Land measurement for planning and development purposes

Published 24 May 2021
Effective from 24 August 2021
Reissued April 2023

RICS' 'Land measurement for planning and development purposes' is an important piece of guidance for surveyors engaged in preparing land for development, and is intended to bring consistency in the use of the terminology applied to different areas of land for this purpose.

In general usage, the term ‘site’ can be applied to many different parcels of land suitable for development. As a development proposal takes shape, more specific measurements of area are required. This professional standard enables the different measurements of land relied on in the planning and development process to be clearly distinguished.

This professional standard defines three distinct areas: the land ownership area, referring to the legal land ownership area; the site area, identified for planning application purposes; and the net development area, identifying the part of the site that will be occupied by buildings. Advice on the calculation of development density is also provided.

It provides global best practice, but practitioners will need to be aware of any local jurisdictional requirements that may have superior authority.

This document was reissued in April 2023 as a professional standard. It had previously been published in May 2021 as a guidance note. No material changes have been made to the document.