How Important is Land Surveying in Today’s World?

land surveying

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Most of you have probably never thought about land surveying until you needed it at some point. Many of us hear about land surveying all the time but never really give it much thought.

Since an investment in land and/or a home will likely be the largest investment you will ever make in your lifetime, knowing where your property lines are becomes very important indeed.

The art of land surveying was developed centuries ago. In fact, it’s one of the oldest professions in the world. The fact that it was used by man at such an early time and is still being used now shows how important surveying is to our survival.

The Many Uses of Land Surveying

Surveying land has many uses. Boundary surveying, for instance, allows you to know where your property corners or property lines are. This is especially helpful when disputes with a neighbour or with other people arise in terms of where your property ends.

If your family wants to divide a tract of land and transfer ownership to other family members, a boundary survey is the first step to do so.

If you’re having a building constructed, it is very important that you have the land surveyed to make sure that you are not encroaching onto other peoples’ property. A mistaken building location is very expensive to fix so you might as well invest in a boundary survey to prevent this.

A topographic survey, or topo survey for short, is another important type of land surveying. A topo survey is done to locate natural and man-made features on a particular parcel of land. A topographic survey is different in that the elevation of the land is surveyed which means it can show man-made underground features, retaining walls, utility lines and etc.

Before you start any kind of construction activity, it’s important to have a topo survey done in the area so they’ll have an accurate record of the land’s existing conditions. Yes, that spot with the new mall in the neighbourhood had to have a topo survey done first.

Now, a flood survey or flood determination – this is very important too. It isn’t evident just looking at a property whether you are at risk of flooding or not. And, in some cases, even looking at the flood maps doesn’t give you an accurate answer. The flood survey determines the elevation of the home and compares that to the base flood elevation.

This is the only way to be sure you’re not in a flood hazard zone. If you’ve just been told that you live in a flood-prone area, having that confirmed by a professional land surveyor would let you know how to best proceed.

When getting flood insurance, insurance companies would require an elevation certificate from you. A land surveyor would be able to assist you with this.

If a company wants to invest in another state, or if there is a national lender on a commercial project, they will likely need an ALTA Land Title Survey done before anything is constructed. An ALTA Land Title Survey is a lot like a regular boundary survey except that nationally accepted ALTA Standards are used to guide the surveying effort.

Land surveying standards vary widely from state to state and an ALTA Land Title Survey is used to cut down on this variation. Also, an ALTA Land Title Survey typically is more involved than the state standards variety.

Because of this, an ALTA survey can be more anywhere from 50% to 200% more expensive than using the state standards only. If you need this type of survey, I suggest seeking an experienced land surveying company who is familiar with these additional requirements.

In summary, there are many uses for a land survey and for seeking the services of a land surveyor. If you’re unsure of your situation, consult Maxwell Land Surveying at 256-854-9503 today or go to the Contact page and send us an email.

 

Land Surveying: Estimating the Cost

land surveying

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Land surveying, in a nutshell, is the art and science of establishing or re-establishing property corners, property lines and/or boundaries.

There are different reasons why someone needs a piece of land surveyed. The most common would be to evaluate if a piece of land is prone to flooding, to subdivide a property to sell or deed to members of the family as well as to determine if there are any encroachments.

This could happen when a neighbour disputes that you’re using a part of his lot or vice versa (for more on this, read this page).

The Cost of Land Surveying

If you need to have a chunk of property surveyed, the first thing that will come to mind is “how much will it cost?”There are lots of factors determining exactly how much land surveying on your land would cost.

The fact that this kind of service has to be accomplished by an expert contributes a lot to the total cost of the service, but choosing a non-professional to survey your land is dangerous, and possibly illegal for the non-professional. Because of this it is best to take a good look around before settling with a surveying company.

If you must work within a particular budget, discuss this with the surveyor up-front. Many times he might be able to offer cost saving steps to get the work you need done within these cost limits.

The shape of the land also needs to be considered. A square or a rectangle piece of land is somewhat quicker to survey than an odd shaped parcel, or one with many different sides. With the latter, the surveyor would have to take more time in surveying the curves as well as the bends which means the cost of the service would increase.

The overall size of the land is also an important factor here. Bear in mind that the cost of land surveying is usually proportionate to the time and effort that the land surveyor would spend on the project. If the land that you’re having surveyed is not accessible, or has thick vegetation, then the total price of the survey might go higher.

This is true of the varying weather conditions that might impact the work. Surveying in hot weather is sort of slower to keep from putting the crew members at risk. Also, most surveying can’t be done during the rain.

When requesting a quote, keep in mind that surveyors base the estimate on expected conditions at the site. These conditions could change, leading to additional costs. Always ask about these potential additional cost scenarios.

All that being said, competitive prices are also to be expected, this is why we recommend deciding on a surveyor according to his experience and reputation rather than on the price he writes on a piece of paper.

Mostly it is better to shell out a good amount of money on a survey that’s well-done rather than choose a company with a very “affordable” price but have the survey repeated because the results were wrong. In conclusion, it is best to discuss the costs of the survey before you ask the surveyor to get started on his work.

You should also obtain a contract that lets you know what is expected of the land surveyor. This is one of the most important steps in getting your land surveyed.

To get a free quote on land surveying, call Maxwell Land Surveying at 256-854-9503 or send us a message by going here.