All About Boundary Surveys
A boundary survey is a professional surveyor’s opinion as to the locations of your property lines, based on your deed and other available title information. Boundary determinations are based on long established and accepted principles. We prefer that our clients provide us with a copy of their title insurance policy or pay a title company to provide a preliminary title report containing a title insurable legal description of your property.
A boundary survey begins with a preliminary field survey, during which a field crew using a theodolite (transit) and electronic distance measurement, takes accurate measurements to property corner markers that are found on or near the property being surveyed. Global Positioning Systems are sometimes used on large properties with limited tree cover.
The preliminary field survey information is then analyzed, with the standard boundary principles being applied, to determine the boundary location. The survey crew then returns to the property to set monuments or markers wherever they are needed. Typically, we don’t provide line stakes or other points along the property lines themselves, unless you make arrangements for this additional work.
Finally, State law requires that a record-of-survey map be prepared to document the work, whenever we set markers that have never been established on a prior recorded survey, or whenever we find discrepancies with prior record information. The law also requires that we pay a fee to the County Surveyor to check the map to assure that it meets certain technical requirements. After the County Surveyor checks the map, it is filed with the County Recorder and it becomes a perpetual record of the survey work. The County Surveyor’s check seldom results in any changes in the boundary locations. However, all map prints are stamped preliminary, and are subject to change, up until the time that they are recorded. The County Surveyor is allowed about 30 days to complete his map check.
We typically set 18" long 3/4" diameter water pipe for corner monuments or markers. They are tagged with the surveyor’s license number. We set the markers with about 4" of the pipe above the ground so that they can be found later. When set, we place wooden guard stakes by the pipe monuments to help you find them initially. We can also guard them with steel fence posts, if you wish. Fence posts are particularly useful in rural areas, when corner monuments can be difficult to find at a later date.
We are sometimes asked if a survey can be challenged. Keeping in mind that a boundary survey represents our professional opinion, it is possible that another surveyor, perhaps based on new or additional evidence could arrive at a different opinion. This occurrence is fairly rare. If a question arises at any time following our field survey, we will work with any other surveyor in an effort to agree on the proper boundary interpretation.