Future city design

Only current data allows you to get your projects right first time

Geographic Information Software (GIS) is racing ahead in terms of offering flexibility, accuracy and availability. According to experts in the industry, only a few years ago, give or take a few metres didn’t make much odds in planning an infrastructure project. It would be all right on the day. Understanding all ownerships that impact on land is vital. Anecdotally, something as seemingly insignificant as cutting down a tree has been cited as the catalyst for prolonged delays in a development project. The crux had been the location of the leaseholder’s interests on whose land the tree had stood. These precise details were unknown to the project owners who had been working with imprecise data.

Current understanding is that imprecise data and errors in planning can be deal breakers and result in more than a few uncomfortable lessons learned. Experts cite that the risk of data that is out of date is the lack of critical information such as erosion and other natural occurrences which can offer up inaccurate results. Land Registry provides the most current electronic extent data (Polygons), within a 10-day turnaround as standard for the service. Polygons integrate easily with your GIS software and offer a comprehensive view to optimise your project planning and support cost savings.

Managing risk is the only way to protect your assets and liabilities

Top financial services organisations manage billions in infrastructure investment on behalf of a wide range of clients. PWC (PriceWaterhouse Coopers) has recently forecast that spending in the UK infrastructure sector is likely to be £110 billion in less than 10 years’ time. What this means in relative terms is that the infrastructure sector remains robust and is gathering momentum.

Although no investment is a ‘sure thing’ this is a very attractive sector for fund managers. What could go wrong? Infrastructure projects are multi-layered and successful delivery is reliant upon significant expertise, compliance and due diligence. In short, yielding optimum results requires managing risk.

Consulting firm McKinsey cites lack of attention to risk management and mitigation as top contributing factors to the failure of infrastructure projects. The overall consensus across industry professionals is that due to the size of infrastructure projects there can be gaps in communication and transparency in the exchange of key information including data. This can ultimately translate into additional contractor and consultancy costs across developments which are planned across already protracted timelines.

Good planning and decision making are impossible without correct information

 Infrastructure projects involve billions of pounds in transactions and represent significant gross value add (GVA) to the UK economy which is currently ranked 7th in the world. The wider impact of well-planned projects is job creation, improved quality of life and further commercial interest in direct and inward investment.

Delivery of infrastructure projects cannot be ‘guesswork’. Planning and decision making on this basis may lead to delivery of ‘white elephant’ projects which have been seen globally and underline the negative aspects of expensive ventures gone wrong: financial waste, disappointment and reduced public confidence.

Land Registry can mitigate concerns for many customers who need the confidence and assurance that they are working with correct information. The development of a project and the power of the contributing GIS resides in the GIS’ ability to use many types of data related to the same geographical area to perform the analysis, integrating different datasets within a single system. Our electronic extent data can contribute ownership extent and the associated impact on a project area. Additionally, the use of data facilitates intelligence of the project site and its wider environs.  Customers who purchase electronic extent data have access to updated information on an agreed calendar basis.

This reduces instances of delays to project completion and inevitable increased delivery cost. It also helps to ensure that customers have improved insight into the relative project stakeholders, particularly members of the public whom the project is likely to impact or benefit.

Having a spatial understanding of registered assets allows you to retain continuity to prevent information disconnect

‘Stove-piping’ is a term that has crept into the project management environment. Like it or avoiding it all costs, it is shorthand to identify scenarios where portfolio information, especially spatial data is consistently being sectioned off. The term originated in the US infrastructure sector as a result of large programmes work being stalled due to a breakdown in the flow of information among project areas.

A lack of a clear and continuous access to data results in an unclear picture of registered assets with a portfolio. This then creates challenges for planners and developers to draw conclusions. Again, delays and challenges to accuracy can lead to guesswork. As above, Land Registry works with customers to refresh data sets but also can talk one to one with customers to determine the correct type of data for you to use for your specific project.

Flexible use of data keeps your project moving and prevents bumps in the road

Good business is all about flexibility, speed and innovative approaches to development. Data sets that can be integrated with data from other sources to create a comprehensive overview are of most benefit to professionals. Land Registry can also offer ownership information via our Polygon Plus service. One of the most helpful features is allowing project owners to establish patterns of ownership. This could facilitate anything from planning bespoke projects for local authorities to delivering major redevelopment programmes.

This is your checklist of essentials. If you want to know more in order to do more, connect with us on social media or subscribe to Landnet, our customer newsletter.


Anton Hunt
By Anton Hunt,
Business Development Manager at HM Land Registry