Civil engineer Paudie Barry examines the problematic and very common practice of transferring land by submitting paper maps to the Land Registry and how it can go horribly wrong when a planning permission application is made on the same plot and what you can do to avoid disaster. The solution is surprisingly simple.

The crux of the issue is as follows:

Planning application layouts typically, and understandably, use up every square foot. The construction details on a planning application layout drawing have their proposed locations defined to the nearest millimetre by dimensions on that planning application drawing.

In contrast, the land registry compliant paper map’s accuracy is defined as having the same stated accuracy as the Ordnance Survey Map, which is +/-1m.

When the land registry compliant map is submitted, you have no control over where the boundary ends up being registered within that +/-1m. This is because the paper map is traced over by a land registry mapper.

Compounding this potential error, the Land Registry mappers are procedurally bound to trace over Ordnance Survey Map features, while the OSi Map is stated to being within +/-1m, this can practically be up to 9m in the wrong place.

Problematic Land Registry OSi base mapping can be resolved by requesting the Ordnance Survey surveyors to come out to site to check and fix their incorrect map features, which underlay a new or existing boundary line. The corrected OSi Map is then used for Land Registry submission.

* Incorrect Land Registry Maps can also be fixed in this way prior to property sale.

I have worked on a number of development projects where we were asked to mark out a planning application layout on the ground, only to find that it went beyond the curtilage of the site ownership, as defined by the RED land registry line.

How can this mess be avoided?

The answer is simply to submit a 'shape file' of the physical site to the Spatial Information Unit in the Land Registry, so that they can upload the sharply defined GPS coordinated ITM survey of the actual plot to be registered.

When there is no spatial conflict with the plot submitted, the Land Registry will issue an S number, which defines the area for transfer within one millimetre. Now the new boundary arising from the land registration process is as accurately defined as the planning application drawing.

Apart from the added advantage of guaranteeing the spatial accuracy of the registered boundary, this digital land registration workflow will also guarantee acceptance of the map by land registry within 24 hours.

About Paudie Barry

Paudie Barry is a spatial data specialist, a qualified civil engineer, has a higher diploma in GIS and 33 years of experience as a land surveyor.

"My 33 years as a land surveyor enables me to deal with the Ordnance Survey Quality Assurance Department and my higher diploma in geographic information systems enables me to communicate effectively with the Spatial Information Unit in the Land Registry in order to resolve incorrect mapping or to accurately register a new plot.

"Please feel free to contact me with any Land Registry Mapping query you may have." Paudie Barry 086 2535285. Email: