Malaysia study visit delegation from Universiti Putra Malaysia

Malaysia study visit delegation from Universiti Putra Malaysia

I was invited on my first trip with the International Unit this week, to beautiful Peterborough, to meet postgraduate students from Universiti Putra Malaysia, as part of their study visit to England organised by the Cambridge International Land Institute.

The students, who are studying towards their Masters in Land Resource Management, were in Peterborough to meet representatives of HM Land Registry to discuss the registration of strata.

Strata, plural of stratum, is the geological term for ‘a layer or set of layers of rock, earth, etc’ – or the area above and below a property.

For upper-middle-income countries wanting to develop, urbanise, and connect, such as Malaysia, this is a subject worthy of close study.  To plan a future of subterranean infrastructure, vertical living and mineral extraction, an effective system of land registration is not only essential but invaluable. As part of their course, the students are comparing Malaysia’s system to that of a developed country.

When you think about the UK’s engineering, architectural and land registration history, where could be better to learn about strata than the UK.

The Senior Survey and Plans Officer at our Peterborough Office who has been involved in a number of study visits, including this one, said “it is a pleasure to meet people with different experiences to our own and to share knowledge with people who are so engaged.”


UK airspace is one of the busiest and most complex in the world, with around 6,000 flights operating per day. When you buy a property, there is a legal presumption that you own from the centre of the earth to the heavens. In reality, legislation prevents you from interfering with the airspace above your property.


Most land in the UK is registered, so when you’re travelling by train, underground or tram, the chances are that you are travelling above or below someone’s property. Home to the world’s first underground railway, opened in 1863, the UK has amassed a century and a half of experience of designing, registering and building tunnels. The Channel Tunnel rail link and the new Cross Rail link are examples of how this has continued into the 21st Century.

Apartment blocks

The UK property market is worth hundreds of billions of pounds per year. The UK construction industry’s contribution to the total UK economy grew last year from £92 billion in 2013 to £103 billion in 2014 – the industry accounted for 6.5% of the total economy. Our cities and towns are expanding, outwards and upwards.  A vital part of this is our system of land registration that allows us to register varying strata as well as the more traditional plots of land.

Husni, Course Instructor at University Putra Malaysia explained that registration of strata ‘is a great UK innovation.’ It’s not surprising to see why international students and professionals are choosing to come to the UK to learn from HM Land Registry experts – after all, Britain is Great.

Isabel Obayda
By Isabel Obayda,
Senior Communications Officer at HM Land Registry