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Hot Topic Highlight – RICS Guidance Note Land Measurement for Planning and Development Purposes

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

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What is this week's blog about?

In this week’s blog, we take a look at the new RICS Guidance Note Land Measurement for Planning and Development Purposes. This is essential reading for candidates pursuing the Measurement competency, as well as Planning & Development pathway candidates.

The full Guidance Note can be downloaded here.

When does the new Guidance Note take effect?

24 August 2021.

Why has the new guidance been published?

The new guidance provides much-needed clarity on the measurement of land for planning and development purposes. This will enable areas to be accurately described at each stage of the development process.

The guidance should be read in conjunction with RICS Professional Statement Property Measurement (2nd Edition) and the International Land Measurement Standard (ILMS).

When considering boundaries, surveyors should also refer to the RICS Guidance Note, Boundaries: Procedures for Boundary Identification, Demarcation and Dispute Resolution.

What are the new bases of measurement?

There are four bases of measurement in current use, with a new term, Land Ownership Area (LOA), introduced in the Guidance Note. The application of each basis is defined in Section 3 of the Guidance Note.

Land Ownership Area (LOA) – ‘an area of land, measured on a horizontal plane, which is held in a single legal interest or title by one or more legal owners, and that may be the subject of a proposed or actual sale, letting or other disposal, valuation or compulsory purchase. It may comprise all or part of that single legal interest or title’.

Site Area (SA) – ‘the total land area for which development authorisation is sought, measured on a horizontal plane’.

Net Development Area (NDA) – ‘the extent of the site area upon which one or more buildings or other operations and their ancillary space can be built, measured on a horizontal plane’

Plot Ratio (PR) – ‘the ratio of total development floor area to site area. Development floor area may be measured as gross external area (GEA) or gross internal area (GIA), but whichever is used – or modifications of them – should be clearly stated’. This is similar to Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and Floorspace Ratio (FSR).

Site Coverage (SC) - ‘the ratio of ground floor area (measured on the basis of GEA) to site area’.

These bases should be adopted unless there is a mandatory alternative jurisdictional requirement.

How accurate do my measurements need to be?

The level of accuracy for a surveyor’s measurements are set out in Appendix A.

Accuracy of a surveyor’s measurements

How can we help?

Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you.

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.


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