GIS firm wins Northern deal

25 Nov 2004

The Valuation and Land Agency (VLA) of Northern Ireland (NI) is investing more than €1m in a new high-tech valuation system to help it revaluate all domestic properties for rating purposes. A consortium led by ESRI Ireland, a global provider of geographic information systems (GIS) with offices in Dublin, secured the deal.

The Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal system will replace Seventies-based rental valuations. These were largely based on numeric and statistical data such as floor space, but did not fully take a property’s geographical position into account. Location is a more important element in determining a property’s market value and the new system will allow the VLA to produce accurate valuations within a short timescale.

There are currently more than 700,000 properties in the NI valuation list, with 12-14,000 new ones being added each year. The VLA will use the new system to provide accurate capital values for domestic properties, thereby reducing the risk of large-scale appeals by homeowners.

Paul McGuckin, project director at VLA, said: “Revaluing the properties in NI to provide capital values is a big project and is made even more challenging by the short timescales we have been set. However, I am confident that this new system will enable us to achieve both our time and accuracy targets.”

“This was a very ambitious project and an excellent example of the use of GIS,” said Peter Lyon, managing director, ESRI Ireland. “The VLA had to completely overhaul its approach to the assessment of dwellings on a market-value basis. Using GIS it can now determine the true value of a property and charge the appropriate rates.”

The contract was awarded to ESRI Ireland by open tender in partnership with Causeway Data Communications, NovaLIS Technologies and AGJD consultants. The system is set to go live in July 2004.

By Brian Skelly