Survey Says! A Checklist of Essential Survey Information

November 27, 2018 by Jaxon Hukari

SurveyorOrdering a survey of your property is often one of the first steps you need to take before you embark on any type of site development project.

With so much information shown on the survey, it can be tough to understand what it all means. Here are some definitions and important items to take note of to ensure accurate information is being delivered.

  • Land Title Survey – American Land Title Association (ALTA) survey covers boundaries, ownership rights, easements, exact measurements and other important characteristics.
  • Topographic Design Survey – Used in combination with an ALTA to locate topographic features, utilities, roads, and contours.
  • Licensed Surveyor – Often times you get what you pay for. You will want to be sure your surveyor is a licensed professional and that the terms of what is to be delivered is agreed upon.
  • Legal Description – Short description of legal documentations pertaining to the location of property.
  • Bearing Base with Scale Factor – Generally speaking, this locates the property geographically using standard coordinates.
  • Floodplain Note – Is your property in or near a floodplain? The survey should note this, based off of current FEMA floodplain maps.
  • Benchmarks (2) – Typically, these are labeled nails, set in stationary objects to accurately determine the location of surveyed information.
  • Metes and Bounds – This describes the property boundary in terms of bearings (precise direction), distance between 2 points, and general descriptions such as roads and existing buildings.
  • Boundary and Rods – Lines and points outlining a property’s location.
  • Easements & Setbacks – Areas on a property where rights to use are shared with adjacent owners, utility providers, and/or government entities.
  • Utilities – Both above ground and below, a proper survey should accurately identify the location of all utilities such as water lines, wastewater lines, electric lines, gas lines and the structures that support them. Often times, easements are associated with these utilities.
  • Trees – With any survey, the identification and location of trees is important. Determining the size and species of trees will help identify ones potentially protected from removal.
  • Topography – This information gives a three-dimensional look at the property using contour lines and specific spot elevation. Topographic information is essential in determining conveyance of storm water across the property as well as potential problematic terrain.
  • Environmental Features – Location and description of things like streams, caves, or Critical Environmental Features (CEF) should be highlighted on the survey with a description of any legal documentation that may protect these sensitive areas.
  • Miscellaneous Items – Items like water wells, buildings, fences, sidewalks, etc. should also be identified and included on the survey.

Do you need professional help in developing your property? BIG RED DOG can help. Let’s start the process of getting your property surveyed, engineered, and permitted today – Contact Us online or give us a call at (877) 733-3642!

Photo credit: Elvert Barnes (cc)

Written by Jaxon Hukari

Jaxon Hukari

Jaxon Hukari is a Civil Designer for BIG RED DOG in Austin, joining the team in October of 2014. He holds a Bachelor’s of Art from Texas State University, and an Associate’s in Computer Aided Design from ACC. Mr. Hukari brings CAD support to our team, and is supporting efforts for multiple single family subdivisions as well as multifamily design work. In his free time, Jaxon enjoys camping, playing golf, and spending time with his wife Audrey.