Improving the Residential Measurement Standard
| August 18, 2023
A message from Sano Stante, Chair of the Residential Real Estate Broker Industry Council
Since 2015, the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) has allowed consumers to trust the measurements for different properties they are comparing. After eight years of practical use, the Industry Council felt a review was in order and asked the RECA Board to form an RMS Sub-Committee (Committee), made up of residential real estate licensees and representatives from the Industry Councils, the public, associations, and measurement companies. The Committee was to determine if the RMS continued to make sense in its current form, or if any improvements should be considered to better protect consumers or to assist licensees in measuring property consistently, without increasing red tape.After careful consideration, a meaningful review of industry experience with the RMS, and discussions with various trade associations, the Committee made recommendations to the Industry Council for minor improvements to how semi-detached and townhouse properties are measured using the RMS, and to introduce a standard for measuring below grade.The Industry Council has accepted the recommended improvements, and they will take effect on January 1, 2024.
Improving how we measure semi-detached and townhouse properties
Beginning January 1, licensees will measure semi-detached and townhouse properties using the exterior wall at the foundation. If the thickness of the demising wall(s) cannot be determined, the thickness of an exterior wall should be used. There is no change to how all detached and apartment-style attached properties are measured in the RMS.
As a practitioner myself, I can attest to the current semi-detached and townhouse market in Alberta, and how they are more like detached homes than apartment-style properties, and how difficult and time-consuming measuring using interior walls can be with today’s complicated home designs. The Industry Council agrees that this change for semi-detached and townhouse properties will make measuring easier and more sensible for licensees and more accurate for consumers.
Ensuring consistency in measuring below grade
Another issue that has come to the Industry Council’s attention regularly is the fact that there is no standard way to measure below grade in a property for those times you and your clients want to advertise an additional measurement in your listing. To help consumers and licensees compare properties more accurately, the Industry Council accepted the recommendation from the Committee to set a Below Grade Measurement Standard (BGMS). To be clear, the BGMS is not a mandatory measurement when advertising living space, nor part of the RMS. It is the standard by which licensees must measure below grade space should their client agree to advertise it as an additional measurement to the RMS. The BGMS matches how licensees measure above grade using the RMS, so it will rarely require additional time with the measuring tape. The details of the BGMS are on reca.ca.
I am proud of the work the Committee and the Industry Council has done to make these improvements a reality. The Industry Council is always keen to ensure any changes to standards improve consumer protection and the integrity of the industry, remove red tape, or otherwise make business easier for licensees. I believe this minor improvement to measurement standards achieves all of these things. Consumers can trust that all measurements are consistent and relevant to their choice of property type. They can trust in the integrity of the measurements, and since most residential listings have below grade space that we as licensees want to highlight, we can trust that we are measuring that space consistently.
I encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with these improvements to the RMS. Though they may not take effect until January 1, I personally plan to start using the BGMS now and hope many of you do the same.
In the lead up to the change, RECA’s experts will be available for presentations on these improvements for your brokerage. Please reach out to RECA’s Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Kristian Tzenov, at email@example.com, to arrange any meetings or presentations.
Accompanying resources, webinars, and more will become available throughout the rest of the year, and as always, feel free to reach out personally with any questions or concerns at ResIC@reca.ab.ca.