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We created a rentable area survey for this new building development in Christchurch because the consent plans didn't show the individual tenancy areas on the site. See why this is important when leasing property

A Method 3 rentable area survey for a new building development

What was required by our surveyors in Christchurch?

Caroline, the developer, required final measured BOMA plans to be created by a surveyor for her new development at Rolleston Fields in Christchurch. The building she was developing had multiple leases that needed to be finalised so that tenants could begin using the available spaces. The reason she needed new BOMA plans to clearly outline the rentable areas was because the only documentation available for the site was a set of consent plans that only showed the overall gross areas, and not the individual tenancy areas.

With most new building developments in Christchurch the designers can determine (or confirm) floor areas based off their architectural CAD programmes. Although it is important to note that these areas are not accurate to the BOMA / PCNZ Guidelines for Measurement. Sometimes this information is suitable for initial agreements, but not for final leasing agreements due to the differences in the accuracy of the information presented. That is why it is critical to get a Rentable Area Survey completed for any site in Christchurch that will be used to sell tenancies of any type. In this instance a Rental Area Survey Method 3 was required

The other aspect we had to consider was that Caroline’s premises also had a great deal of complexity due to the shared services spaces. So overall confirming the area of the building can impact greatly on potential rental income. A space may be rented out using a floor area calculation that is smaller than the actual physical space available.

This is why Realserve has a number of clients that request rentable area surveys in Christchurch to be done prior to purchasing multi-level office buildings.  Generally, space is leased per square metre so any inconsistencies between a quoted area and actual space, if not found prior to leasing, can have a massive impact on future rental income. When developing a new building you can have a set of documents made for the existing conditions that are accurate to the millimetre.

Rentable area survey vs consent plan for a new building development

A rentable area survey and a “consent plan” are two distinct documents related to property development, each serving different purposes. Depending on the intention for constructing a new development you may need both sets of documents in order to maximise your return on investment.

  • Rentable Area Survey: A rentable area survey involves measuring and documenting the usable and leasable areas within a commercial, industrial or retail building or property. This survey determines the precise dimensions of spaces that can be rented out to tenants, including individual retail shops, offices, or other commercial spaces. The primary purpose of a rentable area survey is to provide accurate data for determining rental rates, lease negotiations, and cost allocation among tenants within a multi-tenant building. Therefore it;
    • Focuses on accurate measurements of leasable and usable spaces.
    • Helps landlords and tenants establish fair rent calculations.
    • Aids in transparent lease negotiations and reduces disputes.
    • Assists in proper allocation of shared costs and common area maintenance charges.
    • Can be used to promote and find new tenants.
    • Will clearly outline specific spaces within a building site or property.
  • Consent Plan: These are also known as a resource consent plan or development plan, is a detailed proposal submitted to local government authorities for approval before commencing a property development project. The plan outlines the intended land use, building layout, design, and other relevant details of the development. It is a crucial step in the regulatory process to ensure that the proposed development aligns with zoning regulations, building codes, environmental considerations, and other legal requirements. So its main elements are;
    • Focuses on obtaining approval from local government authorities.
    • Provides a comprehensive overview of the development project.
    • Addresses zoning, environmental, and building code compliance.
    • Includes details such as site layout, building footprints, landscaping, access points, etc.
    • Ensures that the proposed development aligns with the overall city or district planning goals.
    • It can provide information about the general area or size of a site.

So to compare, a rentable area survey is primarily concerned with very accurately measuring and documenting leasable spaces within a commercial property for rental purposes, while a consent plan is a comprehensive proposal submitted to local government authorities to gain approval for a property development project. Both documents play crucial roles in property development, with the rentable area survey facilitating fair lease negotiations and rental calculations, and the consent plan ensuring that the development project complies with legal and regulatory requirements.

Why is it important to get a rentable area survey for a new building development in Christchurch?

Getting a rentable area survey for a new building development that is being constructed with the intent of being a location for retail shops or commercial offices in Christchurch (or any location in New Zealand for that matter) is important because;

  1. Accurate Rent Calculation: A rentable area survey ensures that the calculation of rentable space is accurate and based on a consistent methodology that is an industry standard. This helps both landlords and tenants determine fair rental rates and prevents disputes over rent calculations even if different surveyors are used over the years because the methodology applied is the same.

  2. Transparency and Fairness: An accurate rentable area measurement provides transparency to both landlords and tenants, ensuring fairness in lease negotiations and minimising the potential for disagreements related to space allocation and rent calculations.

  3. Lease Negotiations: For landlords, a reliable rentable area measurement assists in lease negotiations by providing a clear basis for setting rental rates. It helps attract potential tenants who are confident in the accuracy of the space they are leasing.

  4. Compliance and Valuation: An accurately measured rentable area is crucial for compliance with local building codes, zoning regulations, and other legal requirements. It also provides a reliable basis for property valuation, which is important for property owners and investors.

  5. Cost Allocation: In multi-tenant buildings, an accurate rentable area measurement helps distribute common area maintenance (CAM) charges and other shared costs fairly among tenants based on their actual use of the space.

  6. Space Efficiency and Planning: Accurate area measurements aid in space planning and utilisation. Developers and tenants can make informed decisions about layout, interior design, and optimising the use of available space. This can be equally applicable to new building developments or ones that are getting renovated.

  7. Professional Image: Having accurate rentable area measurements demonstrates professionalism and commitment to transparency, which can enhance the reputation of developers, landlords, and property managers. It also makes it easier for a real estate agency to promote the available tenancies as they are able to share very specific, detailed information with potential tenants.

  8. Legal Protection: An accurate rentable area survey can serve as legal protection in case of disputes between landlords and tenants regarding space usage, rent calculations, or other related matters.

  9. Tenant Satisfaction: Tenants appreciate transparency and clarity in lease agreements. Providing accurate rentable area measurements enhances tenant satisfaction and reduces the likelihood of conflicts during the lease term.

  10. Future Lease Negotiations and Expansion: Accurate measurements create a solid foundation for future lease negotiations and potential expansions within the building. Consistent and reliable data can be used as a reference point for future leasing arrangements.


Engaging with a surveyor in Christchurch to produce a rentable area survey for a new building development is essential for ensuring fairness, transparency, legal compliance, and effective space utilisation. It benefits both landlords and tenants by providing a clear and accurate basis for rent calculations and lease agreements.

How did we complete this rentable area survey in Christchurch?

Our surveyors in Christchurch arranged site access with the development contractors to begin measuring the building and its internals. What we were not prepared for was the building was still at the mid construction stage which meant the first fix had not happened yet, and several major widows had not been glazed. We spent a few hours with the site manager to determine the level of first fix, and the final positions of the major glazing cavities.  

Using the traditional surveying approach, we were able to find common building grid lines to establish a construction line for the survey. Once the site survey was drawn, we were then able to add the first fix depth and the widow glazing design lines to the plans. 

We were able to complete all the required site measurements and produce the required documentation for the entire premises within three working days.


What was the scope of work for our surveyor at this property development?

The scope of work for our surveyor in Christchurch for this Rentable Area Survey, or BOMA Plan, in Christchurch included the following;

  • The need to determine the Rentable Areas of each tenancy along with their shared services
  • The Rentable Areas had to be calculated in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Property Council of New Zealand’s “Method of Measurement.”

NOTE : this type of plan is equivalent to the historic BOMA Plans.

The results

  • We clearly identified the individual tenancy areas and documented them precisely vs the gross floor area that the consent plans presented.
  • The complex shared services allocations for the ground floor were easily clarified in the plan, and the Schedule of Areas.
  • We worked out that the consented Gross Floor Areas were calculated as the total floor level area. The PCNZ inclusions and exclusions for commercial offices had not been accounted for.

What other survey documentation could have been produced?

The surveying team at Realserve are able to deliver a wide range of survey documentation in either 2D or 3D formats. For this site it could have been possible to also create;


  •  A 3D Interactive Floor Plan , or Matterport Virtual Tour. This is a virtual view of the site that enables someone to ‘walk’ around and inside different areas of the building via their laptop or computer without needing to visit the location. Using the latest 3D laser scanning equipment we capture every part of the site to then create the virtual views. 

    This can be used to show a tenancy inside the new development to a potential client that lives in another part of New Zealand or even overseas, they can literally click their mouse and move from room to room to see what it looks like in virtual reality. 

  • A car parking plan could have been created to identify the best ways that parking spaces could be allocated around the site in the designated parking areas. These car parking spots may also form part of a tenancy to create additional revenue opportunities for the landlord while also being used to accurately mark out the spaces.
  • An evacuation diagram would also need to be created for each level of the building development to make it easy for tenants or visitors to quickly see where to go to in the case of an emergency. The evacuation diagram can map the pathways that can be taken to reach an exit safely and be placed in the required locations as per local regulations.

Combined with the new survey documentation it becomes a powerful way to make decisions and ultimately sell the property quickly.

Get more information about our range of Rentable Area Survey services.

Realserve in NZ has experienced surveyors in Auckland and Christchurch who are able to measure a site and produce a wide range of survey types in both traditional 2D or 3D formats. 

We specialise in retail, commercial and industrial sites producing BOMA Rentable Area Surveys, 3D Laser Scanning and As Built / Existing Conditions Plans.


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