Methods of Real Property Measurement

Instructor: Janice Chretien
This lesson illustrates how to measure square footage and details three common real property measurement methods; the Gross Building Area (GBA), Gross Living Area (GLA), and the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).

Real Property Measurement

There are three common real property measurement methods; the Gross Building Area (GBA), Gross Living Area (GLA), and the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). While each method is specific in what areas are included and excluded, all of them calculate the property size based on square footage.

Calculating Square Footage

To calculate square footage, measure the distance between the opposing walls, then multiple these measurements. For example, let's assume we are measuring the square room below.

12 X 12 = 144 square feet

Now, let's assume we are measuring a more complicated shape, such as the room below.

In this case, we would take two measurements and then add them together.

(12 X 12) + (8 X 8) = 208 square feet

Sometimes, a room will have a triangle.

(10 X 12) / 2 = 61 square feet

A room may have a bay window. The formula for a circle is πR2. The bay window is a semicircle, so we would divide the radius in half. π = 3.14.

(3.14 X 42) / 2 + (10 X 10) = 125 square feet

The square footage of these four rooms would be added together for the total square footage of the home.

144 + 208 + 61 + 125 = 538 total square feet

Gross Building Area

Gross Building Area (GBA) is a method of real property measurement that takes the exterior measurement and includes the entire finished area and common areas, such as stairways and hallways. However, exterior common areas, such as stairways are not subtracted from the exterior measurement if applicable. The GBA is the most common measurement method used for comparison for two-unit to four-unit family properties.

Gross Living Area

Gross Living Area (GLA) is a method of real property measurement that uses the exterior building dimensions per floor to determine the above-grade gross living area. Condominium measurement is based on interior perimeter dimensions.

This measurement method excludes basements, attics, and garages, even if they are finished. When reporting the GLA, the finished above-grade room count is included with the square feet of GLA. The GLA is the most common measurement for single-family properties.

American National Standard Institute

American National Standard Institute (ANSI) is a real property measurement method that starts with the outside dimensions and then subtracts the garage; basement; opening to the floor below; any area that does not have a ceiling height of at least seven feet; ceilings under beams, ducts, or obstructions that are not at least six feet four inches; sloped ceilings that are not at least one-half of the finished square footage of the room; and any area with a ceiling height of five feet or less.

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