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Home » Blog » GLA » Measuring Methodologies for Total Scanned Area, GIA and GLA

Measuring Methodologies for Total Scanned Area, GIA and GLA

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Size matters in real estate. Developers, architects, appraisers, assessors, and even construction engineers all have their own standards for measuring. These methodologies differ based on a variety of influences such as product type and regional practice. The size of the home can be used in a multitude of ways, from helping an insurance company know what to expect for replacement costs to helping determine what taxes are owed to the local assessor.

Even though the size is such a big factor for so many industries, you might be surprised to know that there are no standards in place to ensure consistency across these different markets and uses. The only real standard is that a home will be measured in square feet (or square meters depending on the region). However, the method of getting to this number can vary.

If you look up how to measure a house, you’ll usually get something like “measure the width, then measure the length and multiply them” for a simple rectangle. The explanation is simple but doesn’t address the many nuances that go into what is considered in the size. Whether or not to include the walls, chimneys, stairwells, basements, unheated, and other areas is all determined by the measurer’s preferred practice and varies based on regional preferences and training. All of these different intricacies can affect what is counted when determining the size, based on the region and who is using the information.

In the U.S. alone, there are many definitions that are used around square footage. You might see things like gross floor area (GFA), gross internal area (GIA), net internal area (NIA), gross living area (GLA), and many more. These are just some of the options that exist for how someone might quantify the size of a home. Even within these definitions, there may be variance in how they are used depending on the market.

In consideration of the many options that exist to express the size of the home, CubiCasa has 3 variations we offer to accommodate multiple use cases. These are the total scanned area, the GIA, and the GLA (only available with the purchase of the GLA add-on).

  • Total scanned area – This includes ALL scanned areas, like porches and balconies. This number is most useful in determining the overall size of your floor plan for pricing.
  • GIA – This includes most finished areas, but not areas like garages or unfinished basements. Most real estate photographers and real estate agents will want to use this number. Exterior walls are also not included in this calculation.
  • GLA – GLA is defined by The Dictionary of US Real Estate Appraisal as the “Total area of finished, above-grade residential space; calculated by measuring the outside perimeter of the structure and includes only finished, habitable, above-grade living space”. The GLA option we provide aligns with the ANSI Z765-2021 standard to determine what is included. This is what appraisers, or real estate professionals in regions that require GLA on listing floor plans, would use. For more information, refer to CubiCasa’s FAQ about the Gross Living Area.

For most consumers – real estate photographers and agents, the differences between these methodologies are minimal and irrelevant for the listing. Many products require a specific option for accuracy, such as appraisals for purchases or refinances. When obtaining, creating, or even just viewing a floor plan, understanding what’s included can ensure the best product is being used for your needs.

We hope this information was helpful in determining what CubiCasa product is right for you. You can Get Started with CubiCasa if you do not have an account. Please feel free to reach us at with any questions regarding our different products.


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