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April 19, 2010

Benefits of knowing exact square footage

No matter how seemingly sophisticated the building ownership may be, large building or small, it amazes me how inaccurate individual suite measurements can be. Many owners are simply unaware of how many leasable square feet they miss on their rent rolls. If suite measurements are off, so are the common area measurements, which affects the common area factor. For building owners, overcharging tenants is no way to build loyalty or earn lease renewals. Conversely, years of missed space on billings negatively impacts profitability and appraisal values.

One remedy: account for every square foot through a master of the building with all usable and common areas identified. You can do this minimally through a simple field measurement or take-off from the building plans, but optimally through a computer aided design (CAD) drawing. Given today’s technology age, there is little excuse for not accurately calculating the usable and rentable square footage, or correctly charging tenants. The discovery of previously unaccounted for rentable area provides landlords with a fair return for their investment in CAD drawings.

Developing a comprehensive CAD file does not need to be done overnight. Start by creating a new suite drawing for each vacant space marketed online. This practice aides the brokerage community in showing and signing new tenants. All parties gain comfort in professionally drawn and measured suites.

While we’ve maintained our building plans and suite measurements on CAD for many years, our design firm recently purchased new state-of-the-art CAD software that gives us terrific advantages:

  1. Superior ability to tie very accurate suite plans to stacking plans,
  2. sorting features on vacancies,
  3. 3-D views of suites or entire floors,
  4. easily understood square footage calculations.

We can create quick construction material take-offs and benchmark construction pricing for standard materials and finishes. I can’t over emphasize the benefit of the ability to make impressive presentations quickly to tenants and their brokers, as well as make intelligent decisions pertaining to improvement budgets. Simply put, CAD technology and online space plan access help all parties transact business quickly, fairly and creatively. Consistent application of these practices helps my firm earn repeat business.

 Thomas A Duke is a fourth generation building and real estate owner located in southeast Michigan. He operates a full service brokerage firm, with comprehensive asset and property management services, under the name the Thomas A Duke Company. www.thomasduke.com

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