RMS Update: No Changes to Principle 4

Consultation results are in – Principle 4 of the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) is staying the same.

Between November 2016 and February 2017, the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) consulted with its stakeholders on possible changes to Principle 4 of the RMS.

Principle 4 of the RMS refers to properties with common walls, and reads that “for properties with common walls, such as half-duplexes, townhouses, and apartments, measure the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint) at floor level. An additional area representation may be made assuming exterior measurements.”

In August 2016, RECA received feedback that properties with a single common (demising) wall (i.e. a duplex or an end unit in row housing) should be measured differently than properties with more than one common wall (i.e. an apartment-style condominium or a middle unit in row housing). The recommendation was to “measure all semi-detached properties, from centre line of common wall to exterior.”

The purpose of this most recent round of consultation was to gauge stakeholders’ support for the recommendation to implement a separate measurement methodology for semi-detached properties, which were defined in the recommendation as properties with a single common (demising) wall.

RECA invited all industry professionals, trade associations, real estate boards, and measurement companies to respond to the consultation. During the 3-month consultation period, only 101 individuals and organizations provided input. This included 10 associations, 85 individual professionals, 3 property measurement companies, and RECA’s Consumer, Real Estate Appraiser, and Residential Real Estate Advisory Committees.

Council reviewed the complete consultation feedback at its April 2017 meeting.


  • 2% of respondents explicitly supported the definition of semi-detached properties as being properties with only one demising wall
  • 23% of respondents explicitly supported the recommendation to measure semi-detached properties from the centre of the common wall to the outside of exterior walls.

Based on the low support for the recommendation to implement a separate measurement methodology for semi-detached properties, Council is keeping RMS Principle 4 in its current form.

Council also considered the number of amendments to the RMS in the last year and how ongoing amendments negatively affect industry professionals. The proposed change to the definition of semi-detached would also bring it out of line with the standard definition of semi-detached, which normally refers to a property composed of two units with a single demising wall.

The RMS Going Forward

Although it did not form part of the consultation process, consumers and other respondents suggested that all properties should be measured with a single measurement methodology. Council would like to explore the possibility of a single measurement methodology for all residential properties.  If a single measurement methodology is possible RECA believes that the process of developing the methodology and corresponding transition should be a carefully paced and collaborative process with all stakeholders.

Council asked Administration to form a working group of all stakeholders to cooperatively develop a strategy to transition to a single measurement methodology. The working group will include all stakeholders, associations, brokers, real estate professionals, and consumers.


5 thoughts on “RMS Update: No Changes to Principle 4

  1. You show feedback of 25% what happened to the other 75%. Was the feedback request sent to individual realtors as I don’t think I received one. You are not only confusing the realtors but more so the public both buyers & sellers.

    • Hi Arnold. Every licensed real estate professional was sent an email on November 8, 2016 asking for feedback on the changes to the RMS proposed by AREA. The deadline for responses was February 13, 2017.

    • Arnold we should be talking about the huge cost of obtaining a measurement to meet the rms guidelines without the fear of doing your own measurements and missing the thickness of the paint on the wall. We should have no measurements and stop confusing the public about price per sq ft, just let the customers decide on how they feel about the property and surroundings value and pace off the rooms and homes like we used to do to see if a room fits our needs. Value shouldn’t be a static thing that RMS is creating. Each home has it’s own value based on what a willing buyer and seller is agreed upon. Having been in the new home selling side for 40+ years I know that a competitor could build a stripped home for the same price as a loaded home because of measurements and not receive the best value for their dollar. Now I do agree that Realtors® should be chastised for misleading and that’s because of measurement inconsistency, so don’t measure.

      • Fully agree. Not all square footage is created equally and we place far too much importance on it.
        Great examples are bonus rooms- you can create a lot of square footage above a garage but it generally comes at a loss on the main floor and basement.
        Bungalows- the can be small but have an enormous potential below in addition to generally larger lots in the older neighborhoods.
        Stacked condos are at a huge disadvantages when rooms are below grade even though they oftentimes feel much larger than their one level counterpart apartment style.
        In addition if builders are allowed to measure according to their own rules then it undermines the public confidence in measuring as a whole as they don’t understand differences in realty, builders, rules,
        In other jurisdictions it is solely number of rooms.
        I agree let a buyer decide what space works for them and with the help of a realtor make decisions as to what property suits their needs.
        Measurements are far too subjective and unessessary in determining value.

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