The services of a licensed land surveyor can be expensive but there are certain times when hiring one can be necessary. The following are six times when it may be a good idea to hire a land surveyor.
1) You want a boundary survey of your property.
2) You would like an existing conditions plan of your site.
3) You have an approved construction plan.
4) There is a dispute with a neighbor over a property boundary.
5) An as-built survey is required.
6) Tree locations are required.
1. You Want a Boundary Survey of Your Property
A land surveyor is the person to go to if you would like an official boundary survey plan created for your records. A boundary survey plan is a map that shows the actual location and size of your property based on deed research done by the surveyor.
The creation of a boundary survey would probably also include field work to locate any existing boundary markers (such as survey monuments and survey pins) to show on the boundary survey plan. The surveyor might also place new monuments and pins where necessary at property corners which would help you to locate your property boundary yourself.
2. You Would Like an Existing Conditions Plan of Your Site
An existing conditions plan goes a step further than a boundary survey plan. In addition to the information provided on a boundary survey plan, an existing conditions plan could also include existing topographic information such as houses, driveways, woods lines, bodies of water, and contours.
A land surveyor would have the appropriate expertise and equipment to gather data in the field and convert that data into an existing conditions plan. This is a plan that you could use to do your own planning for a new building or to hand over to a civil engineer to design a land development project for you.
The surveyor might do a survey for the entire site or for just a portion of a large site in the area of proposed construction.
Related: 11 Common Parts of a Topographic Map
3. You Have an Approved Construction Plan
If you have a construction plan that has already been approved by the local municipality, you might have to hire a land surveyor to do a stake-out survey for your proposed construction.
This stake-out survey would involve the surveyor using equipment to locate different elements of the proposed construction and then marking these locations with wooden survey stakes.
Examples of what could be staked out are the limits of construction, the locations of building corners, the edges of paving, the locations of stormwater collection inlets and pipes, and the elevations of proposed grading.
4. There Is a Dispute With a Neighbor Over a Property Boundary
Contacting a local land surveyor could be a good idea if there is a question over the exact location of a property line shared with a neighbor.
Having a surveyor do a field survey of your property and create an existing conditions plan would help to settle disputes such as where a shared boundary is located, whether a particular tree is located on the lot of one neighbor or the other, and whether or not someone has something that is crossing over into the property of the neighbor.
5. An As-built Survey Is Required
If you just recently completed the construction of a new project, it might have been a requirement of the final plan approval that you have an as-built survey done to ensure that your project was built according to the approved plans.
An as-built plan would include information showing how the completed project compares to the approved plans with regard to the location of buildings and driveways, the floor elevations of new buildings, the general grading, the locations stormwater collection systems, and the volumes of stormwater management basins.
If certain parts of the as-built plan do not match the design plans good enough, you might be asked to have your construction contractor fix any issues.
6. Tree Locations Are Required
There are times when an existing conditions survey plan might include only a woods line showing the general limit of where a large group of existing trees are located. However, there could be a situation where there are specific trees of a significant size where a review engineer might request that these trees be surveyed and shown on your existing conditions plan to see how your proposed construction might impact these trees.
If you have an existing conditions plan that was prepared for previous property owners by their own land surveyor and this plan does not have individual trees shown, you would have to hire your own surveyor to determine these tree locations to add to the plan.
Some Things Require a Land Surveyor
As listed above, there are some tasks where it just makes sense to hire a land surveyor.
The proper surveyor will have the right background, the appropriate equipment, and the right supplies to help you out. If you want something located on your property and shown on a plan, a land surveyor is the professional to call.