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Guidance issued for measuring land

Words: Laura Edgar
Land surveyor / iStock-471746409

Draft guidance for the measurement of land, which would become global best practice for the consistent calculation of land measurement and associated metrics, has been published for consultation.

Commissioned by the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the draft guidance aims to provide clear definitions for the measurements that are widely used in the property and planning sectors, advocating worldwide consistency.

The guidance will have implications for surveyors, planners, architects and government administrators across the world.

Five core definitions have been proposed to assist with the global measurement of land:

  • Land area: This should be used to refer to the legal title area of land, and is of particular relevance to agents and lawyers as it is the legally demised area of land.
  • Site area: This should be used to refer to the area of land used for planning application purposes and is of importance to those involved in the development process as it is the area to which any permission for development relates.
  • Net development area: This should be used to refer to the area from which financial value is directly derived, by virtue of either being income-producing or for sale, and is of relevance to development surveyors and valuers.
  • Plot ratio: This is the ratio of Gross External Area (GEA) of a building or buildings at each floor area, under the International Property Measurement Standards, to the site area, and is already used as a standard metric for planning and design in certain sectors and jurisdictions.
  • Site coverage: This is the ratio of the building footprint’s GEA to the site area at ground-floor level, and again is already a standard metric for planning and design in certain sectors and jurisdictions.

Tony Mulhall, associate director of the land professional group at the RICS, which commissioned the work, said: “The RICS is committed to regulating the property industry in the public interest, with the accurate and consistent measurement of land and property being absolutely fundamental to this. This guidance is an important step forward which will harmonise practice in the built environment profession for the better around the world.”

Lead author, Jonathan Manns, board director and head of planning and development at London-based real estate developer Rockwell, commented: “This guidance represents a step-change in the way that land is measured around the world. By introducing a clear and standardised approach it will profoundly improve the accuracy and consistency of measurements for those buying, selling and valuing land, as well as those seeking to propose or determine applications to develop it.”

The consultation on Measurement of Land for Planning and Development Purposes runs until 17 September. It can be found here on the RICS website.

Image credit | iStock