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I need to have a survey of my property. What is involved and what can you do for me?

The first questions to ask are why are you making this inquiry and what are your needs. Having your property surveyed is not normally a discretionary expense, so there is a definite expectation of the result. There are many different reasons a land survey is required and many different types of surveys. The cost will vary significantly with the requirements. A few are listed here:

  1. Peace of mind when purchasing a property (definitely a good idea – horror stories abound) many people complete the most expensive purchase they will ever make, without knowing the extent of what they are buying.
  2. To determine the development potential of the property at the building permit stage when planning new construction so as to meet the requirements of the Municipality
  3. To create an additional lot(s) from your existing property
  4. To erect a fence (in the proper location)
  5. To help resolve an existing or potential dispute with a neighbour
  6. Your architect is requesting topographic detail in order to better plan any new development
  7. Your contractor requires the foundation to be located for new construction to ensure compliance with setbacks.

These are a few of the most common reasons for requesting a survey. Cost and timing can vary widely depending on your requirements.

What will a survey cost?

There is no set fee. The cost of a survey is influenced by many variables depending on the requirements. Many people think there is a set fee per acre but this is not the case. The survey of a one acre parcel in one location can vary considerably from the same size parcel in another. We do not like to provide a “ballpark” estimate so when you provide the precise location and we determine the scope of your specific requirements, we are pleased to provide an estimate of the cost which can be relied on based on detailed research.

Will my plan of survey be placed in the Land Registry Office ?

There are two types of plans of survey, those that are placed in the Land Registry Office and those that are not. The plans placed in the Land Registry Office are specifically for property (physical lands) description purposes. These plans are to illustrate existing ownership or interest (right of way etc.) or potential new division of the physical property. These plans do not typically illustrate buildings or topographic detail. Plans that illustrate buildings and other improvements or topographic detail are prepared for the exclusive use of the owner, and are not deposited in the Land Registry Office.

How long is a land survey valid for?

There are basically 2 types of surveys, those that are registered or deposited in the Land Registry Office and those that are not. Those that are in the Land Registry system are there until the end of time and cannot be removed or changed without a new plan being recorded. These plans can always be used to describe a parcel of land. Survey monuments occasionally go missing over time and sometimes need to be replaced using the evidence contained in these documents.

Plans that are prepared to illustrate structures or topographic detail are a snapshot in time. How long the survey is valid for is obviously a judgement call. It is the policy of this office not to release copies of old surveys, other than to the original client with that understanding.

What if I don’t agree with the survey?

On occasion the property owner (or neighbouring owner) may not agree with the location of a property boundary as located by the surveyor. In this instance it is important to have a thorough discussion with the surveyor explaining the rational for the contrary opinion. If still not in agreement, another surveyor can be retained to review the situation. It is the policy of this office that the expense of the second surveyor will be paid if we are proven wrong.

It should be remembered that the determination of any property boundary by a surveyor is the opinion of that surveyor based on the measurements and calculations performed by a field crew along with evidence provided by searching existing property records. It is entirely possible that another surveyor may have another opinion, although this is not a frequent occurrence. If the situation is such that the 2 surveyors cannot be in agreement there are avenues for resolution, however none of them are inexpensive.

Do we work in the winter?

YES we do! A great number of people make the assumption that you cannot have a survey done in the winter. We are available 12 months a year. As a matter of fact many projects are easier in the winter when the swamps and lakes are frozen and there are no leaves to impede our line of sight. We are inundated with requests in the spring assuming that after the snow is gone is the only time we can do our work. Please remember, we work all year round so you can have flexibility to get your project started.

Will I receive a plan with the survey?

Normally you will, however, if the reason for the survey is for fencing or to locate property corners on the site, a plan may not be needed and not providing a plan will result in some cost saving for you. It will be made clear at the time that it is not being provided so you are not looking for “the survey I had done” at a later date.

What evaluation points should be considered when choosing a land surveyor?

The Profession of Surveying in Ontario is overseen by a licensing body, The Association of Ontario Land Surveyors. The surveyor you hire must have current credentials to legally perform the work you require. The two most important considerations to most clients are cost and timing. Timing, of course, is critical to most projects and is an obvious consideration. Cost is another matter as lowest price is not always the best option. You need to use the services of the surveyor you are confident will assist you to obtain the exact product you require in a competent manner and within your time constraints.

How will the boundaries be marked?

There will normally be iron bars placed at the property corners accompanied by wooden markers to aid in locating these monuments. Additional markers or iron monuments can be placed along the lines if required. Please remember – it is illegal to move or remove the iron monuments placed by a licensed land surveyor.