Understanding the rentable vs usable square feet “Load Factor”.

What is Usable Square feet:

Usable Square feet is the actual space the tenant occupies. For example, for smaller tenants the useable square footage is the area of the demised space within your office space without structural columns. However restrooms, janitor closets, elevator lobbies and corridors are there for the benefit of all tenants which is considered common areas. The total square feet of common areas is then divided among all tenants and each tenant pays a prorated share of the common areas and is added to the usable square footage which is then called “rentable square feet” also known as load factor. The load factor is usually expressed as a percentage and ranges from a low 5% for a full tenant to as high as 15% for a multi tenant floor. For a full floor tenant, usable square footage is everything within the glass line including restrooms, janitor closets, mechanical and electrical rooms.

What is Rentable Square Feet:

Generally rentable square feet is the gross area of the full floor less the area of all vertical penetrations (elevator shafts, stairwells, mechanical shafts etc.). It includes all common area square footage e.g. restrooms, elevator lobbies, corridors, and janitor closets. Rentable square feet can be measured in many ways, but the most common measurement for office buildings is according to BOMA standards.

How to calculate load factor is simple:

Load factor % = (rentable sf÷usable sf-1)

It is important for the tenant to address the issue regarding rentable vs usable square feet before signing a lease as there is usually no recourse after the lease is executed. Most leases don’t detail the method how the landlord calculated usable or rentable square feet and it’s recommended that tenant verify the square footage of the premises by either tenant’s or landlord’s architect.

Calculating the load factor will enable the tenant to compare similar buildings and indentify the economic differences as a result of load factor and space design efficiencies.

If you would like to learn more about Load Factor Rentable vs Usable Square Feet, please contact Urban Realty today.