What is a Boundary Survey?
A Boundary Survey is a procedure by which a Registered Professional Land Surveyor establishes the corners of a parcel of land. A Boundary Survey is the interpretation of evidence. Surveyors are fond of saying “Monuments over Measurements.” This simply means that there is only so much room on the surface of the earth. Think jigsaw puzzle, everyone’s property must fit! Therefore, the distances that are indicated in your deed are only a small part of the puzzle. It’s what fits on the surface of the earth that counts. The use of modern day technology allows the licensed surveyor to measure distances with extreme accuracy. A property owner is best served by having a Boundary Survey completed PRIOR to the purchase of the tract. This will ensure that potential problems, i.e. encroachments, easements, etc. are discovered, reported and eliminated, if possible, before you purchase the tract. Through the use of the Title Search which is completed for most property transfers, a Professional Land Surveyor can ensure a more complete survey.
How does the Surveyor perform a Boundary Survey?
Initially, the Surveyor needs to obtain a copy of the deed of the property to be surveyed. It is also very important to gather the deeds, maps, records and/or plans available for the neighboring properties. These documents are obtained through research at the County Clerks office, Title Abstract offices, the General Land Office, historical files and other survey records. This is done in an effort to reveal possible discrepancies between documents and to get the “full picture.” After examining the documents, field personnel visit the site to take the necessary measurements and examine the evidence found to determine the exact location of the property boundaries. Ultimately, the surveyor will ensure that proper monumentation is established at each property corner.
Do I need a Boundary Survey?
The answer is simply, “Yes.” Very often, over time, a property owner loses track of the exact location of his/her property corners, if they even knew where the corners were in the first place. The corner markers are often disturbed, removed or hidden from view and it becomes difficult to know where one’s property lines really are. When erecting a fence, placing a shed, landscaping, building your dream home or simply for the ‘peace of mind’, it is certainly a wise decision to have a Boundary Survey performed first. Imagine spending thousands of dollars to improve your property only to realize that you’ve built too close to or even over the property line onto someone else’s land!
How much does a Boundary Survey cost?
As no two properties are identical, nor are two Boundary Surveys. Many factors contribute to the cost of a Boundary Survey. These include :
•Size – A one-acre property will cost less to survey than a ten acre site.
•Location – Properties in remote locations may cost more than those in urban areas.
•Topography – A flat site will be easier to survey than a steep site, therefore costing less.
•Complexity – A complex survey, i.e. a lot of property lines, may require several visits to the site as well as time within the office to complete the necessary calculations, thereby costing more.
•Documentation – The more documentation that a client can provide can help the surveyor to complete his research faster which may lower the cost, as less time may be needed to conduct research.
A typical Boundary Survey can cost from several hundred dollars to many thousand based upon the above factors.
A drawing of our surveying services near Abilene, TX
Typically referred to as a residential survey, a Land Title survey is a survey of real property performed by a Registered Professional Land Surveyor to be used by a title insuring agency for purposes of insuring title to said real property. Title surveys are typically required for real-estate transactions. Title surveys require the same process as a Boundary survey, with the addition to locating improvements and identifies easements listed within the title commitment provided by the title insuring agency. It also must conform to strict requirements of a particular land title insuring agency.
The ALTA/NSPS Survey is widely used in commercial property which meets or exceeds the ALTA/NSPS standards. These are nationally set standards developed by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). This survey provides the title company, lender and other clients with information such as easements, deeds of records, right-of-ways and other standards outlined by ALTA/NSPS in order to insure the title of the land.
For more information on ALTA/ACSM Standards, please visit: https://www.nsps.us.com/page/ALTANSPSStandards
A topographic survey locates all surface features of a property, and depicts all natural features and elevations. In essence it is a 3-dimensional map of a 3-dimensional property showing all natural and man-made features and improvements. Specifically, it shows their location, size, height and any changes in elevation.
When to request a Topographic Survey
Topographic surveys, also known as contour surveys, may be required as part of real estate transactions, civil engineering design and construction projects, including:
Topographic surveys are required by many local government bodies to determine the existing conditions and elevations of a site. Together with a boundary survey, topographic surveys are used by architects and engineers to create accurate and appropriate designs based on existing conditions.
Using data from Topographic Surveys
Measurements for topographic surveys are done either with a surveying-quality GPS unit, or with an electronic EDM instrument. The results of the topographic survey are presented as contour lines on a site map, and can be enhanced by computer software to provide interactive views. Patriot's CAD specialists are able to input this data to model how the topography may change through planned improvements.
Clients can use topographic surveys to determine and plan features such as drainage ditches, grading, or other features, using the natural landscape as the basis for such improvements. Engaging a professional surveyor to conduct a topographic survey prior to real estate transaction or the commencement or a construction project will ensure that the land’s features will be suitable for its intended use. In addition, a topographic survey can provide valuable insight in to how a site’s previous or current use affected the land, enabling better planning for future use.
Construction Staking, also known as a Site Layout Survey, is the process of interpreting construction plans and marking the location of proposed new structures such as roads or buildings. Construction staking is performed to ensure a project is built according to engineering design plans. The staked reference points guide the construction of proposed improvements on the property, and will help to ensure the construction project is completed on schedule, on budget and as intended.
The role of the Land Surveyor in Construction Staking
Accurate construction staking is a critical step in ensuring the success of a construction project. Engaging an experienced and licensed surveyor will guarantee accuracy and reliability of results. During site development, the land surveyor takes the engineer’s or architect’s design shown on their plans and places (stakes) their correct location on the ground so the construction sub-contractors can place the buildings, roads, fences, electrical and other underground utilities, etc. in their correct location. Construction staking may consist of Rough Grade Staking to map the general location on improvements at a site, or precise Site Layout Surveys for actual construction purposes.
Rough Grade Staking
Rough Grade Staking defines the location of the site improvements with their respective reference to the location and final grade elevation. This is done for the construction of slopes, building outlines, parking lots and roadways, and enables the contractor to grade and prepare the site for the next sub-contractor to commence his work.
Site Layout Staking
Once the site has received inspection and approval from the local agency, the contractor can move right into the various stages of construction of the underground utilities, retaining walls, buildings, site lighting and parking lot or street paving.
This Site Layout Staking phase typically begins with those features that are underground such as sanitary sewer lines, storm drain lines, water lines, electrical lines etc. Once all underground utilities are installed the above ground features are staked for construction. The building corners are staked along with any interior grid lines throughout the building, as well as onsite items such as fire hydrants, curb and gutter, walls/planters, catch basins and area drains.
Pipeline Surveys are surveys conducted along the routes of proposed or as-built pipelines necessary for acquiring and documenting easements, or providing utility companies with accurate locations of existing pipelines . We use specialized utility locating equipment to locate and mark the locations of most underground utilities, depending on the materiel they are built our of.
Well Plats determine the location of proposed wells based on client information and requirements. Once a location on the ground is approved, a plat is prepared compliant with the Texas Railroad Commission, showing the well and bore locations as they relate to the lease lines and applicable survey lines. Once everything is on-site we can provide an As-built for the Texas Railroad Commission for vertical and horizontally drilled wells.