Thermal Exclusions (a.k.a Free Square Footage)

Thermal exclusions are the “free square footage” from designing and building thicker exterior walls to provide better insulation which the City of Vancouver allows as extra square feet for a home, on top of the allowable square footage. To home buyers looking for Real Estate, it is simply a part of the Total Finished Area of the home since the thicknesses of all exterior walls enclosing a finished interior area are included as the Total Finished Area. This is the common practice for calculating Total Finished Area and is also the guideline for measuring single-family residential units specified in the ANSI Z765-2003: Square Footage – Method for Calculating measuring standard that we follow for our measurements.
An example: If the maximum allowable sqft for a home to be built is 2000 sqft, and the thermal exclusion is 40 sqft, the Total Finished Area, or the marketable square footage of the home, would actually be 2040 sqft. While it should be clearly documented in the construction drawings and permits, it is probably not needed nor included in the marketing materials of the home for sale.
Normally, on MLS or only the “Total Finished Area” is stated, which would be the total finished square footage that includes any legally-built “free space” that the City permits. If we were to go measure the home on-site and provide As-Built Measurements, we would provide the Total Finished Area that would include the exterior wall’s extra wall thickness, or “Thermal Exclusions” that the City allowed to be built.
As for checking the actual square footage on any construction drawing, without getting any onsite measuring done, the architect or builder would need to confirm or provide the square footage as they have the original working drawings and the square footage used to apply for the building permits (or made changes on the construction site as they were building – which does happen). The process of transferring the original construction or “blueprint” drawings to marketing drawings that you typically see provided with new developments or on, most likely will introduce some error, and without doing actual verification measurements on-site, you would not be able to determine the exact square footage of the home.
Finally, creating polished marketing drawings from the construction drawings would eliminate the possibility of E&O insurance since on-site measuring service wasn’t used to verify the square footage.
I hope this bit of information helps with the process of understand contruction drawings, thermal exclusions,completing the marketing floor plans. Please let me know if there’s any questions or anything else I can help you with.
About Brett Youngberg

Brett is an engineer turned professional athlete, turned business owner & marketer.

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