What is a UPRN (Unique Property Reference Number)?

What is a UPRN?

A UPRN is the numerical identifier of up to 12 digits given to geographical addresses in Great Britain. Every spatial address in Great Britain has a different UPRN, and the UPRN gives a complete view of the history of that property. UPRNs are allocated as soon as a building enters the planning stage and are never altered or redistributed, even after the building is demolished.

UPRNs are managed and collated by GeoPlace – a collaboration between Ordnance Survey and the Local Government Association. GeoPlace publishes a conclusive database of addresses that are accessible with an Open Government Licence. UPRNs are useful as they make it possible to identify a property without the need for personal data of the occupants or owners of the property.

As well as buildings in the conventional sense, UPRNs are also used to detail other addressable locations such as bus stops, pylons, ponds and sub-stations. Furthermore, if a building has more than one addressable location (e.g. a block of flats), each such location will have its own UPRN. UPRNs for such flats and apartments are linked to the UPRN of the parent building in which they are located so it's possible to quickly identify all flats within a block that share the same parent UPRN.

What is a UPRN used for?

UPRNs are the standard means of referencing property information, and this makes it easier for data to be shared, improving the accuracy of address data processed and managed by those utilising the service. This is possible as UPRNs applied to consumer database records can be used to retrieve the most up-to-date addresses from Ordnance Survey or from a local authority's local land and property gazetteer (LLPG).

UPRN data is maintained by local authorities and collated by GeoPlace before being published by Ordnance Survey as AddressBase. The Office for National (ONS) Statistics releases a new version (known as ONSUD, or ONS UPRN Directory) every six weeks that can be downloaded for free in CSV format. Each ONSUD is divided into regional sections with individual files for England, Wales and Scotland. 

How do I look up a UPRN?

UPRNs are open to the public, and you can do a UPRN lookup using uprn.uk, a website that allows you to conduct a UPRN search for free.

Loqate Geo+

UPRN comes as part of our new dataset, Loqate Geo+. UPRNs are combined with geocodes, UDPRNs and Royal Mail’s Postal Address File (PAF®) to give you a comprehensive view of rooftop geocodes for addresses in the UK. These added layers give you the accuracy needed to save time and money concerning your logistics and deliveries by helping you locate properties with pinpoint accuracy.

As the UK’s largest reseller of PAF®, we understand that these geocodes can reduce the time taken for journeys by minimising the number of searches your drivers need to make as well as increasing the number of drop-offs per journey. Our geocodes are accurate to within 1 metre and allow you to communicate more effectively with your customers by giving them precise delivery times.

Want to learn more about how Loqate Geo+ will improve your business? Speak to one of our team today!