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What are carpet area, built up area and super built up area when measuring the size of houses?

Home buyers in India would invariably come across terms like carpet area, built up area and super built up area as they try to gauge the size of homes. This article is meant to act as your guide to understanding these three terms and what they convey.

Carpet area
Carpet area is that area in the flat which you could cover using a carpet. It is also known as the net usable area. According to the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act (RERA), carpet area is ‘the net usable floor area of an apartment, excluding the area covered by the external walls but including the area covered by internal partition walls of the apartment’. Under the government’s PMAY programme, carpet area is defined as the ‘area enclosed within the walls and the actual area to lay the carpet’.

Formula to calculate carpet area
Carpet area = Area of bedroom + living room + balconies + toilets – the thickness of the inner walls

Built-up area
The built-up area in a flat is its carpet area, plus the space taken by the walls. The build-up area in a flat also includes other unusable areas like balcony, terrace, flower beds, etc. This is why the space in a flat would seem larger when it is expressed in build-up area terms.

Formula to calculate built-up area
You can arrive at the built up area in your home by using the following formula:
Built-up area = Carpet area + area of walls + area of balcony

Super built-up area
Super built-up area is the built-up area of the property, along with the proportionate area of the common facilities in the housing project. These facilities may include the lobby, the lift shaft, the stairs, the swimming pool, the garden, the park and clubhouse, etc. Developers arrive at the super-built up area of a unit by way of adding the total built-up area with the area occupied by common areas, including the corridor, the lift lobby, the elevator, etc. In some cases, builders even include amenities such as pools, gardens and clubhouses, in the common area.

What is covered in super built-up area?
Built up area of the flat
Clubhouses
Air ducts
Pipe / shaft ducts
Lift
Staircases
Lobby
Swimming pool
Gymnasium
Any other common facilities
Note: The additional area will be added to the carpet area based on the loading factor used by the builder.

Formula to calculate super built-up area
Super built-up area = Built-up area + proportionate common area
Or
Super built-up area = Carpet area (1+loading factor)

What is loading factor?
The difference between the carpet areas and the super built up areas is known as the loading factor. The following is the formula to calculate the loading factor percentage:
Carpet area * (1-loading factor) = Super Built-up area
Note: The loading would be in the range of 15% to 50%, depending on builder and the exact location. In cities like Bengaluru, the loading factor could be in the range of 20-25% or even more.

Super built-up area calculation example
When there are more than one apartments on a floor, the super built-up area is calculated in a different manner.Let us assume that on the fifth floor of a housing society, Sanjay Mehta owners an apartment with a built-up area of 1,000 sq ft. On the same floor, Amit Lal owns an apartment with a built-up area of 2,000 sq ft. The total common area on the floor is 1,500 sq ft.Now, to calculate the super built-up area of the two apartments, the builder would divide in the ratio of the apartments’ built-up areas (in this case 1:2) add 500 sq ft extra space in Mehta’s total built-up area and 1,000 sq ft extra in Lal’s built-up area. Now, the super built-up area of Mehta’s apartment is 1,500 sq ft and Lal’s is 3,000 sq ft.

Final carpet area calculation
In most cases, the carpet area in your flat would typically be 70% of its built-up area. So, if the built-up area of a property is 1,500 sq ft, its carpet area would typically be 1,050 sq ft.

Carpet area, built up area and super built up area in Indian real estate
Before the RERA made it mandatory for builders to sell flats based on carpet area, they widely used the super-built-up area as the space-measuring unit, to cash in on the lack of clarity on space calculation. The use of super built-up area as the measuring unit, helped them to lower the per sq ft cost of the property. It also gave the buyer a false impression that they were investing in a large home when they actually were not.

“Super built-up area is the big number, which developers prefer to market their projects with. It is the number they arrive at, by adding common areas with built-up areas. Super built-up area is also known as the saleable area, because it becomes a yardstick for developers to quote their buyers,” explains Vijay Verma, CEO, Sunworld Group. With more than one apartment on a floor, the calculation of super built-up area is done differently, he adds.

Suppose a house with a carpet area of 1,000 sq ft is priced at Rs 2,000 per sq ft. In such a scenario, the overall cost of the property will be Rs 20,00,000. To make the marketing pitch even more attractive, a developer will provide the super built-up area (let’s say, 1,300 sq ft) and price the property lower at, say, Rs 1,800 per sq ft. In this scenario, the overall cost of the property will be Rs 23.40 lakhs. To a naïve buyer, the latter would any day sound way more attractive than the former.

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