with the Public Pedestrian Thoroughfare as per illustration 10.3.

The only unenclosed areas that may be included in the IGA are External Circulation, Exterior Door Setbacks and Unprotected Exterior Opening.


April 1, 2015

Hi David,

Thank you for your response. I have some follow-up below.

The Enclosure Limit definition below states that the determination of Enclosure Limit may be dependent upon conditions of a contract or agreement. If a building has wording in the lease that allows an Occupant to build an Exterior Enclosure to the outside surface of the perimeter column, does that not allow for the Enclosure Limit to be placed at the outside surface of the perimeter column?

"Enclosure Limit - A limit up to which an occupant has the right to build an exterior enclosure at a public pedestrian thoroughfare, as established by a contract, an agreement or a statutory constraint, or by a physical building element such as a change in floor elevation, a fascia, or a column face."

Thanks very much,

David Fingret
Extreme Measures Inc.
April 2, 2015

Hi John,

This is a very interesting question and a bit of a grey area as the standard seems to contradict itself.

We know that the BOMA Standard does not allow for any unenclosed areas to be included as part of the IGA except for the areas I mentioned above; however, the definition of Enclosure Limit seems to contradict this.

A BOMA analysis for the purpose of calculating rent should always be a snapshot in time and based on as-built information. But it seems reasonable that if and only if, the occupant or occupants have agreed to include in their Occupant Area an Exterior Enclosure prior to or at the time of accepting a lease agreement; AND it is permissible (by the owner, by the city, etc) to build the Exterior Enclosure to an established Enclosure Limit outside of the main walls on the ground floor and no further than the column line which supports the floor(s) above, it should be acceptable, since it does not negatively impact any other occupants in the building. In fact, it would be a benefit to other occupants because there would be less common area allocated to them.

It is critical however to reiterate that a landlord cannot simply decide one day to allocate area to their ground floor tenants beyond the already established Enclosure Limit. The tenant should have the right to build to an established Enclosure Limit from the beginning of their lease and there must be established approvals for the tenant to build out to the Enclosure Limit at any time of the tenant's choosing. I believe it would be a rare situation that all these conditions are met and I don't believe they are met in the scenario you have provided.

I have discussed this question with the other official BOMA interpreter and we agreed that the standard needs clarification. This will be submitted as a BOMA Best Practices Article and officially clarified at some point in the near future. For now, this is our interpretation.

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