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What space classification is a rooftop terrace?

Colleen Hazelrigs
Hazelrigs Architecture
August 22, 2020

Hello, I am applying the 2017 Office, Method B to a building with a rooftop terrace and am not clear on what space classification to give it. I am creating calculations for a 10-story, 127k USF building, with a 6k SF rooftop terrace on one floor that is accessible only to the users of the adjacent space.

The BOMA 2017 Office Standard Fact Sheet says that “ … finished rooftop terraces that are for exclusive use by a tenant may now be included in the rentable square footage calculation.” This, at first look, seems to imply that such a terrace would be classified as tenant space, usable space. The terrace in my project is for exclusive use by the tenant adjacent to it, so it applies to my project (the building is a single-tenant building, which suggests using Gross Area of a Building Standard, but that standard does not create a load factor, which is a whole other issue.

Best Practices #23, that Extreme Measures contributed, addresses the boundary condition, but not the space classification, and clarifies that Office 2017 defines a rooftop terrace as a non-compulsory feature of the building that the landlord has chosen to construct. This applies to my project.

3.3 Special Conditions, Unenclosed Building Features, says that a Finished Rooftop Terrace must be a component of the building that is not used specifically by any one occupant. This does NOT apply to this building, and is contrary to the Fact Sheet. The terrace is accessible only to this adjacent space. It would be possible to make it accessible to other "tenants", but the intent is to present the calculation as a single-tenant building.

3.3 continues,” it may be designated Building Service Area, Building Amenity Area, Inter-building Service Area, or inter-building Amenity Area, according to each of their own provisions.” But these classifications are not “occupant area” classifications. The terrace SF in these classifications adds to the load on usable space. But the terrace is not building service in that it does not provide necessary services or circulation for the operation of the floor or building.

It is not an amenity area because it is not convertible to tenant space.

So, my questions are:
1. Which applies? “Exclusive use by a tenant,” or “Not used specifically by any one occupant”?

2. Which space classification? Tenant usable space, or service area? Is it usable space or load space? Best Practices #23 calls it “non-compulsory” which is antithetical to “Service” areas that are necessary for the building. "Non-compulsory is the language used for an amenity, but, as above, it is not convertible to tenant space.

3. Does the statement in the Fact Sheet allowing inclusion of a rooftop terrace into the rentable square footage calculation just mean that the SF can be added to the total SF in the spreadsheet, but not that the SF is usable tenant space?

I hope I have touched on all relevant references,issues, and questions. I keep going in circles on this. I really appreciate any clarification you can give me. thank you in advance for your time.

Colleen Hazelrigs
Hazelrigs Architecture

David Fingret
Extreme Measures Inc.
August 24, 2020

Hi Colleen,

There are two distinct "Unenclosed Features" in the standard, known as "Unenclosed Building Features" and "Unenclosed Occupant Features". They both include the same types of areas (Covered Galleries, Balconies and Finished Rooftop Terraces), but are distinguished by who uses them. An Unenclosed Building Feature is available to the public or building's occupants, whereas and Unenclosed Occupant Feature is used by a specific tenant. The description of Tenant Area on page 31, specifically lists Unenclosed Occupant Features as included in the Tenant Area and also states that they must be separately disclosed.

The latest BOMA 2018 Gross Areas standard also includes the Finished Rooftop Terrace as part of Gross Areas 1 (Leasing Method) which may be used for leasing single tenant buildings. There is no Load Factor in this standard because a Load Factor is not necessary for leasing to a single tenant, since it would always be 100%.


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