Canada: One Size Does Not Fit All: The New Boma Standard 2010 For Office Buildings

Last Updated: October 20 2010
Article by Angela Mockford

The Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) recently released: Office Buildings: Standard Methods of Measurement and Calculating Rentable Area (2010) ("BOMA 2010"). This publication is the latest in a succession of BOMA Standards, which have been widely used for the measurement of the rentable area of office premises since 1915.

The new publication contains many revisions and additions to the previous BOMA standard of 1996: Standard Method for Measuring Floor Area in Office Buildings ("BOMA 1996"). We are about to give you a glimpse into what's new.

Major Changes from BOMA 1996

Both standards were designed to create what is colloquially referred to as the "gross up". The most significant change from BOMA 1996 is that BOMA 2010 includes more than one option for calculating the "load factor" (being essentially the multiplier applied to a tenant's area to attribute to the area of the tenant's premises a share of the common area). Method A (the "legacy method", contained in BOMA 1996), allows users the option of calculating the load factor on a floor-by-floor basis. Method B (new in BOMA 2010, called the "Single Load Factor" method) allows for the calculation of a single load factor to be shared by the entire building. The total rentable areas of a building are the same regardless of whether Method A or B is chosen. However, in citing BOMA 2010, reference must be made to either Method A or Method B, and they cannot be combined.

Method A results in some floors having a higher "load factor" than others, because the building amenities and service areas are located in certain areas; a higher load factor can be unattractive to tenants, and ultimately make the floor less "leasable". Prospective tenants generally prefer floors having a higher percentage of usable space to common area. Simply put: tenants don't want to pay a lot for what they share. Accordingly, floors with a lower load factor lease more quickly and sometimes at better rates, even though from the vantage point of a landlord concerned about lease-up, these floors may not be the ideal location for a prospective tenant. When the floors with lower load factors are full, the remaining floors (with higher load factors) arguably become harder to lease. Method B controls the way rentable area is allocated amongst the floors so that all tenants, regardless of floor, are allocated the same percentage for calculation of their share of building amenities and service areas using a new concept called "Base Building Circulation", a minimum common area required for access to and use of such amenities and service areas.

Also of interest is the "capped load factor". The capped load factor is determined on a floor-by-floor basis, and is particularly useful for historical buildings that often have very high load factors. The cap serves to adjust high load factors down into a leasable market range for the building.1 Excluding building service areas from the calculations is not permitted; instead, the building owner, in its sole discretion, can cap the load factor using a "market load factor" (the capped load factor in any event cannot exceed the actual load factor calculated under Method A or Method B); or the building owner can cap the rentable area of an occupant area by multiplying the occupant area by the capped load factor (the capped rentable area in any event cannot exceed the actual rentable area calculated under Method A or Method B). However, BOMA 2010 neither "recommends" capping nor expresses any view on how to set the "market load factor".

Expanded Definitions and Measurement Methods

BOMA 2010 contains 53 definitions – an addition of 35 definitions over BOMA 1996. BOMA 2010 also revises some of the BOMA 1996 definitions. For instance, in BOMA 2010, "Major Vertical Penetrations" now excludes "voids", which have their own definition, and "Tenant" becomes "Occupant". BOMA 2010 also contains new rules for determining the measurement boundaries. BOMA 2010 has, in addition, expanded on the 7-step measurement method of BOMA 1996. BOMA 2010 provides a sub-step classification system to determine the interior gross area of a building and its floors. After classifying the type of space (e.g., "Occupant Areas" (formerly known as "Office Area" and "Store Area"), a user can consult detailed charts and illustrations to establish the position of the boundary line, and determine the interior gross area of the space. This interior gross area is then utilized in the calculation of the R/U ratio, which leads to the calculation of the R/O ratio, and the load factor, and ultimately, the end goal, "rentable area". It is a rigorous process.

Bells and Whistles

What is most exciting about BOMA 2010 is its availability as an interactive PDF that includes the use of hyperlinks. Users can link to any one of the 45 colour illustrations cited within the text, as well as to zoom in on points of interest and take a closer look at the subtleties of the diagrams. The wide use of colour throughout the illustrations improves their overall graphic resolution and assists the eye in visualizing dimension. BOMA 2010 also contains a number of other helpful inclusions such as built-in answers to frequently asked questions (which feature was previously available as a supplementary document to BOMA 1996).

Adjusting to BOMA 2010

While BOMA 2010 boasts more content, better illustrations and greater sophistication as compared to BOMA 1996, the earlier version may still remain the preferred choice for many. In fact, the labyrinth of measurement concepts and interconnected definitions contained in the 64 pages of BOMA 2010 could leave the casual user pining for the old (slimmer) BOMA 1996 guide. The user of BOMA 1996 needed to master only a handful of definitions (such as "Gross Measured Area", "Dominant Portion", and "R/U Ratio") in order to navigate the methods and equations; but the brevity of BOMA 1996, which admittedly left some terms open to interpretation (but allowed for more easy calculation), has been sacrificed in BOMA 2010 in the name of precision. BOMA 2010 removes some ambiguity in the use of the measurement standard, but in doing so, requires the user to become acquainted with more definitions and ultimately, to spend additional energy reaching the desired goal – determining rentable area. A technical user will no doubt find BOMA 2010 more conducive to accurate calculation, and over time, the new standard may prove to be a more streamlined system offering greater clarity than BOMA 1996. However, for the user accustomed to BOMA 1996, the new version will take much getting used to.

Which to use: BOMA 1996 or BOMA 2010?

With all of this to consider, which standard is the better for you? The answer largely depends on whether you are a landlord or a tenant. BOMA 2010 Method B offers a number of advantages for landlords, brokers and building owners, over BOMA 1996 and BOMA 2010 Method A. The application of Method B's single load factor method will likely simplify leasing calculations as well as improve the chances of renting out harder to lease floors. It should allow landlords to reduce the undesirability of floors with higher load factors because the standard allows harmonization of all floors into one equal load factor. Conversely, it may be advantageous for a tenant to choose BOMA 1996 or BOMA 2010 (Method A) should its prospective floor happen to be one with a lower overall load factor (as compared to other floors in the same building).

At the end of the day, since BOMA 2010 provides multiple options within its methods for determining the load factor of a floor (and ultimately the rentable area of a premises), and since some landlords and tenants are able to negotiate for the use (however advisable or inadvisable that may be) of old BOMA standards, such as BOMA 1996, and even BOMA 1980, landlords and tenants should always be careful to specify their preferred BOMA Standard of measurement up front in the preliminary lease document (be it a letter of intent or an offer to lease), rather than leave it to argument.

Case Highlight

Emcan Bakery Equipment & Supply Ltd. v. DMI Property Management Inc.
[2010] OJ No 2315, 2010 ONSC 2329


On August 2, 2007, a bakery entered into a lease with a landlord. On November 9, 2007, the bakery entered into a General Security Agreement with Emcan Bakery Equipment & Supply Ltd., under which the bakery purchased equipment from Emcan, but Emcan retained ownership of the equipment until the full purchase price was paid.

The bakery fell into arrears of rent under the lease and also ceased making payments on the equipment from Emcan. The total financed value of the equipment was $64,861.40, including GST. The amount still owing on the equipment was $24,000 plus interest. Ignoring the calculation of interest, the bakery's contribution to the equipment to date was $40,861.40. The arrears of rent totalled $25,049.73.

The landlord sent a bailiff to appraise the goods and chattels of the bakery, which amounted to $20,825.00 for everything, including the Emcan equipment. DMI, the property manager, conducted an auction shortly thereafter and agreed to sell the goods and chattels of the bakery, including the baking equipment from Emcan, to Toronto Bakery Equipment for $12,100.00.

Emcan commenced an action against DMI, the bailiff, the bakery, and the landlord. It sought a declaration that Emcan was entitled to remove and possess the bakery equipment.


The issue at bar was whether the landlord had the right to take possession of the goods and chattels at the leased premises, including the equipment bought from Emcan but not fully paid for, and sell it, and apply the proceeds of sale to the arrears of rent and the costs of distress.


The court found that the landlord had no such right and that the distraint was unlawful.


The court relied on the decision in Atlantic v. Starmark, [1997] OJ No 2474, which was based on a similar fact scenario. The court held that Starmark could acquire the item at issue (a painting booth) upon payment of the outstanding balance of the purchase price. The court stated:

It permits a landlord to distrain the interest of a tenant in goods owned by a third party, but in the possession of a tenant under a conditional sales contract. Since the tenant's interest includes the right to possess the goods, the landlord can take possession of them, and hold them, but does so subject to the rights of the owner. Similarly, if the landlord sells such an item ... , the sale is subject to the rights of the unpaid vendor.

The court therefore held that the partially paid vendor, Emcan, was entitled to possession of the equipment. As property in the equipment had never passed to the tenant, the landlord had no right to take possession of and sell the equipment. The landlord's interest pursuant to its right of distress for unpaid rent was equal to the bakery's interest in the equipment; the landlord could acquire the equipment by paying Emcan the amount owing on it ($25,000.00) within 10 days.


1. Lindsay Tiffany, "Setting New Standards" The Boma Magazine (November/December 2009) at 31. Online: < > or < >

This article was written with assistance from Jennifer Lynch, Student-at-Law.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
7 Dec 2017, Webinar, Toronto, Canada

FEX Members Jeff Noble, BDO, and Caroline Abela, WeirFoulds LLP, invite you to a complimentary webinar series titled: All About Shareholders.

15 Dec 2017, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

WeirFoulds Partner Caroline Abela will instruct The Advocates' Society program, "Leading Your Case: Opening Statements and Examination-in-Chief".

30 Jan 2018, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

WeirFoulds Partner Marie-Andrée Vermette will instruct The Advocates' Society program, "Cross-Examination: Strategies for Success".

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions