Almost everyone has seen a land surveyor (white helmet, bright yellow vest, cool-looking instruments), but few people can describe what a surveyor really does – beyond, you know, surveying. In this spirit, Advance Surveying & Engineering lists five things your surveyor wishes you knew.
Scientists At Heart
As scientists at heart, surveyors aren’t accountable to a person or entity so much as they are to the data. Science, math, and a property’s history are at the heart of the surveying profession: surveyors compare a property’s existing markers with the historical data, and then make their own measurements to see what has changed over time. If after a property survey you happen to gain a few extra square feet of backyard space, your elation won’t necessarily be shared by the surveyor, whose focus is on preserving the integrity of the public record. After all, once a surveyor accumulates his data and produces the requisite documentation, it’s permanently on the public record and the surveyor is liable for its accuracy.
A Cut Above GPS
Technology has made a lot of things easier, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that property surveying is now a DIY pursuit and that you can define your own property lines. See, whereas the average consumer GPS system is accurate within 15’ – 20’, the professional-grade instruments utilized by Advance Surveying & Engineering can get down to the centimeter. And in land surveying, every centimeter counts.
Surveyors Can Save You Big Bucks
Say you want to build a shed in your backyard, and you go full-throttle into construction without stopping to consider where your property begins and ends. The shed looks great, but then catastrophe hits: the shed catches fire and burns down a nearby tree. Now imagine that your shed was actually on your neighbor’s property, and that the fire not only ruined his lawn but also his tree. The fines/lawsuits likely to follow could’ve been avoided if you’d hired a surveyor to tell you where your property lines are so that the shed was built on your side of the line.
Surveying is also useful when buying a home. Though a survey is usually not mandatory, paying a little bit of money upfront to a surveyor can legally confirm your property’s borders, identify any encroachments and/or easements, and make life a lot easier in the future when you or your neighbor are ready to remodel.
A Big Skill Set
Underneath the umbrella term “surveying” can be found a variety of different survey types and areas of expertise that a trusted land survey company possesses. For example, in the “survey” category there are new-home surveys, lot-split/property division surveys, land title surveys, and flood elevation surveys. Also, surveyors like ours are skilled at creating topographical maps, producing survey drawings (which resemble blueprints), conducting precise leveling measurements, and even accident reconstruction for insurance/liability reasons.
There is a Lot of Work Involved
A standard property survey costs $200 – $1,000, which can seem like a lot if you don’t understand the work involved. But the truth is that the cost is worth every penny: surveying involves a lot of legwork (both onsite and in terms of pursuing records and data), plenty of math, exceptional precision, and the confidence and professionalism necessary to assume legal and historical responsibility for one’s actions.