RICS has put its considerable weight behind Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) and called for the housing sector to adopt the hotly-debated technology.
The surveyors’ trade association says that, although the UPRN has been around for 20 years, along with unique street reference numbers, its use is not yet widespread and awareness of its existence among business and consumers is “patchy”.
RICS says adoption of the technology, which assigns every household in the UK with an alphanumeric number, needs accelerating.
“Our postcode system wasn’t designed for the digital age and isn’t unique at household level,” says Knight Frank’s head of geospatial Ian McGuinness (pictured).
“While we already have a national system of unique numbers, they’re not widely available – and chances are you wouldn’t recognise your own.”
RICS says the key reason why UPRNs will eventually gain traction is their ability to knit together all the information needed to transact a property sale into one ‘logbook’ linked to an address by its UPRNs.
Digital data within these logbooks will include HM Land Registry details, local land charges, energy performance certificates (EPCs), confirmation of compliance with Building Regulations, planning permissions, council tax assessments, gas and electricity safety certificates and various documents from the seller themselves.
Tim Main, chair of the Residential Logbook Association, says although RICS is correct to highlight the slow progress on UPRN adoption, it is “only a matter of time” before their use becomes widespread.
“UPRNs need to become standard within all the hundreds of CRMs used across the property industry and integrated into case management systems,” he says. “Adoption is coming down the pipeline and will significantly improve the property sales progress once it arrives.”