Answering Your Questions About a Land Survey

Posted on: 28 November 2017

A land survey is usually done by developers who are looking to buy large plots of land in order to build commercial structures, subdivisions, and the like. A city may also have a survey done before any development is planned or before permits are issued for building and development.

However, a land survey can also be ordered by just about anyone who wants their own land evaluated or who is looking to buy a vacant plot of land. Note a few questions you might have about such a survey so you know what they involve and if you need one for your property.

Who performs a survey?

A professionally licensed land surveyor is typically used for surveys that mark off boundaries, easements and the like, but an architect or engineer can usually perform topographic surveys. Topographic surveys note natural features of a plot of land, including fences, roads and so on. A topographic survey may be all that's needed before buying a large plot of land; you may find that a roadway is too close to one boundary, for example, or that certain natural features are not within that plot's boundaries, so you would not be responsible for any damage they might cause to neighbouring property.

Can a surveyor move something off a lot?

A land surveyor may note that the actual boundaries of your property are different than what you or your neighbours expected; it may then be noted that a fence, outbuilding, or something else belonging to your neighbour encroaches your property beyond what the law allows. However, even if you have legal claims against that encroachment, the land surveyor is not there to make any changes to the property they are surveying. They can give you a report as to their findings, but you would then need to pursue your claims in court, not rely on the surveyor to adjust anything on your lot or anyone else's.

What do nails and stakes in the lot mean?

A land surveyor may put nails, stakes, and other such fixtures in the soil while he or she is working on their survey, but these are simply reference points. Don't assume that these pieces mean there is a problem with that area of the lot, or that they are boundaries for a lot, as they are only used by the surveyor for his or her own notes. These pieces will be removed when the survey is over, and their report itself is what will tell you the boundaries, landmarks and other information about that lot.

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