Friday, 31 January 2014

Climate change - meeting the compliance challenge

Despite the Government's well-publicised Red Tape Challenge, the volume of climate change-inspired legislation seems to keep on growing.  Businesses, and in some cases public sector organisations too, may already:

·      be subject to compulsory carbon trading schemes (the EU Emissions Trading System, the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme)

·       be required to meet stringent energy targets in order to benefit from lower energy prices (Climate Change Agreements)

·       have to pay for Energy Performance Certificates and Display Energy Certificates for their buildings

·       be obliged to operate a formal energy management system as a condition of their environmental permit. 

Now, UK quoted companies must in addition report annually on their greenhouse gas emissions.  This new requirement extends to certain public bodies too, while others are strongly encouraged to report.  From next year, another new piece of legislation will make regular energy efficiency audits obligatory for all enterprises above SME level.
While such obligations may prove beneficial for some organisations through tighter control of energy consumption, high energy intensity businesses tend to manage their energy well in any case - when it is a large proportion of your overall costs, you have to or you become uncompetitive.  Whether large or small, the raft of carbon management legislative requirements presents a compliance headache, particularly for those operations that are subject to a number of the overlapping regimes.  The problem is magnified for companies that are part of an international group because the parent company may need to report worldwide emissions in several jurisdictions, based on differing legislation, emission factors and reporting guidelines.  Such groups will often wish to make voluntary reports as well, and engage in CSR, in a way that is appropriate in each country. 

How can an organisation keep track of all these requirements?  Better still, how can it go beyond mere compliance and make use of the data it is required to gather to increase efficiency and demonstrate its environmental credentials to its stakeholders?  Fortunately, the software tools are now available to meet these challenges and turn the burden of complying with multiple climate change regimes into an opportunity for performance improvements and reduced costs.

Landmark's Sustainability Sure package has been developed to help both large and small organisations to manage their energy and environmental data and facilitate reporting.  It is flexible and customisable, allowing the user to record, analyse and manage all energy/carbon compliance issues through a single application, no matter where the operations are in the world, and deal with other CSR and sustainability issues too.  It is supremely easy to use, with a web-based interface accessible through any browser.  The displays and outputs can be tailored to suit the organisation and the user's preferences, and alerts set to inform the appropriate people when particular events occur (or don’t occur). 

One of the key features of Sustainability Sure, and the main reason why many organisations use it, is CRC compliance.  It is well suited to the task of tracking energy usage across a large property portfolio.  Anomalies such as missing or inconsistent meter readings can easily be spotted, and supporting information such as bills or notes of organisational changes and property disposals can be uploaded to provide a full evidence pack.  A unique feature is Quick Connect which provides automatic receipt of data from energy suppliers and metering companies, reducing the chance of errors creeping in and ensuring the consumption figures are available quickly.

For those businesses that participate in multiple schemes, whether UK-only or worldwide, an important benefit of Sustainability Sure is that data only has to be entered once even if it is used in several ways.  For example, the consumption figures from a single meter can feed automatically into the CRC report, the UK greenhouse gas report, voluntary reporting under the Carbon Disclosure Project and any other outputs that may be required.  Emissions factors are automatically updated, a big advantage for those working across several jurisdictions with their different reporting obligations.  Users can be confident that their reporting will be compliant with both local legislative requirements and global standards.  The system can handle CSR data such as waste generation and workforce diversity as well as energy consumption and emissions, allowing everything to be managed and controlled through one tool.
Having gathered a substantial quantity of energy data, it would be a shame not to make proper use of it.  The Energy Dashboard within Sustainability Sure allows users to drill down through the data and analyse it in different ways (including graphically) to identify potential savings.  This process can be as simple or sophisticated as the users wishes.  For example, the energy manager of a large manufacturing group might start by ranking sites in descending order of energy intensity and then focus attention on the consumption of the top 10%.  Half-hourly meter data can be examined at whatever scale is required.  An unexpectedly high overnight gas consumption in single-shift production facility would merit investigation, as would a gradual increase in electricity demand over a period of months.  The impact of changes such as the installation of renewable electricity generation is readily identifiable, making it easier to justify similar investments in the future. 

Most of the schemes to which organisations are subject, whether mandatory or voluntary, have auditing requirements.  In the case of the CRC only about 20% of participants will be audited each year and, as a result, the need to maintain 'audit-ready' records is often forgotten.  This can lead to mild panic when a communication is received to warn of an impending audit.  Users of Sustainability Sure need have no fears because the system is designed to facilitate the audit process.  Remote or on-site auditor access can be provided easily, without compromising the security of other data, and all the supporting references will be available through the system.  This makes both internal and external auditing a simple procedure even across a large number of sites.
Using an effective management tool such as Sustainability Sure allows an organisation to reap the benefits of climate change legislation as well as ensuring that compliance is achieved and can be demonstrated. 
Victoria Joy

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

University Lecture Tour Update

Our University Lecture Programme is well underway, with lectures already taken place at Oxford Brookes University.

The aim of the Programme is to provide MSc and MBA Real Estate students with an insight into the range of digital mapping datasets that are available in today’s commercial world, and to support property or land-related projects that are part of their courses.

Today, the team is visiting Newcastle University and again on Thursday 13th February, plus a visit is scheduled with Chester University on Wednesday 12th February.

Students from their Real Estate & Construction Departments will attend the sessions to trial the web-based Promap® digital mapping application.  By using the tool, students are able to access Ordnance Survey mapping, plus a wide range of additional datasets, which will support them in the analysis of their course development projects.

Take Part!
For any Universities interested in joining the Promap University Lecture Programme, please contact Paul Marshall on 07798 611 121 or email for more details.

Identifying the 'Sacred Wonders of Britain'

We were delighted to be contacted by the BBC and production company Carbon Digital at the end of last year to help them in their pursuit to access 14 aerial maps of ancient British landmarks.  The imagery was to be used as part of a television series called 'Sacred Wonders of Britain', which is fronted by archaeologist, historian and broadcaster Neil Oliver.

The original aim was for us to not only access the mapping data, but to create digital aerial terrain images that could be used to illustrate some of most ancient landscapes and ritual sites that lie hidden below our land's surface.    

The locations include Anglesey Bryn Celli Ddu, Avebury Stone Circle, Grimes Graves flint mines near Thetford, Creswell Crags, Flag Fen archaeology park near Peterborough and Lindisfarne Holy Island to name just a few.  

With input from our friends at Ordnance Survey, we were able to access, create and contribute all 14 digital map images and have been delighted to see them being used in the three-part series, which aired on BBC2 during January.

Why not take a step back into history and learn exactly what these historic sites were used for? Sacred Wonders of Britain is available to download via the BBC iPlayer:

Also see:

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Landmark appoints Managing Director, Environment and Mapping

Landmark Information Group has today announced a significant senior appointment to our business. Chris Stubbs joins as Managing Director, Environment and Mapping, taking overall responsibility for its Land & Property and Promap divisions.

Chris will drive activities in the environmental and mapping space, which includes evolving Landmark’s popular Envirocheck and Promap digital platforms that are used extensively by environmental consultants, surveyors, architects, developers and other land and property professionals on a daily basis.  He will also spearhead new innovations related to 3D mapping, further integration with CAD, GIS and BIM software, in addition to the introduction of mobile technologies to support environmental consulting.

As Chris explains: “This is an exciting time for Landmark Information Group and there are some huge opportunities for us to make a real impact in the market. For me, accessibility of data and information are going to be key to the future of the industry, and this is an area where Landmark can create real value. From the rise of three-dimensional mapping and BIM to the evolution of mobile technology, we can expect to see some significant advances over the coming years, and I am very much looking forward to working with the team to drive the Group forward in the next stage of its development.”

With more than 25 years’ experience in the energy and environment industry, Chris has worked at senior board level at some of the UK’s largest environmental consulting firms. Prior to joining Landmark Information Group, Chris was Energy Practice Leader at ABB Ltd where he focused on driving product sales and developing new product delivery business models.

This followed five years as Director at WSP Environment & Energy, where Chris was global practice leader for energy and carbon management consultancy services. His role included the expansion of WSP’s carbon management and sustainability services across its entire global footprint and the development and delivery of WSP’s commercial EPC business in the UK.  

Commenting on Chris’s appointment, Mark Milner, CEO of Landmark Information Group, added: “Chris’s background and track record in the energy, environmental, and mapping space will be of considerable benefit to Landmark and our clients. His extensive experience will be invaluable in terms of driving the Land & Property and Promap Divisions forward through innovation, business development and specialist knowledge, in partnership with our customers, and we are delighted to welcome him to the team.”   

Chris is a regular public speaker at industry events, covering topics ranging from sustainability and carbon management, to climate change, adaptation and energy regulation. He is also a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

HCA selects Landmark Information Group to deliver Housing Market intelligence, as part of its £4bn housing framework programme

·         England’s national housing and regeneration agency awards contract to Landmark to provide essential, robust property intelligence
·         Data to be used to inform the development and delivery of affordable housing programmes and help the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) meet its target to realise 150,000 additional homes by 2015
·         Landmark Analytics – formerly Calnea Analytics and part of Landmark Information Group – to deliver strategic market intelligence data to support HCA’s decision making processes

Landmark Information Group, the UK’s leading supplier of digital mapping, property and environmental risk information, today announces it has been awarded a contract by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The contract is to provide property intelligence data to the housing and regeneration agency, to support the development and provision of its £4bn1 capital investment programme into delivering affordable housing across England.

Via Landmark Analytics – formerly Calnea Analytics – the HCA will have access to a wide range of accurate housing market intelligence, including House Price Index data, average rental price data, bedroom counts and historic transaction information by postcode or area.  By analysing the data as part of its housing delivery programmes, HCA has complete transparency of the housing market in order to make better informed decisions.

The Landmark Analytics’ property database – which is used by HMRC and in models approved by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s – provides robust market intelligence and includes a wealth of data including 90 million property images, 20 million sold price records, 18 million historic estate agency listings, 2 million energy performance certificates, 3 million floor plans, plus bedroom numbers, estimated internal area and Council Tax banding information.

Simon Short, Team Leader – Spatial and Market Intelligence of HCA said: “The HCA requires robust housing market data to support its decisions. Landmark Analytics met our needs with quality of data provision to support our evidence base.  The Panel assessed Landmark Analytics against a set of criteria and agreed that it provides the best quality and value for housing market data provision that meets our needs.”

HCA is the national housing and regeneration agency for England, with a capital investment budget of around £4bn for the period 2012-15. The agency has a legal duty to improve the supply and quality of housing in England. Its remit includes delivery of a number of schemes including the existing National Affordable Housing Programme, Low Cost Home Ownership including the FirstBuy product and the new Affordable Homes Programme, which includes the Affordable Rent product.   The programme is focused on accelerating the delivery of affordable homes in England with a target of up to 150,000 additional homes by 2015.

Carole Oliver, Business Development Manager, Landmark Information Group said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the HCA, providing essential, robust property intelligence to inform the development and delivery of key programmes. Landmark Analytics will provide vital evidence and market transparency on which the agency can base its decision-making processes for the provision of affordable and sustainable housing delivery.”

Landmark Analytics’ is the UK’s only ISO-accredited Automated Valuation Model (AVM) provider and is at the forefront of delivering analytics data to mortgage lenders for use in strategic risk management and fraud prevention programmes.

For further information  

Carole Oliver
Group Business Development Manager

Critical Asset Intelligence to Reduce Your Risk

Would your organisation have the critical asset intelligence ready for an ‘Asset Register’?
If the answer is no or you are unsure of where to turn, help is at hand from Landmark Analytics:

Following the publication of the white paper for an Asset Register, Housing Providers are looking for help in
accessing clear intelligence that provides clarity on exactly what land and property assets are owned by their organisation. As a result, Housing Providers are working with Landmark Analytics to access its wealth of market data and industry analysis to provide the answers they need. This includes the ability to visualise
portfolios, calculate accurate current asset valuations, digitally map properties with Business Intelligence, plus undertake supporting tasks such as address verification and data cleansing. Carole Oliver, Group Business
Development Manager at Landmark Information Group said: “The outcome of Cosmopolitan and subsequent white paper for an Asset Register has resulted in our clients coming to us for clear asset
intelligence. They want clarity on asset ownership and values, plus robust market intelligence for appropriate tenures, disposal & acquisition and investment strategy. Our expertise in being able to quickly and accurately analyse data and return it with transparency and highly visual direction is proving an essential element in their decision making process.” Concludes Oliver: “The majority of Housing Providers have inherited poor and
inconsistent business intelligence, and it is now more essential than ever that the sector can restore confidence to lenders and Government by demonstrating strategy based on accurate BI.”

Cases in point

Neil Topping, Business Processes Officer of Family Mosaic:
“With over 24,000 properties in our portfolio, it is vital that the information within our property database is accurate on a number of levels. We have undertaken an intelligence exercise with Landmark Analytics, which has a reputation for having one of the UK’s most accurate residential property databases. Our immediate need was to ensure all addresses in our database match the format of Royal Mail’s, however since working with Landmark, we have been able to analyse a wider range of metrics, such as bedroom count. This is particularly important as this information needs to be accurate for the benefit of our tenants. All in all, working with Landmark has saved us a great deal of time and they have been able to provide more intelligence than we were originally expecting at the outset.”

Julian Pimm-Smith, Head of Business Intelligence of Affinity Sutton:
“Affinity Sutton is a location-based business and the GIS visualisation of our asset and tenant information
is a critical component of our Business Intelligence suite. The ability to visualise our information down
to door-level accuracy gives our Asset and Housing staff a picture of their properties and patches that a
spreadsheet could not convey. Our Active Asset Management performance models are incredibly complex. They cover hundreds of detailed attributes over periods of 30 years on thousands of properties. The mapping of that data therefore turns huge sprawling datasets into clear drillable graphics, from the entire country, down through regions and estates, or even down to a single property and its individual financial and qualitative performance. This level of detail is essential for our operation and provides our mobile officers with the ability to access the information they need, via hand held devices, revolutionising operational delivery.”

Simon Short, Team Leader –Spatial and Market Intelligence of HCA:
“The HCA requires robust housing market data to support its decisions. Landmark Analytics met our
needs with quality of data provision to support our evidence base. The Panel assessed Landmark
Analytics against a set of criteria and agreed that it provides the best quality and value for housing
market data provision that meets our needs.”

To discuss how your organisation could benefit from an asset intelligence health check contact:
T: 0330 036 6275

Carole Oliver
Group Business Development Manager

Friday, 10 January 2014

Starting the Year with a Bang!

We are proud to be kicking 2014 off with some excellent news; we are pleased to confirm that Landmark has reached the shortlist of the FSTech Awards 2014 for the ‘Most Innovative Product of the Year’. The product in question is our ‘Q-Mobile’ property data capture solution, following an entry we submitted that focused on how Connells Survey & Valuation has successfully implemented the software and tablet-based technology to aid its mortgage valuation process.

Connells Survey & Valuation has embedded the Q-Mobile software and tablet technology across its business, nationwide.  The technology is the latest development in Connells’ strategy to extend its mortgage valuation report validation, efficiency and quality. Adopting Q-Mobile and Panasonic Toughbook devices is part of Connells’ planned next-generation service delivery and moves to dramatically reduce paper-based, manual reporting across the business.

Now into its 14th year, the FStech Awards recognises IT excellence and innovation across the UK and EMEA financial services sector. To therefore be recognised by the judges and reach the shortlist is a fantastic achievement. 

Winners will be announced on 27 March 2014 and so we look forward to hearing the final results then.