Land surveys are crucial to the process of responsible land development. They are commonly used to determine the boundaries and features of properties, to determine easements and encroachments, to develop or build on land, and to satisfy local building codes and regulations. There are many different types of land surveys.
Property line disputes among neighbors are a common reason for land surveys, as are property sales and purchase contractual agreements. The American Land Title Association, the National Society of Professional Surveyors and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping regulate land surveying in the US and determine the specific criteria for land surveying. These include:
American Land Title Association Survey
An American land title association survey, also known as an ALTA survey, is conducted in order to provide a property title company and mortgage lender with specific locational information pertaining to their issuing a property title and mortgage insurance. An ALTA survey will:
- detail property lines
- identify the specific location of additions and improvements
- identify easements and utilities
- identify conditions and geographic features that affect the property
Land surveying companies conduct a boundary survey to determine the actual property lines and corners of a particular parcel of land. These are often used to apply for building permits, resolve neighbor disputes and for the purpose of erecting fences.
A cadastral, or public record survey identifies public lands within the Public Land Survey System of the United States, for the purpose of the restoration of property lines.
This type of survey determines measurements relating to the construction of a property. It controls factors such as elevation, horizontal position and dimensions. These measurements will be used to stakeout the lines and grades for buildings, infrastructure and fences.
A floodplain or elevation survey determines the elevation of a building or piece of land, to determine if it is within a flood plain. This type of survey is commonly used by property insurance companies to calculate risk and insurance costs.
Lot Split Survey
When one piece of land is divided into two or more parcels, a lot split survey will be used to provide the legal title and description of the resulting parcels.
Land surveys must be carried out by reputable licensed surveyors.
A property owner should not commence construction projects without determining local regulations pertaining to land survey requirements.
Land surveys can take months to complete. Keep this in mind when purchasing property or planning construction projects.
Land surveys can be expensive. Factor this cost into construction project or purchase costs.
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