As a broker, a question that usually comes up in the process is “what is the difference between usable and rentable square feet?”  I will do my best to try to explain this to you in a simple format. 

Almost all architects measure buildings according to BOMA standards, which have been around for almost 100 years.  BOMA is the Building Owners and Managers Association International.  To simplify, BOMA says that the usable square feet is the actual space a tenant occupies.  The rentable square feet includes a percentage of the common corridors, restrooms and lobbies (not including vertical penetrations – stairwells, elevators etc). 

In most multi-story office buildings there is a common area factor or load factor added to the usable square feet to get to the rentable square feet.  In Jacksonville the load factors range from 12-20%, so this can make a huge difference in your rental amount.  Most of the difference is usually in buildings that have large elaborate atriums or elevator lobbies that add on to the space and you are paying for it!  I have seen some Landlords actually lower the amount they charge for the load factor to be competitive in the market, because it is not fair to charge tenant’s for inefficiencies in their building. 

For example a 10,000 sf usable space with a load factor of 15% would be 11,500 sf rentable (10,000 times 1.15).  A 10,000 sf rentable square foot space would be 8,696 usable square feet (10,000 divided by 1.15).   Most clients these days allocate anywhere between 150 to 250 square feet per person (depending on how your office is laid out).  Space with a lot of cubicles is typically more efficient and you can fit more people in a space and is closer to the 150 per person number. 

If you are in a flex style office building and you don’t have a common entry and you don’t share restrooms, the usable and rentable square feet will be the same number.   This can be attractive to some clients however, keep in mind you are paying for the entire restroom instead of just a percentage of the restroom.

So when looking for space, make sure you ask about the common area factor!

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!