Calgary Realtors® must use the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) when measuring residential properties. This measurement standard helps consumers easily and accurately compare different types of residential properties. This guide will help consumers understand the RMS, and how Alberta real estate professionals use it. Your real estate professional has a responsibility to ensure you understand the RMS and its implications and is required to discuss it with you. This discussion will help you make informed decisions about the size and suitability of properties.
Some Key Definitions
Grade: Grade is the level of the ground around the exterior of a residence. The grade can be horizontal, sloped, or a combination of both. In Alberta, most residential properties contain above-grade and below-grade areas.
Levels: Levels are areas of the residence that are in the same horizontal plane. A level must meet the minimum ceiling height requirement [2.13 metres (7 feet)] to be included in the RMS calculation.
Above Grade Levels: Above grade levels are the levels of a residence that are entirely above grade. The RMS area of a residence is the sum of its above-grade floor levels.
Below Grade Levels: Below grade levels are the floor levels of a residence that are partly or fully below grade. If any portion of the level is below grade, the entire level is below grade. Below-grade spaces include lower levels and basements. Below-grade levels are not included in the RMS area. Examples of residential styles with lower levels include raised bungalows, bi-levels, split levels, and properties with walkout or walk-up basements.
The RMS contains nine principles that real estate professionals must follow when measuring the size of a residential property:
1. Real estate professionals must use the RMS.
When a seller wants to communicate the size of their residence to potential buyers, or a buyer wants to measure a residence they’re considering, their real estate professional must communicate the RMS area. Real estate professionals are allowed to hire someone to calculate the RMS area of a property, such as property measurement companies or real estate appraisers. The real estate professional must ensure the person is able to competently measure the property using the RMS. If it is not possible to measure a residence, for example, the residence is not yet built or access isn’t possible because of a difficult tenant or a difficult foreclosure, your real estate professional may deviate from measuring the property using the RMS as long as:
• The measurements represented do not imply they are in accordance with the RMS
• They include an explanation as to why the property could not be measured using the RMS
• They must apply the RMS to blueprints
• They must disclose the measurement methodology they used (i.e. area size calculated by applying the RMS to the builder’s blueprints)
2. Identify if the measurement system is metric or imperial, and apply it consistently. Measurements must be calculated to within 2% of the RMS size.
Real estate professionals must indicate what measurement system they used to take property measurements (metric or imperial), and they must take all measurements for a particular property using the same system. The real estate professional must talk to about which measurement system is appropriate. In a lot of cases, a key factor in deciding which measurement system to use is which measurement system the real estate professional’s listing service or property database uses.
While the RMS provides a 2% tolerance, real estate professionals must attempt to measure the property accurately.
see the guide below for the complete RMS Guide