• John Gannon

Standards – are they relevant to land assembly?

Updated: Nov 16, 2017

What is a standard?

A #standard is a common way of doing something – in this instance assembling land.

Is there scope for standardisation in land assembly?

Whilst each project is different, land assembly projects also have many things in common –for example the land to be assembled needs to be specified, barriers to the proposed use need to be identified and processes to remove those barriers need to be executed. Some land assembly concepts are almost universal – for example land, people, and organisations; others such as land tenures are specific to geographic areas or jurisdictions. Acquisition procedures within jurisdictions may be standardised by specific land assembly legislation, rules, and guidance – for example, in the UK, the Planning Act 2008 introduced Development Consent Orders.

There would appear, therefore, to be some scope for standardisation at each of these levels – but is it worth the effort?

Standardisation – the benefits and costs

Independent research (Cebr, 2015) suggests that standards, in association with improved education and technological advancements, have supported a contribution of 34.7% to UK labour productivity growth (in monetary terms equivalent to £8.2bn out of £29bn in 2013). Similar contributions have been identified in France and Germany. The research also identifies that standards support productivity growth by, amongst other things, enhancing efficiency and facilitating innovation.

In the context of land assembly, efficiency gains could be realised through standardisation by, for example:

  • providing an effective means of sharing technical knowledge across projects and organisations involved in assembling land – avoiding the time and cost involved in each project developing and maintaining its own technical specifications;

  • facilitating interoperability of processes and systems – enabling the maximum benefit to be obtained from investment in data and systems;

  • providing information needed to improve process efficiency and quality of outputs.

Innovation in land assembly could be facilitated through standardisation by, for example:

  • providing information and the environment needed to develop better ways of doing things;

  • providing a wider market for innovative software applications and tools.

There are therefore likely to be significant benefits to be gained through standardisation.

There are, however, time and cost implications, for example:

  • to raise awareness of the potential for standardisation;

  • to provide the technical expertise needed to draft the standards;

  • for organisations to assess the suitability of the proposed standards;

  • for organisations to change existing practices to take advantage of the standards.

At Land Assembly Services we firmly believe that the benefits of standardisation will far outweigh the costs – so much so, that we have already drafted and published a draft data and data transfer standard for land assembly. Both are available on request via our web site, www.landassembly.net or by email to graham.clough@landassembly.net . We would welcome input into both from individuals or organisations involved in assembling land for development.

The potential benefits of standardisation can, of course, only be realised if standards are adopted – the more widely they are adopted the greater the benefits. So, as well as continuing with the ongoing development of draft standards for land assembly, we will be seeking feedback and engagement with potential stakeholders regarding key issues such as:

  • collaborative working on standards development;

  • adoption of the standards;

  • stewardship and maintenance.

What next?

We are now embarking on a campaign to raise awareness of the potential for standardisation in land assembly and would therefore be appreciative if you could pass this on to anyone you think may find it of interest.

Over the coming months we will be providing more detailed information on how the potential for standardisation can start to be realised through adoption of the data and data transfer standards. If you wish to be kept up to date on what material is available you can subscribe to our website https://www.landassembly.net/subscribe or follow us on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/16897484/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/las_ltd .


Cebr. (2015). The Economic Contribution of Standards to the UK Economy. London: BSI.


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