Adopting ILMS

With the International Land Measurement Standard soon to be published, the coalition is working to ensure its adoption around the world


  • James Kavanagh

20 May 2019

The International Land Measurement Standard (ILMS) Coalition was formed in 2016 by land professionals from more than 30 not-for-profit member organisations. It aims to make due diligence for land and real-estate surveying consistent globally through the creation and adoption of the standard. Members of the coalition are also committed to encourage world markets to accept and adopt it.

There has been no previous standard for due diligence in land and property surveying; in this context, due diligence is defined as an assessment that is considered reasonable and practicable when a surveying instruction is being executed under the standard. The application of ILMS must always be compliant with national and local jurisdictional requirements.

After the publication of ILMS in late spring, coalition members may choose to issue guidance notes to give their members further technical guidance on its adoption and implementation in their respective local markets. The coalition has begun liaising with governments and other stakeholders at project, local, regional, state, national and international levels to seek adoption of the ILMS, and its most recent activity is posted on social media.

International launch

ILMS featured at the World Bank Land conference and the CLGE general assembly in Sofia, both in March and will have launch events at UNGGIM New York in August, and InterGeo 2019 and the next CLGE general assembly in Istanbul, both in September.

Adoption of this international, principle-based standard for land and property information will reduce risks in land and real-estate surveying. The coalition advocates adoption of ILMS to promote better land governance, robust conveyancing, secure lending and land registration. ILMS will also engender global consistency by setting a standard for assembling land information that can be applied from project to international levels. As both a standard and a due diligence framework, it will enable evidence-based assessment of land and property.

"Adoption of this international, principle-based standard for land and property information will reduce risks in land and real-estate surveying"

Flexible and non-prescriptive, ILMS can be adopted incrementally or partially, in line with the fit-for-purpose principles, such as those being globally adopted in land administration. It will also advance best practice. ILMS recognises wider existing communal rights, tribal rights and gender rights, among others, and considers the hierarchy of land rights in any land parcel.

ILMS is intended to engender behavioural change in the marketplace in a number of ways. First, it will create a transparent and globally accessible due diligence framework for land and real-estate surveying, leading to more consistent and informed request from parties, lenders and advisers. Second, a widely adopted, universally practised globally consistent standard will improve professional capacity and capability.

These demand- and supply-side improvements may over time also prompt market demand for publicly accessible and transparent registers of land information.

The coalition intends ILMS to:
  • serve the public interest
  • focus on key land information elements, to minimise risk and support the land and property due diligence processes
  • document the status of land tenure security and land rights
  • support the advancement of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
ILMS will offer a framework for:
  • enabling the due diligence reporting process on land and property matters to take place for people and legal entities
  • strategic guidance for reporting on land and property assets in support of systems such as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
  • advancing transparency, integrity and consistency
  • describing the physical site and identifying what is on the ground, what information is available and the quality of the available information, rather than what is legislated or implied; this also includes recognition of gender-specific issues.

In practice, the ILMS should be adopted systematically, as it can be used in all markets whether there is a functioning land information system or not.

James Kavanagh MRICS is director of global land standards at RICS

Related competencies include: Access and rights over land, Cadastre and land administration, Legal/regulatory compliance

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