Survey Breakdown

“Measuring Bench Crest Line”

“To provide a quality service that meets our client’s needs and time frame through communication, easy accessibility, and convenience.”

Those are our words at King’s Land Surveying. In addition, we feel that an important part of “quality service” and “communication” is making sure you are well acquainted with the land surveying process. We’ve come to the realization that there may be some blurred lines surrounding the surveying profession, but never fear, we’re here to set the boundaries straight.

Before we begin, if you find yourself lost in some of our hefty technical jargon, it could be helpful to skim through our post, “Why You Need a Land Survey” to be your guide.

First: The Surveyor

A land surveyor describes and determines land and water boundaries for management, private, and public property rights. Surveying is a profession, and thus requires a four year college degree and special training. The surveyor must then pass a state exam to actually become a Registered Professional Surveyor. In other words, you may not designate yourself honorary surveyor of the day in the event that you need a survey.

Setting Up the Reference

Second: The Survey

There are four common species of the survey:

1. The Boundary Survey

  • The boundary survey serves the purposes of determining property lines, where the corners of those property lines are located, and finding easements — the right to use someone else’s land for a special purpose. A boundary survey is usually required when making major improvement to a property such as a fence, pool, etc. If you fall under this list, you’ll benefit most from a boundary survey:

You want to buy/sell property, but lack a qualified survey
You want to know what land is really your land
You want to make major home improvements
You want to build on a property

2. The Builder Survey

  • These are our favorites at KLSS. There are three phases to the builder survey. First, there’s the initial boundary survey we talked about above. Next, we have a form survey, which shows the location of the slab (or foundation) in relation to the property line. This is done in an effort to ensure there are no encroachments on the easements or building lines. Then, we have a final survey where the improvements are drawn up on the survey plat to show the layout of the home/building when it is completed.

    Structural Alignment Survey

3. The Topographic Survey

  • Despite the fancy title, there’s really not much to this one. A topographic survey simply shows elevation and contours of the land and all its changes (natural or man-made). This little guy is usually a special request from designs proposed by engineers and architects. It may also include the location of trees, utilities, pavements, etc.

4. The Elevation Certifiacte

  • The elevation certificate is what we’d call the “black sheep” of surveys, mainly because it isn’t much of a survey, but is just as important. It shows the floor elevation of a structure relative to the base flood elevation determined by the FEMA flood plain maps, which show whether a house is in or outside of the flood zone. The elevation certificate can be required by insurance companies to decide flood insurance rates or, in other cases, could be needed for septic systems, building, or remodeling. You’ll also need one of these for any building that involves permits from the county or city.

Now you know what we know as land surveyors. Even though you can’t to get out and survey for yourself, we’ve provided you with the basic knowledge to understand what you’re getting from a land survey and at King’s Land Surveying, we’re always happy to help!


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