When looking for new office premises, you may notice that listings advertise office space using different terms, such as usable, rentable or common area square footage. It’s important to understand what each of these terms means, so you can choose an office that suits your space requirements and budget.
In this article we look at the differences between usable, rentable, and common area square footage, and we discuss what tenants need to be aware of when evaluating and budgeting for their space requirements.
Usable Square Footage
This refers to the amount of space each tenant has exclusive access to. The specific inclusions and exclusions vary depending on whether the office in question takes up an entire floor, or the floor is shared with other tenants.
In full-floor setups, usable square footage includes every area within the floor, whether it’s used by office workers or not. This includes workspaces, restrooms, kitchens, breakout rooms, common areas, reception areas, meeting rooms, hallways, as well as rooms used for technical and janitorial purposes. The only exclusions are any areas that aren’t exclusively used by the tenant occupying that floor, such as stairwells or elevator shafts. These are part of the unit’s gross square footage, which isn’t taken into account for determining lease rates.
In multi-tenant floors, usable square footage includes workspaces and any other rooms allocated for the specific use of each tenant. For example, shared bathrooms or kitchenettes wouldn’t be included, but if each tenant has exclusive use of a restroom, this is added to the office’s total usable square footage.