Pioneering draft guidance for land measurement published

A pioneering draft guidance for the measurement of land has been published, which if accepted will have far reaching implications for development surveyors, planners and architects across the world.

The document from the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which acts worldwide to regulate the property profession in the public interest, provides clear definitions for those measurements which are widely used in the property and planning sectors.

Advocating consistency worldwide the new guidance has been lead-authored by British chartered surveyor and town planner Jonathan Manns and a consultation on the draft guidance runs until 17 September, prior to formal adoption at the end of the year.

There are five core definitions proposed to assist with the global measurement of land. The guidance says that Land Area 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 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 should be used to refer to the area from which financial value is directly derived, by virtue of either being income producing being income producing or for sale, and is of relevance to development surveyors and valuers.

It says that Plot Ratio 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 is defined as 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.

‘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,’ said Tony Mulhall, associate director of the Land Professional Group at RICS, which commissioned the work.

Lead author, Jonathan Manns is widely acknowledged as one of Britain’s foremost urbanists. He is board director and head of planning and development at London based real estate developer Rockwell. He is a writer, speaker, lecturer, campaigner and founder of the APPG for London’s Planning and Built Environment.

‘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,’ he said.