The Bluepencil Manual of Housing Density

Bluepencil Designs have published a valuable guide to understanding housing density and how to get it right at the very start of the project.  This manual has been produced to assist the residential development industry and those associated with it.


It is designed and written with the benefit of many years experience in the industry. This has given the author a deep understanding of residential development from land assembly through detailed planning, construction, delivery and sales, as well as a comprehensive understanding of planning policy at national, regional and local level.


Understanding density is fundamentally important, and the earlier in the design process, the better. Density is measured in a number of different ways, at different stages of the design development, which can cause no end of problems and frequently does so. It is not uncommon for land buyers and land agents to acquire a site (or options on a site), measure the site area on Promap or Google maps, establish a site area in hectares or acres and then ‘apply a density’ to estimate the number of homes that could be built within the red-line boundary of the site.


Although this is a cost effective and quick method, and although the design and development teams know that these are ‘a bit inaccurate’ and just ‘ball park’ figures, they nevertheless somehow become fixed.


Soon they are firmly embedded in the appraisal work upon which the costs and viability of the site are measured and which the architects and masterplanners, development managers, sales and marketing teams, accountants and surveyors have to make work. The trouble is, it often does not work –

  • there isn’t enough room!

If this sounds familiar to you and you want to improve the way you and your team work, this manual is for YOU!


It will show you how to use and create calculations to establish accurate unit numbers, gross and net density measurements, sq ft (or sqm ) coverage and an accurate housing mix for your site.


Bluepencil Designs works in BIM software from which we have developed our unique data-linked masterplanning system. We have used the data from over 30 Bluepencil masterplans to produce this document. We have consulted with local authorities across the UK and with numerous residential developers and land agents in the creation of this publication.


What they are saying about it:



“An excellent document, it will be incredibly useful to our business”


“All Local Authorities will want this”


“We will endorse this manual and include it in our planning guidance”


“So useful, why has no one done this before?”


“Another great piece of work from Bluepencil!”


“How can I get a copy?

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