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boundary survey accuracy

Maybe you would like to determine the exact size of a piece of land you intend to sell or purchase. Maybe you are preparing for construction, and would like to make certain you do not encroach on a neighboring property. Or perhaps you would like to settle a dispute – or prevent one from arising in the near or distant future. In all of these cases, you need a boundary survey.

What Is a Boundary Survey?

A boundary survey determines and illustrates the exact locations of a property’s legal boundaries. If you were to create a boundary survey of the nation of France, then the resultant map would be exactly France-shaped. If you were to create a boundary survey of your property, then its lines would contain 100 percent of the land you legally own – and not one square inch of land which falls outside of your possession.

How Is a Boundary Survey Created?

The creation of a boundary survey is a multifaceted process. First the surveyor reviews all available deeds: those of both the property they are surveying and the parcels surrounding it. Then the surveyor visits the parcel with their trusty theodolite – aka “total station,” which is a tripod-mounted device that allows its operator to take precision measurements. The surveyor will also carefully note any physical features which can mark boundary lines, such as bodies of water. Once all their research is complete, the surveyor prepares a full report detailing the parcel’s boundary lines and any other information that could prove relevant in the foreseeable future.

How Accurate Is a Boundary Survey?

We just said that a theodolite takes “precision measurements.” To be sure, precision and accuracy aren’t analogous concepts.

  • Accuracy reflects how close a measurement is to its actual value. If a boundary line is exactly 100 feet long, and the surveyor measures it as such, then their measurement is perfectly accurate.
  • Precision refers to how close two measurements of the same item are to one another. If a boundary line is 100 feet long, and the surveyor measures it as 99 feet, then the measurement is inaccurate. But if five more surveyors all measure the same boundary line as 99 feet, then their measurements are precise – i.e. consistent – yet still inaccurate.

As you may already have gathered, a boundary survey’s accuracy boils down to two variables: the quality of the equipment used to record it, and the skill of the surveyor handling said equipment.

Surveying equipment has become substantially more accurate over recent decades. Whereas historic surveyors once relied on 66-foot long chains to take measurements, they now utilize digital equipment with integral microprocessors, lasers and GPS. Compared to a 19th century compass, which had an angular precision of 1 degree, a modern theodolite can achieve angular precision of 1/3600 degrees (i.e. 1 second).

Make no mistake: even the most technologically sophisticated equipment is capable of random and systematic errors. Environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity and barometric pressure can influence delicate machinery. Likewise, human error can produce wildly inaccurate results.

This underscores the necessity of hiring an experienced surveyor. They will not make rookie mistakes. They’re familiar with all the environmental factors which can impact accuracy, and overcome them to ensure that their boundary survey adheres to the maximum allowable Relative Positional Precision for an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey: 2 cm (0.07 feet) plus 50 parts per million (based on the direct distance between the two corners being tested). (Note that certain circumstances will result in survey measurements for which the maximum allowable Relative Positional Precision may be exceeded.)

To reiterate, a boundary survey is allowed to have 0.1128′ (2cm + 50 parts per million) margin of error. In simpler terms, a modern boundary survey is extraordinarily accurate. You can rest assured the one you commission will reflect the positions of your boundaries with virtually flawless accuracy.

Do you need a boundary survey in Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota? Set yourself up for success. Contact Compass Consultants today to schedule service, and rest assured that our expert surveyors and state-of-the-art equipment will produce accurate results you can truly rely on.

existing conditions survey

Imagine you are about to lie down on the ground. What do you do first? That’s right: you check the site for broken glass, pointy rocks, creepy crawlies, and other things that aren’t good to lie down on. It’s instinct.

Now, imagine you’re planning to build something: a house, a gas station, a pharmacy, a creamery – you name it. What do you do first? The same instinct should compel you to order a site-planning survey.

What are Existing Conditions Survey?

An Existing Conditions Survey doesn’t pinpoint the locations of every stone and centipede on a piece of land. Even so, it’s quite detailed. It maps out many of the parcel’s most important features, including:

  • Boundaries
  • Topography
  • Existing structures
  • Trees & shrubs
  • Driveways
  • Utilities
  • Physical Improvements
  • Bodies of water
  • Wetlands
  • Zoning Information
  • Recorded Easements

Insurance providers and attorneys may find value in the information contained by existing condition surveys. Even so, existing condition surveys are typically ordered for the purpose of new construction.

Why Is an Existing Condition Survey Useful for Construction?

Land is seldom ready for construction without preparation. Brush must be cleared. Large trees must be cut down. Some or all of the land must be leveled, or partially removed if the project includes cut and fill foundation work.

The importance of building on level ground cannot be overstated. Uneven terrain leads to structural issues, which are among expensive issues a property owner can have. Ungraded land can also have drainage issues that lead to basement flooding.

In essence, an existing condition survey tells the contractor or foreman everything they need to know before they break ground. It makes the all-important planning phase of their job easier, as well as produce accurate results.

Although its legal uses are limited, an existing condition survey can spare the property owner an enormous legal headache down the road. Knowing the exact locations of boundary lines will help the builder avoid creating an expensive encroachment. No one wants to discover part of their house is located on their neighbor’s lawn.

What Does an Existing Condition Survey Not Have?

An Existing Condition survey is not comprehensive. Unlike an ALTA survey, it may not show plot recorded easements or potential encroachments. Unlike a subdivision survey, it does not break the land down into smaller parcels. An existing condition survey also may omit the legal, economic, social, and political constraints that would have been detailed by a location survey.

What Happens During an Existing Condition Survey?

Different projects may call for different steps, but an existing condition survey usually goes like this. Once we have reviewed the property’s deed, we arrive at the site with boundary and topographic surveying equipment. We pinpoint the parcel’s boundary corners. We collect the elevation data from several points throughout the parcel. We then analyze, validate and collate the data until they form a correct survey of the site. Once we have delivered our client’s final documents, it is only a matter of whether they would like us to monument property corners.

If you are planning construction or a land development project in Minnesota, then you have already discovered your solution to all your surveying needs. Contact Compass Consultants today to schedule service at your property.

Boundary Surveying

“It’s important to establish boundaries.” This has become very popular relationship advice recently, and we do agree that it can be healthy to forbid your mother-in-law from joining you on your honeymoon.

But as professional land surveyors, we strongly believed in the importance of establishing boundaries long before it became a psychological concept du jour. That’s because land boundaries are fundamental to the concept of land ownership itself – which makes boundary surveys no less crucial.

What Is a Boundary?

Also known as property lines, boundary lines form the outermost edge of a parcel of real estate. If your property were to become its own sovereign state, then its boundary lines would become its borders.

Boundary lines are typically defined according to county or city guidelines, and are available at those entities’ respective assessors’ offices. Deeds, which transfer real ownership of properties, often include boundary line descriptions. Many existing boundary lines are also defined by survey pins, which are physical markers placed by professional land surveyors.

Why Is It Important to Know Your Boundary Lines?

Knowing precisely what your land is – and where it ends – is vital for a number of reasons. It can save you the considerable legal expense of becoming the defendant in an encroachment lawsuit. Likewise, it can prevent you from encroaching on a municipal or utility easement, a mistake that carries equal potential for financial loss. Knowing your parcel’s boundary lines can also prevent you from losing your title insurance – an expensive mistake under many circumstances.

What Is a Boundary Survey?

A boundary survey is a type of land survey that determines the true placement of a land parcel’s property lines. It also indicates wherever there are encroachments, such as a neighboring landowner’s misplaced fence, and easements, such as placement of utility lines

A land surveyor considers many sources of information while preparing a boundary survey. That includes consulting public records made available by sources such as the Registrar of Titles, the Probate Registrar, the Department of Transportation, and the offices of the town and county governments. Conversations with the parcel’s previous owner and whomever owns adjoining property can provide valuable information as well.

The surveyor uses the information they collect to measure, mark and map the limits of a parcel’s boundary lines. This process, which involves identifying physical features which might mark boundary lines (such as a stream), placing survey stations, and establishing traverse networks, is what you see a surveyor doing while they’re out in the field wearing a high-visibility vest and fiddling around with a tripod.

When field work is complete, the surveyor compares its results to those of their earlier research. Once they have carefully reconciled all of the information they have gathered, the surveyor concludes the exact position of the boundary lines. After they have placed new survey pins (or whichever type of monument their client has specified), the surveyor prepares a legal description of the boundary lines and formally reports their findings.

When Do You Need a Boundary Survey?

“Investment must be rational; if you can’t understand it, don’t do it.” Warren Buffett famously said this about investing in businesses, but it is no less applicable to land ownership. In no uncertain terms, if you own land, then you owe it to yourself to understand precisely which land you own. That means engaging a surveyor if you’re unsure of your property’s boundary lines.

Boundary surveys are also routine whenever land parcels are purchased, sold, subdivided, or improved upon. Building improvements, which include additions to existing structures, carry a real risk of encroachment when boundary lines aren’t known. Likewise, if you intend to build a new fence, swimming pool or guest house – or install a septic tank – then you had better make certain to do it squarely within the confines of your boundary lines if you wish to avoid civil court.

How Long Does a Boundary Survey Take?

Not very long. At Compass Consultants, we typically require two to three days to complete a survey, which includes the one to two days we spend onsite. Naturally, the exact timeframe in which we can complete a boundary survey depends on many factors, including the size and complexity of the parcel, the season and weather, and the number of surveys we are already obligated to produce for our clients.

If you’re currently unsure of your boundary lines, preparing to purchase or sell a parcel of land, or planning to build on land you currently own, then we welcome you to contact Compass Consultants today for your boundary survey. We service Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, and we also provide comprehensive ALTA surveys, location surveys, construction surveys, and other surveys that present essential information to buyers, sellers and lenders alike.

selling commercial land

Take the first two letters of your last name. Next add the last letter of your first name. Finally, enter those three letters on the Nasdaq, and purchase $700,000 worth of whichever stock they represent.

If you think that sounds like bad investment advice, then you are correct. You should never make an investment until you understand precisely what you are investing in – and commercial land is certainly no exception.

Never Buy Commercial Land Without a Survey

Here is equally bad investment advice: purchase commercial property that you haven’t received an ALTA survey for. You’ll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without knowing the land’s boundaries, whether it is subject to any easements, whether it evinces the existence of underground utilities, or the names of the owners of adjoining properties. You truly are flying blind when you buy commercial property without a comprehensive land survey.

Some commercial land buyers assume that a good title insurance policy preempts the need for a survey. Although having title insurance is advisable in the overwhelming majority of commercial land deals, it does not provide complete protection against every potential issue.

Despite what its name suggests, an ALTA Extended Title Policy does not extend to disclose the locations of improvements and utilities. It does not disclose whether the property is currently in violation of municipal zoning ordinances. It does not disclose existing relationships between owners of adjoining land, the relationship of occupied liens to record lines, or other matters which typically aren’t recorded but which materially affect land. Only an ALTA survey reveals such crucial details, and provides the exhaustive picture a commercial property investor needs in order to fully comprehend precisely what they are getting into.

This caveat is a moot point to many commercial land buyers, however. If you are partnering with a financial lender, then it will most likely require an ALTA survey before the transaction can proceed. That’s because the information it presents is crucial to ensuring the property’s value and whether it is zoned correctly. Lenders know that ALTA surveys can prevent massive headaches. Buyers are advised to follow suit.

Never Sell Commercial Land Without a Survey, Either

Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware. It has been a tenet of common law for over four centuries, and essentially means that a seller isn’t responsible if their buyer incurs a loss that they could have avoided by inspecting or researching a chattel beforehand.

Caveat emptor is generally understood to apply to real estate transactions as well – but this does not absolve the seller of their ethical duty to represent their property as truthfully as possible.

By revealing the existence of encroachments, easements, boundary line disputes, and other factors which materially affect the property’s value, the seller helps their buyer understand which risks they are assuming and whether they should expect to resolve critical discrepancies. In other words, presenting an ALTA survey to your buyer upfront gives them a better chance of success. That increases their likelihood of buying from you again. It also inclines the buyer to form a favorable opinion of you, which counts for a lot in an industry where a good reputation is worth its weight in gold.

A seller gives themselves another great advantage by ordering their own ALTA survey. If the buyer’s survey presents information that could be used to lobby for a lower price – and that information contradicts the seller’s survey – then the seller has recourse to the buyer’s (possibly dishonest) bargaining tactics. In no uncertain terms, an ALTA survey can provide vital protection against fraud.

Buyers and Sellers Should Discuss Surveys Early On

Whichever side of the closing table you intend to sit on, it’s important to discuss surveys at the onset of the sale process. It clarifies everyone’s expectations for one another, enables the seller to make the property accessible to the buyer’s surveyor, and prevents a “he said, she said” scenario from needlessly complicating the transaction while it’s already underway.

If you’re going to take part in a commercial property transaction in Minnesota, then we welcome you to contact Compass Consultants today. In addition to ALTA surveys, we provide comprehensive boundary surveys, location surveys, construction surveys, and other surveys that present essential information for buyers, lenders and sellers alike!

ALTA Survey

Due diligence. It’s just one way a professional sets themself apart from the amateurs. When a professional is involved in the purchase of a commercial property, due diligence compels them to understand the land it is situated on inside and out.

When it comes to land surveying, an ALTA survey represents the highest degree of due diligence. It is an exhaustive land parcel map – not just a demarcation of a parcel’s boundaries, but a detailed inventory of all existing improvements, easements, and other material information about the property.

The details contained by an ALTA survey won’t just prove useful to the buyer. The comprehensive commercial property report is usually required by attorneys, financial institutions and title insurance providers alike. In fact, these professionals are usually the ones that order ALTA surveys in the first place.

ALTA surveys are especially important to lenders. They use that information to validate their borrowers’ investments. After all, they do want to issue good loans. Title insurers, which sell their clients protection against unknown title defects, have every reason to determine whether any part of real property isn’t legally transferable for any reason. An ALTA survey sheds light on that matter by design.

What Does an ALTA Survey Include?

For a survey to meet ALTA specifications, it cannot merely include boundary lines. It must satisfy a set of criteria defined by two national trade associations: the American Land Title Association (ALTA), and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS).

The Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys dictates standards for measurement, but we don’t need to delve into the meaning of “Relative Positional Precision” for the purpose of this discussion. Let us focus instead on the elements of records research and fieldwork, which require an ALTA survey to include the following information:

• The current record description of the surveyed property; if one does not already exist, then the survey must include the record description of the parent parcel containing the surveyed property


• Complete copies of the surveyed property’s most recent title commitment; if these do not exist, then other title evidence may be provided instead


• Record descriptions of land parcels adjoining the surveyed property, with some exceptions


• Any recorded easements, regardless of whether they benefit or burden the surveyed propert


• Locations of any existing survey monuments


• Rights of way and access, including the names of all roadways abutting the surveyed property, visible evidence of physical access to said abutting streets, and possible encroachments created by driveways, alleys and private roads of adjoining properties


• The locations of all walls, buildings, fences, and other improvements within 5 feet of each boundary line


• The locations of buildings on the surveyed property


• Evidence of easements, servitudes or other uses by non-owner occupants on the surveyed property: sewer lines, telephone lines, fiber optic lines, electric lines, water lines, gas lines, etc.


• Surface indications of underground easements and servitudes, such as vent pipes and utility cuts


• Cemeteries and other burial grounds


• Water features, including those that form boundaries

This is not an exhaustive list of every detail an ALTA survey must include. But as you can see, an ALTA survey deserves its reputation for being so thorough.

An ALTA survey can also contain information that isn’t specified in the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements. Table A: Optional Survey Responsibilities and Specifications gives the surveyor’s client the option to select additional items. These can include:

• Flood zone classification


• Vertical relief (i.e. topographical characteristics of the surveyed property)


• Exterior dimensions of all buildings at ground level


• Measured heights of all buildings above grade


• Substantial features, such as billboards, swimming pools and unofficial garbage dumps


• Evidence of underground utilities


• Evidence of recent earth moving work, building construction or building additions


• Names of adjoining owners according to current tax records

Are you planning on purchasing commercial property? Or do you work in an industry that regularly orders ALTA surveys on the behalf of its clients? Then we welcome you to contact Compass Consultants today. We serve Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, and we provide all types of land surveys including ALTA, boundary, location, subdivision, site-planning and construction.

land survey

A land survey is a comprehensive depiction of a parcel of land. In addition to its exact shape, dimensions and boundaries, a land survey details a parcel’s topography. You may already know a topographic map as one which includes contour lines that show a piece of land’s various elevations. But in broader terms, topography includes all the natural and man-made features a parcel of land could conceivably contain.

Land surveys are used for a wide range of purposes, such as settling boundary issues that have arisen between neighbors, informing land buyers of precisely what they are purchasing, and legally compliant installation of utilities and septic systems. It isn’t uncommon for lenders to require land surveys before granting mortgages to borrowers, either.

Because they must include so many details, land surveys aren’t easy to interpret at first glance. We don’t intend to make you an expert in a single blog post, but simply knowing the following will give you a great head start toward understanding your land survey.

Symbols

Land surveys contain a number of different symbols. These indicate the exact locations of fire hydrants, water meters, utility poles, gas posts, sewer manholes, catch basins, and other important features. Symbols aren’t drawn to scale. They indicate the feature’s location – not its size relative to other features.

Land surveyors aren’t obligated to utilize a standard set of symbols to represent various natural and manmade features. For this reason, you may see completely dissimilar sets of symbols on two surveys that were created by different surveyors. This doesn’t complicate survey interpretation nearly as much as you might suspect, however. Symbols are usually chosen because they bear superficial resemblance to the features they represent. Furthermore, any professional land survey will include a legend that clearly denotes what each symbol represents.

For examples of the general and utility symbols you might find on a land survey, please review this illustrative chart by the Florida Department of Transportation.

Abbreviations

A land survey could theoretically indicate the presence and locations of hundreds of different features. If surveyors wrote out the names of each feature depicted on a plat, the result would be an incomprehensible jumble of illegibly small and overlapping words. This is why surveyors rely on abbreviations – usually one to four letters that stand for one or more words.

As is the case with symbols, surveyors aren’t obligated to use a standard set of abbreviations. Some are easy to assume the meaning of, such as “Ave” for avenue, “BLDG” for building, and “RET WALL” for retaining wall. Others are less intuitive, such as “TSB” for traffic signal box, “WIL” for willow tree, and “BW” for barbed wire. If you find yourself unable to figure out the meanings of more esoteric abbreviations, your land surveyor will only be too happy to shed light on the matter.

Lines

A land survey’s most obvious lines are its boundary lines. They are bold, and convey what is arguably the most important information a land survey can present: the exact borders of the parcel.

A land survey’s lines aren’t limited to boundaries. They can also delineate the precise locations of utility lines, bodies of water, building outlines, paving, and any other underground or surface level features. Lines are typically composed of solid stripes that are regularly interrupted by abbreviations of the features they represent, like so:

Gas line:            G            G            G            G

Overhead utility line:            OH            OH            OH            OH

Sewer line:            S            S            S            SH

Note that underground utilities are typically excluded from land surveys unless specially requested. When utility lines are requested, the surveyor can only map them out by referencing whichever information utility companies make freely available. Surveyors cannot pinpoint the exact locations of underground lines on their own!

Encroachments

Boundary lines are legally enforceable, but that doesn’t mean neighboring property owners honor them 100% of the time. Land surveys reflect this reality by pinpointing the locations of any encroaching structures which overlap with or extend beyond the parcel’s boundary lines. These features, which often include fences but may also include driveways, hedges and even buildings, are referred to as “evidence of occupation.”

Evidence of occupation may indicate other property owners’ claims of land ownership, in which case they may evince active attempts at adverse possession. Occupation evidence may also simply reflect neighboring property owners’ unintentional encroachment. In either event, it is important to address any encroachments on your property before they can develop into larger legal issues.

Compass Consultants of Perham, MN provides all major types of land surveys, including ALTA, boundary, location, subdivision, site-planning and construction. If you have need for an accurate survey that completely satisfies the criteria of private and government parties alike, then we welcome you to contact us today for service in Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota.

land survey requirements

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners adopted new survey requirements on June 14th, 2022. Land & Resource Policy #11: Survey Requirements went into effect on July 1st, 2022, and requires several variance applications (which, when granted, allow landowners to break an otherwise applicable dimensional zoning rule) to be accompanied by a survey. The survey must be created by a land surveyor who is currently licensed in the state of Minnesota.

The following conditions now apply to variance applications that are filed in Otter Tail County, MN:

  • Substandard lots – If a property does not meet width or area dimensions standards per Table II (minimum lot dimension standards for lakes) of the Shoreland Management Ordinance (pg. 26), its variance application must include a survey.
  • Nonconformities – If a variance application is filed for a nonconforming structure (i.e. a building which does not conform to current zoning standards, but which was constructed prior to those standards’ implementation), that application must include a survey.
  • Impervious surface – If a variance application exceeds impervious surface requirements, it must include a survey.
  • Bluff/bluff impact zone – Any variance application related to setbacks to a bluff or bluff impact zone must include a survey.
  • Setback variance – Any setback variance to a property line must include a survey.

Land & Resource Policy #11: Survey Requirements also requires all conditional use permit applications to be accompanied by a survey (with the exception of earth moving conditional use permits).

Otter Tail Survey Requirements as of July 1st, 2022

Land & Resource Policy #11: Survey Requirements is important to anyone who would submit a survey to Otter Tail County, as it updates the country’s official survey requirements. According to the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners, any survey created for the aforementioned variance applications must include the following:

  • Two 11 x 17 Certificate of Survey copies or one electronic copy
    • Scale of drawing, north arrow, and property legal description
  • Names of all abutting streets, dimensions of all boundary lines, road right-of-way(s), and traveled road centerlines and known road widths D
  • ate of survey completion and Land Surveyor license number and signature
  • Location of and dimensions of all existing structures on the property including house, garage, driveways, sheds, decks, and locations of drinking water well(s) and septic system(s) if known
  • An additional drawing is required with the application showing the location of all proposed improvements, including the house, garage, driveways, sheds, and decks is required, but does not have to be completed by a licensed surveyor
  • Boundaries of all wetlands; known high water level elevations of all lakes and rivers.
  • Exact dimensions from existing structures to boundary lines, including the ordinary high-water level of the body of water
  • Percent of existing impervious surface on property
    • An additional drawing with the application showing the location of proposed impervious surface improvements, including the percent of total impervious for the property after project completion, is required, but does not have to be completed by a licensed surveyor 
  • One-foot contours, if determined by the Department
  • Location of stakes as detailed in the Staking Requirements below
  • Deviations from these requirements are at the discretion of Land & Resource staff

Staking Requirements

  • Property boundary or property boundary monuments
  • Location of road right-of-way(s), if known
  • All reference/hub stakes/irons shall be established by, or under the supervision of a land surveyor currently licensed in the state of Minnesota and shall be placed along boundary lines and/or boundary corners
    • Placement of stakes of proposed improvements must be placed, but does not have to be placed by a licensed surveyor
  • The maintenance of these stakes, once established by the surveyor, shall be the responsibility of the applicant
  • Stakes shall remain in place until project completion to allow Land & Resource staff, Board of Adjustment members or Planning Commission members to use as part of the application review and conduct inspections

As a professional land surveyor headquartered in Perham, MN, Compass Consultants stays apprised of all local, state and federal regulations for surveys. If you would like to make certain your upcoming variance application’s accompanying survey perfectly conforms to county requirements, then we welcome you to contact Compass Consultants today.

land survey

Imagine you are constructing a building or improving a landscape. You elect to survey the property twice: once at the onset of the project, and again upon its completion. You might think the two surveys would include all the information which pertains to the property – but you would be mistaken.

Those surveys would fail to encompass key details. They would not include the order in which various aspects of the project were completed. They would not accurately depict the locations of buried features such as sewer lines. They would also not provide a record of whichever changes had to be made to the original plan. As any builder will tell you, improvisation is oftentimes necessary.

Whereas many surveys only capture the before or the after, an as-built survey captures the during. It is created throughout the course of a project so it can report all of the crucial aforementioned information in full.

Why Are As-Built Surveys Needed?

Also known as a “record drawing,” an as-built survey tracks the progression of a building or other construction as it is built.

Contractors in the field frequently make modifications to architectural drawings because their drafters failed to take (or couldn’t have taken) certain aspects of the land into account. They may alternatively make modifications because certain materials were unavailable, or because they didn’t have enough time to complete the project as planned.

No matter the reasons they are made, change orders will make a finished property significantly different from the one that was conceived on paper. An as-built survey accounts for change orders so it can represent the property as accurately as possible. In doing so it greatly facilitates future improvements and maintenance at the property.

An as-built survey is especially useful during future maintenance because it provides an accurate record of the locations of underground features. For example, there is no better time to measure a sewer pipe’s length, width and location than the period of time separating its placement from its burial.

An as-built survey is equally invaluable for underwater features. A stormwater pond will become ineffective if sediment and debris are not periodically removed to restore its original depth – a detail that would not be omitted by a comprehensive as-built survey. For a more famous example, consider Disney World’s Seven Seas Lagoon. Without an accurate as-built survey, the theme park would have to waste money on excessive dredging in order to ensure safe traversal for its ferryboats.

Larger and more complex projects may necessitate the creation of multiple as-built surveys. They will demonstrate that various phases of the project meet critical specifications for elevation and layout before construction can safely proceed to the next step.

What Information Does an As-Built Survey Include?

An as-built survey contains several details which could prove of great value to the property owner in the near or distant future, including:

  • Elevations
  • Property dimensions
  • Locations of roads
  • Locations of sewers
  • Locations of structures
  • Locations of swales and ditches
  • Locations of underground utilities

The form an as-built survey takes depends on the client’s needs. A complex project’s as-built surveys can appear as multiple overlays that facilitate visualization of the project’s progress. An as-built survey can appear just like the original plan, but with key changes added in red. Some clients also require CADD files in addition to hard copies of their as-built surveys.

No matter your project’s timeline or complexity, Compass Consultants is available to ensure its as-built survey is completely accurate and delivered in precise accordance with your specifications and timeline. Please contact our land surveying company in Perham, MN today to get started!

What to expect with a survey - Video