When condominiums are purchased “new” from a developer, the square footage of each unit is derived from architectural measurements are the standard by which every builder works from. They are the building’s blueprint, complete with mechanical locations and dimensions, from which the building is constructed.
Purchasing a new condominium is very similar to purchasing a new single-family house. When talking about square footage, defining the space you’ll own from your neighbor’s space they’ll own once the building is completed is the difference. Here’s an example to illustrate. When you purchase a new 2,000 square foot home, you never subtract the area made by the 2 x 6 exterior walls even though these walls are built in from the foundations outside edge, nor would you subtract the area within which your mechanicals are run, effectively reducing your total useable space. When talking about the size of your home, you say you have a 2,000 square foot home, not what’s left after the exterior walls and mechanicals are subtracted from the size of your finished home.
To derive the final, legal square footage of condominiums, (that size which appears on the registered condominium plan), the unit is measured in the later stages of construction. This is due to the rules of condominium ownership. You own your unit’s space, exclusive of the common space that now exists between units, within exterior walls and mechanicals. You own a representative share of the common space, not the space itself. It is in this common space where the buildings mechanicals, plumbing, soundproofing and support structures are located and these are jointly owned by all unit owners.
When a new building is constructed, many units are built together, at the same time, not separately as with a house. Therefore, construction considerations are compounded. For instance, if the developer decides to add or upgrade a new air circulation system to enhance marketability, this could affect where the air ducts need to be located to optimize airflow/cooling or where some of the other mechanicals are located. Plumbing and other mechanical locations may need to be amended for proper installation. These and other factors, including deducting the exterior unit walls, all affect the final legal floor area of each unit.
When you insure your condominium, the insurance is for your contents that you own, not for any of the common property or the unit itself. The condominium corporation maintains a separate insurance policy for the building including units and common property. With condominium ownership you own a percentage of the total common property. Each owner is responsible for his or her share of the cost of maintaining the common property. This is paid through condo fees.
It is important to remember that the unit factor that was provided by the builder prior to the final registering of the condo plan remains the same once the plan is registered at land titles. Therefore your percentage of total ownership in the common property does not change. This places all condominium owners on the same level playing field when they go to resell their units just as when they originally purchased new.