Impervious surface surveys, also called “hardcover surveys”, aren’t well-known to the majority of homeowners. However, these surveys are vitally important to ensuring your property complies with local rules and regulations governing such surfaces. Advance Surveying & Engineering takes an in-depth look at this topic.

What Is an Impervious Surface?

An impervious surface is any surface that is either paved (i.e. driveway, sidewalk) or covered by a hard, difficult-to-penetrate material such as concrete, stone, brick, or asphalt. Also, soil compacted by years of urban development qualifies as an impervious surface.

What Do Impervious Surfaces Have To Do With Me?

Any homeowner who wants to pave his driveway, build a deck, or put in a pool is affected by his local jurisdictions/guidelines regarding the implementation of impervious surfaces. The biggest reason why such guidelines exist is due to the detrimental effects that impervious surfaces have on the environment. The three most pronounced effects are:

  • Collection of solar heat in “heat islands” that raise the ambient temperature and increase the energy consumption of nearby homes and businesses
  • Displacement of living vegetation, leading to reduced ecological productivity, less aeration for tree roots, and the eventual removal of the trees/canopies that moderate an urban/suburban climate
  • Sealing of the soil surface, resulting in the elimination of rainwater infiltration and groundwater recharge. For example, on a national scale, the combined runoff of America’s hardcover surfaces is responsible for 13 percent of the nation’s river pollution and 18 percent of lake pollution.

How Our Hardcover Survey Expertise Can Help

In most communities, local government limits the amount of impervious surface on a property – the exact limitation is based on a percentage of the property’s total area. Our comprehensive hardcover surveys are essential for ensuring that your property does not violate local hardcover ordinances. When you work with our local property surveyors, we will:

  1. Account for every impervious surface on your property, including decks, pools, and concrete surfaces, as well as the driveway and the house itself
  2. Calculate your property’s percentage of impervious surfaces, and clearly note this in the final survey
  3. In cases where we’re dealing with new construction and the presence of impervious surfaces is still theoretical, we can still make an accurate calculation based on construction drawings

Items 1 and 2 are accomplished via a survey drawing that we create and which shows your property’s boundaries and its total area. In tandem, we summarize the square footage of each impervious surface and add these numbers together for an accurate estimate of the total “hardcover” area. This total is then measured against your municipality’s guidelines.

Another, oft-overlooked advantage to an impervious survey is for confirmation any changes to impervious soil quantity. Over time, impervious soil (i.e. soil so dense that it severely restricts permeability of water) can increase or decrease depending on factors such as driveway expansion, hardscape reduction, etc.

The More You Know, The Better

Whether you’re buying an existing property or engaging in new development, don’t leave any stone unturned. With our expert land surveying services, Advance Surveying & Engineering can ensure that everything you do is within code and regulations. Contact us today and let’s discuss your next project.

May 15, 2019 Advance Survey