I graduated from university on 2016 without much of a clue what I wanted to do for my career, with a degree in geography there was always an underlying assumption that you would become a geography teacher and I knew that wasn’t for me! I attended a career event and picked up a leaflet filled with potential hiring companies and then scoured their vacancies for anything which might match my skills. Like a lot of people, I didn’t have a clue what land referencing was but being as a degree in geography was listed on the qualifications, I applied and researched as much as I could into what the service involves.
Nearly 5 years on, I have been part of a land referencing team since my first interview and have learnt so much! There’s satisfaction in knowing you have provided a service to enable the building of a project, that not many people consider. It’s an important, continuous role which plays an integral part in delivering the end result – where would a project be without the teams which facilitate the use of the land? Whether that be permanent use for building the physical features, temporary for stockpiling material or creating working areas that will eventually be handed back to landowners, or more simply just gaining the rights to enter someone’s field to conduct surveys on the local wildlife to ensure it’s not affected by the works, each part plays an important role.
The project which I’ve primarily been working on is High Speed Two (HS2). As you can imagine, it’s not a small scheme, and there’s a lot of teams working together, so collaboration is really key. Within my role, I’ve been able to see both sides of the coin – I’ve worked in the client’s office as well as delivering the work to HS2. The day-to-day tasks of a Land Referencer include using special software to create plans and capture the HMLR titles which break down the land in the UK into registered freeholds and leaseholds. This is the starting block for Land Referencers. After this there is a level of detective skills involved which I really enjoy. We use desktop research to find out as much as possible about the land in question and also the parties which have an interest in it. There’s a real sense of satisfaction that comes with piecing together multiple fragments of information to create a picture of the land in question before you even visit it. This brings me onto site visits and contact referencing. Land Interest Questionnaires (LIQ’s) are sent out to the parties identified during desktop referencing and we also go out to site to ensure we have described the land exactly as it is found, and also speak to the parties to make sure we have all the correct information. We need to ensure we have done the upmost to gather as much information as possible to be able to serve the correct notices, and therefore allowing HS2 to get on the land to do what they need to do.
Turning the coin, working as a co-located member of staff in HS2 offices, I have been able to see their side. I have been able to have vision on how the land is progressed through a number of steps to ensure all stakeholders are content with the area and acquisition method. I’ve also been able to pick up new skills through checking referencing from other companies which I feel has made me a more rounded Land Referencer.
Senior Land Consultant at Mott MacDonald