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Gross or net area: how to establish it?

Some tenants, on beginning their customisation work after signing the lease, are surprised to find (on ordering the carpet in particular) that the usable area is less than that stated in the lease, by 10 to 15 %, or more, in some cases. The lease always specifies the “gross floor area” rented and not the “net area”.

What is the area commonly known as “net”?
The “net” area is that area actually usable by the tenant – in office, kitchenette, toilet (if not a shared facility), the IT room, the reception – inside the office space. Another term for the “net area” is  the “carpet area”, but the latter term can be misleading, because the toilets or the kitchenette, if they are situated in the central core of the building, are never carpeted, for obvious reasons of hygiene.

What is the area usually known as “gross”?
This is the net area plus the common areas used by the tenant and/or necessary for the proper and full use of their offices.

The gross area comprises:

1. The net area, as defined above;

2. Part of the common areas of the building, such as the entry area, the height of the entrance (on ground and first floors), lock access, elevators, corridors, escape routes, etc.;

3. A portion of the thickness of the outside walls (either all of it, or a portion of the technical conduits, terraces, etc.) and a portion of the internal technical parts of the complex (vertical shafts, boiler, etc.). 

4. Finally, it is common to find that the gross surface can be increased or varied. For example, when an office area originally intended for a single tenant is divided into cells, requiring a traffic corridor to enable access to each cell, as well as to emergency exits or toilet and kitchenette, to be created. This division of the total area creates a new set of shared use areas which thus increase the gross area of each cell created.