Real Estate Industry Announces Call for Participation: Work on Unique Property Identifier Standard Begins

A standards development organization for the real estate industry recently announced a Call for Participation for the launch of a new project designed to improve management of information across the real estate continuum. The Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate’s (OSCRE) Board of Directors unanimously approved a Charter to launch the Real Property Unique Identifier Work Group (RPUID-WG) whose mission statement is to ‘Design a conceptual and organizational structure to manage the standard for building/property identifiers that is usable across a broad range of users and constituents.’

Also stated in the Charter:
-To ease the matching and reconciliation of disparate data sources;
-Manage the dispute resolution of identification conflicts in mapping of different data sources;
-Define a standard that can be used across all types of industries and properties;
-Define the minimal core attributes of property that are needed to ensure unique identification;
-Investigate RPUID distribution mechanisms;
-Discuss the merits of a single source repository;
-Allow for compatibility with existing identification schemas.

“Creating a master identification number that all other existing numbers and related information can be associated with not only cuts across the entire stakeholder supply chain, it’s practical and achievable” states Ward Caswell U.S. director of research of CB Richard Ellis. “OSCRE work group members intend to bring key government and private sector organizations together to develop the standard, and turn it over to them to develop and operate.”

“I recently went online to to find a car with the amenities and price I was looking for” says OSCRE’s CEO Andy Fuhrman. “Using the cars Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) I then went to CARFAX.COM, inserted the VIN number and received a historical report including its maintenance and mileage record, number of owners, accident reports, and other valuable information. I was able to compare the advertised vehicle price against those listed at I did this for a number of vehicles until I found the best car for the best price. Why shouldn’t we be able to do the same thing with our real estate investments? Several features of this model already exist on the Web. The RPUID and associated infrastructure will help make this a reality. I believe real estate investors, REITS, brokers, appraisers, mortgage bankers, and title companies will all find the RPUID extremely important and of value and should help support this effort,” Fuhrman concludes.

To date, the Work Group proposed by CB Richard Ellis has had significant initial interest and support from major private and public sector organizations in the United States and Canada. Phil Cobb, OSCRE’s full-time Work Group project manager remarks, “Based on my experience in the industry and seeing the data requirements for each of our work groups, the RPUID will be of value to a wide variety of stakeholders such as property, lease, maintenance, security and finance managers, as well as regulatory agencies, utilities and hosts of others.”

“As a member of the Board of Directors for OSCRE, I was extremely pleased that this Charter received unanimous board approval to formally launch the RPUID Work Group. The benefits for those who have to integrate and report over disparate sets of Real Estate portfolios, for example in Mergers and Acquisitions, will be considerable. A single unique building identifier will positively impact all forms of integration in the industry, both in terms of simpler interfaces and by removing ambiguity when we refer to a property” states Riaan van der Merwe, Global Technology Architecture and Development Manager for Jones Lang LaSalle.

The Call for Participation is open to all interested parties. The RPUID Charter document can be found at the OSCRE Web site in the ‘Workgroup’ pulldown menu, under ‘Current Workgroups’. To participate in this Work Group which will hold its next on-line meeting on April 20, 2006, 8 am Pacific Time, please contact Phil Cobb at or call (636) 379-8556.