When do you need a land surveyor? - Africa Surveyors (2023)

Whether you intend to purchase new land, selling land or you have plans to build on property you already own, there are several reasons why you may need a professional land surveyor. A land surveyor tells you a lot about the property. Without a land surveyor, you can’t make informed decisions that will help you understand what the property offers and its full value. Land surveys are a necessary tool for determining property lines and the location of a property’s features. Without land surveys, there would be no way to know where one piece of land ends and the other begins. While today’s property disputes may not result in the same level of conflict as they did centuries ago, it’s important for everyone to know who owns what.

What is a land survey?

A land survey is a drawing that shows exactly where the boundaries of a property are. A survey will also lay out the dimensions and location of any buildings or other site improvements on the property.

There are various methods of surveying land based on the size and shape of the property and the type of legal description that’s available.

When do you need a land surveyor?

Hiring a land surveyor may not only be beneficial, but may actually be a requirement for moving forward with your plans. Some of the reasons why you may need one include when you are trying to decide if a new project will encroach on someone else’s property, when you need to determine whether or not a building is in a flood hazard area, and when you are preparing a subdivision layout. Referencing a legal description may not be enough to determine your property’s boundary lines. Getting a land surveyor will help you to meet certain requirements for buying or improving real estate or simply locate your property boundaries for your own reference.

Reasons for a land survey include:

  • Finding property lines.
  • Meeting mortgage requirements.
  • Getting title insurance.
  • Settling boundary line disputes.
  • Know what you’re buying.
  • The location of easements and utilities.
  • Building a house or other structure.
  • Updating an outdated property survey.
  • A property’s precise boundaries.
  • The specific locations of structures, additions, and improvements.
  • Any slopes or other geographic features that could affect the land’s use.
  • Whether any of the land is in a floodplain.

Old real estate legal descriptions may reference landmarks or monuments that are no longer on the property, so a land surveyor will have to take new measurements to provide accurate boundary lines. The surveyor may also place new land survey monuments as a reference point for corners and boundaries.

How Does Land Surveying works

Surveying land means taking extremely accurate measurements over long distances. Today’s surveyors use technology to improve accuracy and save time. Surveyors often choose their tools according to the project’s needs. Popular tools include:

• 3D scanners that capture changes in elevation.
• Total stations, electronic distance measurement devices that also help when leveling surfaces.
• Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that can use satellites to take extremely accurate measurements.
• Altimeters that measure slopes.
• Theodolites, optical instruments used to measure angles.

Modern land surveyors also use surveying software to combine information from several devices. The software makes it possible to create detailed land survey reports that are easier for ordinary people to read.

Types of land surveys

The type of survey you get will depend on the reason you need a land survey. Whether you simply need to locate your property lines or are trying to split parcels of land, professional surveyors provide property surveys to cover your particular real estate needs.

The types of land surveys include:

1. Boundary survey
2. Location survey
3. Subdivision survey
4. Site-planning survey
5. Construction survey
6. Topographic survey

Boundary survey

A boundary survey is used to determine the exact location of property boundaries and corners of a piece of land. A boundary survey may be used to settle legal disputes or locate easements or for personal records.

Location survey

A location is similar to a boundary survey, but it also includes site improvements. The location survey shows the location and size of improvements as well as the distance measurements between them and the property lines. Property owners often use a location survey for zoning permits.

Subdivision survey

A subdivision survey is used to divide a parcel of land into multiple lots for a subdivision. A subdivision survey is used to create subdivision plats and must be filed in the land records with the recorder’s office.

Site-planning survey

A site-plan survey is used to plan the development of site improvements. The proposed building, or other improvement, is drawn inside of a boundary survey. A site-planning survey is normally used when applying for building permits.

Construction survey

A construction survey involves the surveyor staking out the location of planned structures and improvements. The surveyor does this to show construction workers where to build and the distances between planned improvements.

Topographic survey

Topographical surveys lay out the location of natural and man-made features on a property. These features may include buildings, fences, utilities, ponds, rivers, trees, and elevations. A topographic survey is often used by engineers and architects for planning site improvements.

How much does a land survey cost?

The cost for a land survey varies depending on the type of survey and the size and shape of the property. The cost of a property survey will also vary based on the professional surveyor’s travel time.

Most land surveys cost between US $200 and US $800, with the average being US $500. The costs will be higher for properties with more acreage or more corners.

How to get a copy of a recorded land survey

A certified copy of a land survey can often be found at the building department’s office or in the official records at the land recorder’s office. In some jurisdictions, you may also be able to find the survey recorded with the local tax assessor’s office.

A title company can also be a resource for tracking down a survey. Title insurance companies typically require an ALTA survey before they issue title insurance, so they will likely have a copy on file.

Hiring a Qualified Land Surveyor

Land surveying is a very technical process with no room for error. A surveyor that doesn’t correctly identify the location of underground electrical wires could have serious consequences when you start adding structures to your property. Inaccurate measurements could also lead to lawsuits with neighbors who want to protect their property lines and leave you short-changed on your acreage.

Don’t take any chances when hiring a local land surveyor. Instead, talk to a qualified land expert who can recommend credible land surveyors in your area. Qualified land consultants work with qualified land surveyors frequently to ensure the land transactions they handle go through smoothly. They know who you can and cannot trust to do a good job. Also, they know enough about land surveying that they can spot the difference between decent and excellent surveyors as well as work with a surveyor to make sure all of your needs are best met.

Find a land consultant in your area to help you hire a professional land surveyor who knows how to provide the detailed, accurate services you deserve for your money.

Each country has its own licensing requirements for land surveyors, which typically involves:

• Required education.
• Exam.
• Minimum experience.

Most coutries also have a requirement for continued education for a surveyor to maintain their license. To receive the necessary education to become a surveyor, most people will earn a bachelor’s degree in surveying, mapping, or geomatics. Even beyond licensing requirements, most companies will require surveyors to have a minimum amount of experience before they are allowed to conduct a survey themselves and certify it.

The bottom line

A land surveyor will document exactly what your property is and where it’s located. Without defining property lines, a bank doesn’t know what it’s lending on, and a construction crew won’t know where to start building. Make sure your land surveyor is up to date and shows any new improvements or property features. For a land survey to be beneficial, it must be accurate.

Also read:Top surveying equipment manufacturers

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Gregorio Kreiger

Last Updated: 11/30/2022

Views: 5898

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Gregorio Kreiger

Birthday: 1994-12-18

Address: 89212 Tracey Ramp, Sunside, MT 08453-0951

Phone: +9014805370218

Job: Customer Designer

Hobby: Mountain biking, Orienteering, Hiking, Sewing, Backpacking, Mushroom hunting, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Gregorio Kreiger, I am a tender, brainy, enthusiastic, combative, agreeable, gentle, gentle person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.