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Property definitions

This list of key property definitions supports the guidelines, standards and reports. The definitions provide consistency around terminology use across property, and will assist with the measurements that are used to monitor government property data.

Area types

Net Lettable Area (NLA)

Also referred to as ‘rentable area’. The net floor space under the control of the tenant, in m2, as defined by the measurement guide adopted by Property Council New Zealand.

Relevant document - Guide for the measurement of rentable areas 2013 - Property Council New Zealand

The NLA is used to calculate rentable areas in office buildings and can usually be found specified in the lease. Essentially it is the area within the internal surface of the windows, it generally includes:

  • Workspace including collaboration areas and kitchen and utility zones
  • Columns
  • Lift lobbies unless part of the building common area
  • Toilets if not located within egress stairwells
  • Cleaners and other storage cupboards

but excludes:

  • Building plant areas
  • Risers
  • Electrical cupboards
  • Lifts and egress stairs
  • Areas dedicated as public spaces or thoroughfares such as foyers, atriums and building service areas.

The Government Property Portal uses the total manual area m² of groups against a lease to calculate NLA.

Net Office Area (NOA)

Areas used primarily for undertaking desk or administration focussed activities and associated facilities and amenities such as meeting spaces, storage, kitchen and breakout, amenities, circulation and reception areas. The NOA is used to calculate the occupancy density in government office buildings.

It generally includes:

  • An agencies net lettable area identified in their lease

but excludes:

  • Public interface areas
  • Carparks (including carparks within the building footprint)

The Government Property Portal categorised these areas as office to calculate NOA and is in scope of the Government Property Group mandate.

Operational areas

Areas that are not primarily used for undertaking desk-based activities. The primary purpose of the space/building is not related to normal office work. Includes associated areas that support non office functions, for example;

  • Residential facilities
  • Correctional facilities
  • District Health Boards
  • Gym and changing facilities for the benefit of the workers
  • Workshop space e.g. specialised areas for manufacturing or repairing items used by the organisation such as the construction of surveillance equipment
  • Public library
  • Airport terminal scanning areas
  • Vessel storage areas
  • Special storage facilities
  • Court rooms
  • Police stations
  • Laboratorys

These operational spaces may also have meeting rooms, reception areas, kitchen, toilets, lifts, staff rooms etc but the primary purpose is not “office” activities, as defined under Net Office Area (NOA).

The Government Property Portal categorises these areas as non-office and are excluded from scope of the Government Property Group mandate.

Public interface areas

Public interface (sometimes referred to as Front-of-House) areas are used primarily for face-to-face interactions with clients and the public, for the purposes of delivering government services.

These areas generally do not include workpoints, unless they are also used as meeting areas for workers to interact with the public, for example:

  • Customer service centres (not including contact or processing centres)
  • Te Hiranga Tangata (work and income) branches
  • Te Papa Atawhai (Department of Conservation) visitor centres

These public interface areas will also have dedicated meeting rooms, reception areas, kitchens, toilets, lifts, staff rooms, etc. but the primary purpose is for interacting with the public/clients.

The Government Property Portal categorises these areas as public interface and are in scope of the Government Property Group mandate.


A workpoint is an area for undertaking office-based activities. Examples of workpoints collectively include, but are not limited to, workstations, collaboration spaces, quiet focus areas and meeting rooms (noting that an enclosed meeting room’s main purpose is conducting private group meetings). Workpoints that do not provide ergonomic settings are intended to be used on a short term basis throughout the day.


A workstation is an area for undertaking desk-based activities and can either be assigned, or unassigned (e.g. flexible working environment). As a minimum, a standard workstation typically includes ergonomic settings, along with the following equipment:

  • Self-adjustable desk and chair
  • Monitors
  • Docking station, power, data
  • Keyboard, mouse and any other equipment which supports the agencies ICT requirements.


Headcount is the estimated number of personnel whose primary places of work are within the net office area. Headcount includes all personnel who are accommodated within this area whether they are part-time or full-time, contracted, seconded in or temporary workers. Headcount excludes personnel seconded out, on long term leave and unfilled positions.


  • If an agencies’ human resources can confirm two full-time equivalents (FTE) are sharing the same role without overlap in occupying the office, then it can be counted as one person for headcount purposes.
    • Note: Each employee is assigned an FTE value between 0 and 1 depending on the proportion of full-time hours (however defined by each department) worked. For example, an employee working full-time equals 1 FTE while an employee working 60% of full time hours equals 0.6 of an FTE. The FTE values of all employees are added up to give the total number of FTE employees in an organisation.
  • Government Property Portal (GPP) uses Headcount to calculate occupancy density of Net Office Area. Headcount can be recorded against any areas of space within GPP.

Occupancy density

The proportion of Net Office Area per headcount. Occupancy density is used to monitor how efficiently office space is being occupied and utilised, and contributes to the reduction of the total lifecycle costs of a building.

Government has set a target of a portfolio wide, occupancy density ratio, of 12-16m2; per headcount.

Occupancy density calculations

The office density is calculated by dividing the net office area by the headcount.

Formula: Net Office Area / Headcount = Office density ratio

Example: 7,204 Net Office Area / 592 Headcount = 12m² Office density ratio

Workstation and workpoint ratios

Workstation ratio

The proportion of workstations to headcount. The workstation ratio is used to determine the capacity of workstations per person, whether they be regular, quiet or collaborative workstations. It is recommended that the workstation ratio should not exceed 7 workstations to 10 people. Note: a typical fixed working environment with traditional assigned desk model will have a static workstation ratio of 10:10 (10 workstations to 10 people).

Workstation ratio calculation

The workstation ratio is calculated by dividing the total workstations by the headcount and applying a percentage.

Formula: Total workstations / Headcount x 100 = workstation ratio

Example: 160 workstations / 200 headcount x 100 = 80% (or 8:10)

Workpoint ratio

The proportion of headcount to workpoint in a flexible working environment. The workpoint ratio is used to determine the capacity of workpoints which reflects the maturity of an agencies’ workplace strategy in meeting government expectations. It is recommended that the workpoint ratio should not exceed 130%.

Workpoint ratio calculation

The workpoint ratio is calculated by dividing the headcount by the total workpoints.

Formula: Headcount / Total workpoints x 100 = workpoint ratio %

Example: 180 headcount / 150 workpoints x 100 = 120%

Ergonomic settings

Work settings that include ergonomic furniture or equipment designed in a way that makes it comfortable and effective for people who use it for their work.

Workplace models

Flexible working arrangements

These arrangements help support a flexible and adaptable workforce. Providing a policy and process where an employee and their people leader can establish an informal or formal arrangement, normally a documented agreement stating a change in expected hours or days they work.

Refer to Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission Flexible-Work-by-Default guidance and resources

Fixed working environments

Traditional assigned desk

Generally, managers have their own offices and workers have their own assigned workstations in arrangements that mirrors a set hierarchy.

Hot desking

Hot desking is the practise of sharing or allocating desks on an as-needed basis rather than each individual owning a desk. This is an office organisation system which involves multiple workers using a single workstation during different time periods.


Hotelling is a shared workspace model similar to hot desking with an element of "booking workspace".

Flexible working environments

Activity Based Working (ABW)

ABW allows workers the freedom and flexibility to organise and decide where and how to work, who you might collaborate with and what information and tools you need for the job.

An ABW environment requires new behaviours, leadership styles, culture and work practices for the space to be successful.

Source - Veldhoen + Company

Agile working

Agile working is the idea that workers are allowed to work where they feel most comfortable. This could be a quiet pod, a collaborative bench space, an armchair or a traditional desk. Agile working organises the workplace on the basis of people or teams and organisational changes can be accommodated with relative ease.

Mobile working

Workers predominantly work away from the office and are not tied to a physical location. Mobile working is mainly adopted by workers who do a lot of travelling or work in remote locations. Mobile workers rely heavily on technology to connect with clients and other workers, or to the services and networks required to do their job effectively.

Co-working or co-sharing

Co-working is a style of work that involves a shared workplace, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office, those co-working are usually not employed by the same organisation and the space is rented on a short term or as needed basis.


Co-location is where multiple agencies share the same tenancy. The lead agency is responsible for managing both the lease and the operational aspects of the tenancy. Co-location can also be considered a lease and tenancy model.

Lease and tenancy models


A contract between a landlord and tenant to exclusively occupy a defined tenancy area for a defined period is described as a “lease” or “deed of lease”. There are a variety of lease types, including government standard leases (available from the Government Property Group), and Auckland District Law Society Deed of Lease.

Refer to Government standard legal templates for further information.


Co-location is where multiple agencies share the same tenancy. The lead agency is responsible for managing both the lease and the operational aspects of the tenancy. Co-location can also be considered as a workplace model.


In a co-tenancy, multiple agencies are located in one building but each manages their own individual tenancy (and lease) with the landlord. Some areas may be shared, e.g. large meeting rooms.