Exterior Area Calculations

I’m sure I can’t be the first person to discover this, and there’s got to be a pocket-answer for it by now, so…

A client asked me a question today that I could not logically answer and is relevant to this since the question formed around the Area Calculations in the Report:


“Why is the exterior area of the first floor significantly smaller than the exterior of the second floor?”

My first thought was that the interior was larger because of the garage below. Makes perfect sense for an Interior measurement. but that wasn’t their issue, their issue was with the “Exterior Area” calculations.

As we can see on this floor plan, the first and second floor of this house is rectangularly identical “Brick to Brick”. The Exterior calculations would indicate a mushroom type of architecture.

I talked with the drafting team and I discovered what I thought was the issue, and that is, for some reason, the “Exterior Area” is not actually the “exterior area” of the home, it is only the exterior measurement of the interior “livable space”. Obviously, the reason behind this would be the inclusion/exclusion parameters on the drafting side; they only “include” the living space of the home in the interior measurements and the system automatically calculates an exterior number based on that information. This is providing an inaccurate “Exterior Area” calculation if we are to presume that “Exterior” actually means the outside footprint of a floor - which is what any human being I’ve met would naturally presume.

I can easily see why a seller or realtor would question this, “Exterior” should mean “Exterior”, and it’s in their best interest to not use our calculations, to “throw them out” (client’s words), if they aren’t going to represent what they indicate. This is a problem for every operator that is in business for themselves and want to use the accurate measurement services as part of their marketing program.

Reasonably, by its own definition and in its own context, the “Exterior Area” of a home should logically represent the measurement of the exterior area of a home. “Brick to Brick” as I’ve been told.

Explaining why an interior calculation is smaller than an exterior calculation is easy; trying to explain why the exterior calculation is smaller than the actual exterior of the home is almost comical to a realtor or a seller. It’s almost comical to attempt. I’m at a loss when I have to tell a seller or realtor that their garage is not part of the home, when it is, in fact, an often large and very salable part of that home. Being told that "It doesn’t bode well for “accurate measurements” by a client is concerning.

In our market (TN), Exterior Area does not seem to be held to the restrictions of “Livable Space” definitions, in fact, I do not see where it’s regulated at all.

Here is a document I found online about the ANSI standards for Interior Measurement Calculations:

I believe it would help our clients sell more homes and give them a stronger reason to use iGUIDE for their measurement services if the measurements made logical sense.

Can we do something about this? I know the drafting team has no operational solutions, so this has to be presented to the board of measurements.

If we are going to include the measurement, it should represent the measurement its name defines. It would do very well for iGUIDE to fix this as some realtors will use the exterior area calculations to list a home, but they’re only going to do that if it makes sense.

I hope we can fix this because I’d love for my clients to want to run to iGUIDE for measurement and area calculations services, but they are going to have to make sense to the realtors and sellers first.

I hope everyone has an awesome day!


I’ll post once more on this thread.

I didn’t read your whole post, but I can say with absolute certainty as someone who was doing floor plans before adopting the iGuide, and someone who’s read different industry guidelines and standards.

There is nothing to fix here. It is all reported correctly.

Thank you for mentioning your experience. I won’t doubt that you are correct or that it is being done 100% correctly; the problem lies within the term “Exterior Area” when it comes to common language with majority of people that haven’t been working with floor plans before adopting iGUIDE or knows anything about industry standards.

To fortify my point, simply ssk several random people this 1 question:

What IS an “Exterior Area” measurement?

  1. an exterior measurement of the interior area?
  2. a measurement of the area that is exterior?

I think anyone might agree that the name implies the answer would be #2, even if it is #1. Realtors aren’t engineers, neither are most sellers. When they see “Exterior …” they logically presume it means external.

Confusion is of the enemy and does not contribute to strong sales presentations. Natural and logical usually wins.

I understand what you are saying. I feel that you may be fighting a losing battle though. “External Area” is already defined within the industry. It may be very difficult to get the real estate boards of 50 states and 10 provinces to change their definition. Not all regions have strict guidelines yet, but the ones who do are not in agreement with your suggested definition.

I would be very concerned if iGuide began reporting the “external area” in any manner other than the one shown in your example.

Respectively, I’m not asking for the boards of 50 states to change anything.

Am I the only operator that has been asked why the entirety of an exterior area isn’t included in an “Exterior Area Calculation”? (probably not…)

A flex option on the back-end might be just what’s needed.

Potential operational solution:
Much like the [Include below grade in total area.] option; there could be an option to [Include all areas in Exterior Area] to alleviate issues with clients that refuse to accept the standards we live by…

That would be a workable solution beyond omitting the area calculations completely, which don’t really help operators sales when area calculations are a feature that isn’t going to be used because of definitions/assumptions.

It is reasonable for a Realtor to state/report the entire exterior area of a house brick to brick since that box is exactly what is being sold, so long as it is a stand-alone building.

Again, not trying to change standards - just trying to come up with an operational solution to save face with difficult clients that may choose other services because of a standard that doesn’t quite meet the presumably apparent definition of a feature (“Exterior”).

You’re missing the point. It’s the industry who defines this, not Planitar. This isn’t something Planitar should fix because there is nothing which needs to be fixed.

It is up to us as providers of the service to educate our customers properly on all of this.

And yes, I think you’re making a much bigger deal out of this than it is. I’ve never been asked about exterior area and, to my knowledge, operators are rarely asked about this.

Yes, it can be confusing if you’ve not dealt with it all before. But it is an industry-standard way of reporting this. I wouldn’t think to ask Planitar to change that.

Thank you for your understanding.

Garages are not included in sq ft of houses. The garage is 399 sq ft and is excluded from the total interior and exterior sq ft measurements.

“Garages, Unfinished Areas, and Protrusions
Garages and unfinished areas cannot be included in the calculation of finished square footage. Chimneys,
windows, and other finished areas that protrude beyond the exterior finished surface of the outside walls and do
not have a floor on the same level cannot be included in the calculation of square footage.”

This topic has been answered and will be good to leave here for anyone else that may have a similar question.