In another step forward for the application of Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) across the sector, the Government’s building safety regulator has requested those registering high-rise buildings to provide one of these unique codes for each building submitted.

UPRNs are unique numbers, up to twelve digits in length, which are linked to specific information about a property. UPRNs allow each building to be uniquely identified with unparalleled accuracy and will prove a valuable resource for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (the government’s regulator for the new building safety regime) as it builds its register of higher-risk buildings.


Benefits of UPRNs

The benefits of using UPRNs to identify individual buildings are far-reaching and include:

  • Improved building, consumer and market safety
  • More targeted and cost-effective enforcement of legislation
  • Increased protection for tenants and a reduction of rogue landlords
  • The ability to speed up conveyancing and transparency in home buying and selling
  • The opportunity to reduce waste, save time and empower the consumer

The use of UPRNs across the sector has long been encouraged by the Institute of Residential Property Management, the RED Foundation and the Lettings Industry Council. Its application has also been further backed by leading bodies from across the residential property sector.


High-Rise Buildings Register

On Thursday 13th April, the Government opened registrations for high-rise residential buildings. It is a legal requirement to register high-rise residential buildings that are at least 7 floors high, or 18 metres tall or higher, with two or more residential units by 1 October 2023. If you are the Principal Accountable Person for your building or have been authorised to complete registration on their behalf, you can begin your application.  

As part of the registration process, those submitting applications will need to provide a unique UPRN number for any high-rise buildings being submitted. UPRNs are allocated by local authorities and by Ordnance Survey (OS) from a range provided by GeoPlace. GeoPlace has worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive over several years. The building safety regulator will link UPRNs to its own data, using it to further validate information received from other bodies.

Comments from the Industry

Theresa Wallace, Chair of the Lettings Industry Council, said: “Sharing data is the key to success in the sales and lettings markets. I am delighted to see that the HSE are using the UPRN for their registration service for high-rise residential buildings in England. I hope that many others will follow. Property data is held in so many places and eventually to be able to pull documents together almost instantly using UPRN’s will speed up the sales process and could ensure a rental property meets a minimum H&S standard. The property portal we are told will be built around UPRN’s and it is time for anyone sitting on the fence to get on board.”

Dan Hughes of Alpha Property Insight and RED Foundation said: "The use of data continues to rise up the property sectors agenda and the ability to use data is key to success in this area. In the last couple of years, we have seen good progress in the use of the UPRN with it now being used in many different areas. The high rise building register from HSE, EPC certificates or BASPI from the Home Buying and Selling group are just a few examples of where the UPRN is now being used which will allow data to be better connected across the life cycle of a building, in turn increasing efficiency and enabling improved transparency and insights. There is a long way to go in the UK, but both private and public sector have made great strides in recent years."

Andrew Bulmer, CEO of The Property Institute said: “Implementing the building safety regime is proving to be an increasingly complex and challenging task, not just for those on the ground, but for the regulator itself. Anything that can make this transition easier is therefore welcomed. The use of UPRNs will simplify the process for the HSE by allowing it to quickly access critical information on high-rise buildings; also deemed higher-risk buildings. It will also introduce UPRN mechanics to those unfamiliar with it in the sector. The fact UPRNs will now be underpinning a new building safety regime is yet another demonstration of their versatility.”

Participate in Health and Safety Executive Research

The Health and Safety Executive’s delivery partner, PA Consulting, is working to design and develop the digital services that will support BSR functions. As part of this, they are conducting feedback and usability sessions with people who will be interacting with the regulator. 

Sessions will be 1-to-1, lasting no more than an hour, and will be conducted online, so you can take part from your home or office. This kind of testing is widely used across government to make digital services more usable by and accessible to the people who use them.

To take part, please provide your details via our online form

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