Housebuilder tip of the month: Estate Plan Approval – what constitutes a good plan?

Housebuilder tip of the month: Estate Plan Approval – what constitutes a good plan?'s Tags

Tags related to this article

Housebuilder tip of the month: Estate Plan Approval – what constitutes a good plan?

Published 28 febrero 2023

Good quality and well prepared estate plot plans are at the very heart of a well-developed site, ensuring that you have suitable plans is one of the most important tasks early on in developing a new estate to make sure you get this right and avoid problems post completion.

So what actually constitutes a good estate plan? Helpfully, HM Land Registry (“HMLR”) have  provided a guidance note for this very purpose, we have referenced some of the guidance below:

  • An estate plot plan must show the scale and orientation (north point) to which the plan has been prepared. Example scales used for preparing estate plot plans are 1:1250 or 1:1500 at either A4 or A3.  It is important to note here that the desired scale for a master estate plan need not be the same as individually prepared plot plans. This is because the master estate plan is not registered at HMLR, whereas the individual plot plans are. The master estate plan can also be drawn in sections if the development does not fit comfortably across one plan which is useful for very large or consortium sites.
  • Estate plans cannot contain any disclaimers such as “for identification only” or “do not scale from this drawing” as this brings into question the accuracy of the plan. 
  • Sufficient Ordnance Survey detail of the external boundaries of the site must be included to ensure the development can be easily located.
  • The plan must show the extent of the plot by way of a red line boundary around the whole of the demise.  Parking spaces which are included in the demise but fall adjacent or away from the plot must be separately identifiable on the plot plan.  So, for example, plot 101 would have the parking space prefixed with “P" to be known as "P101” to denote that this is the parking parcel relevant to plot 101.  HMLR accept similar prefixes for carports and garages, being “C” and “G” respectively.
  • The plan must show any details referred to in the transfer or lease, such as utility easements or communal facilities.
  • For apartments or unusual demises (such as flats over garages or duplex apartments) the floor levels and extent of the demise on each floor should be shown.

HMLR offer a free estate plan checking service and we always use this service to check estate plot plans are acceptable for registration purposes. This ensures that issues in relation to the plans are dealt with prior to any plots being sold, ultimately saving time in the sales process. To obtain estate plan approval a master estate plan is prepared which should include all the plots you are intending to sell, each individually edged in red and with the boundaries of the estate shown.  We usually see the estate boundary edged in blue with the plots individually edged in red.  Once HMLR are happy with the plans, they will issue “Estate Plan Approval”.  This Estate Plan Approval is a vital document to a successful sale programme and we always include this in your legal sales packs because, amongst other things, such approval:

  • offers comfort to purchasers’ solicitors that the plans are suitable for registration at HMLR. Purchasers’ solicitors usually want to see this prior approval before they will commit to an exchange
  • allows purchasers’ solicitors to submit pre-completion searches to HMLR quoting the approved estate plan date, which is much quicker than manual submissions, before completing which really helps to avoid unnecessary pre-completion delays.

A further available benefit to the developing estates service is a determination of the estate boundaries to check at an early stage that the development fits within your title to the land. This might sound obvious but mistakes in registration of title boundaries do happen! This secondary approval service is issued at the same time as estate plan approval and is very useful especially for plots sitting close to the boundary line.

Finally, it's important for estate and plot plans not to be overly complicated or difficult to interpret, this enables purchasers have a clear understanding of their plot and the surrounding estate. This is particularly important given the launch of the NHQC (New Homes Quality Code) which states plans should be provided to purchasers reliably illustrating the newbuild plots general layout and orientation.

Working with us to develop and agree the form of estate plan is vitally important to a successful sales programme and we look forward to engaging with you on this.


Paul Best

Paul Best


+44 161 934 3766

< Back to articles