Land Surveying: Ethics of a Land Surveyor

land surveyorNot a lot of people realize that land surveying is actually a fusion of art and science. Yes, different types of equipment are available for the surveyor’s use, but the land surveyor still has the last say on the results.

Despite this though, a land surveyor still has several guidelines to follow. If you’ve had any experience with a dishonest surveyor, or are wary about hiring one, this article should be able to help you out.

Land Surveyor Ethics

A surveyor should always start a project with fairness in mind. Your client as well as every other party involved in the project is expecting you to be fair and just so make the best possible assessment with the evidence you discover.

Before a project commences, the surveyor assigned to the project should reveal if there is a possibility of conflict of interest. This is very important to preserve the relationship with the client. A surveyor should avoid professional impropriety by declaring involvement or any prior affiliations with any of the involved parties. It is also the surveyor’s responsibility to keep any information regarding the project as well as the client confidential even after the project is done.

Several cases were reported where the surveyor overcharged the client. This usually happens when the client doesn’t know anything about land surveying or where the land surveyor didn’t clearly explain the scope of work and expected fees. A well worded and agreed on contract will solve 90 percent of these complaints. A land surveyor running his business ethically will seek to limit these types of issues. Fortunately, there are more honest land surveyors than dishonest ones.

A surveyor should charge for a project according to the length of time needed to get it done as well as the level of technical complexity required for it. For the surveyor’s sake as well as the client, one should never sign plans, certificates or reports unless these are personally supervised by him. Not only is this unfair on the client’s side, doing so could put the surveyors’ reputation and license in danger.

Just like with other industries, a land surveyor should never malign the character of other surveyors or professionals. That being said, I have given the number of the State Board of Licensure to a number of land owners in the past. This is the proper venue for complaints against a surveyor or engineer.

New technologies are developed for land surveying all the time. When a surveyor knows that a project is beyond his skills, he should tell the client about it. There’s no sense accepting a project only to come up with a subpar result. It will only hurt your business and your reputation.

Surveyors should also be responsible enough to study, do thorough research, practice and hone his skills before offering clients a new service. If a surveyor is new to flood determination, for instance, then he needs to make sure that he knows how to perform it before offering it to his clients.

Surveyors do not work alone. They usually have a staff to support them. The land surveyor needs to be responsible for their actions at all cost, for actions or work carried out by them.

For assistance finding a land surveyor, call us at (256) 733-1733 or send us a message by clicking here.

Land Surveying History

land surveyingLand surveying is probably the oldest professions in the world. From that time man has decided that a part of land should be owned by a tribe, the necessity for surveying began.

Land surveying is fascinating. The methods used aim to determine which portion of land is owned by whom, hopefully ending arguments completely.

The bottom line is, surveying is a process using mathematical means to survey land.

How Land Surveying Started

The very first accounts of surveying land dates back to ancient Egypt. Experts have found evidence that the ancient Egyptians used basic geometry to redraw the boundary lines when the Nile River overflowed. An Egyptian land register going back to 3000 BC was found.

Following the Egyptians, the Romans – also the most powerful civilizations of the ancient world – practiced land surveying. They took it one step further and made “land surveyor” a state position inside the Empire. These folks were called agrimensores, sometimes called Corpus Agrimensorum Romanorum. Even though they used quite simple tools, they were very thorough and would create straight lines and proper angles while using these tools. Right after the lines were measured, they would create shallow ditches to mark the lines. In fact, many of the furrows they created remain today.

One of several records of land surveying in “modern” times is that of William the Conqueror who wrote the Domesday Book in 1086. This book serves as a directory of land owners, the amount of land they owned, along with information about the land. While it was an astonishing volume of information during this period, the bits of information weren’t 100% correct. The locations weren’t accurate and the maps were not created to scale.

Among history’s greatest icons is another enthusiastic surveyor – Napoleon Bonaparte. His interest in surveying land was actually simply a product of his desire to conquer the earth. Napoleon Bonaparte founded a registry called the cadastre. This includes a registry of properties of a county, ownership details, locations and as much information concerning the land’s value. Yes, Napoleon Bonaparte can be considered a land surveyor – and a very smart man.

The methods used by land surveyors have also evolved over the centuries, over time. Years back, people would use whatever that could to help them determine the distance from one point to another. Tools that were used include chains with links and also ropes. Needless to say, this didn’t give very accurate results but they didn’t have the technology we have today.

Today, land surveyors have the best technology to help with the job. There’s GPS, or Global Positioning System, which is quite possibly the most accurate technology being utilized today. Total stations are also crucial to a land surveyor of today. This instrument employs an EDM or Electronic Distance Measurement device in addition to a theodolite which allows for much more precise angle and distance measurements.

For assistance on land surveying in Oxford,AL and the surrounding areas call us at (256) 733-1733 or send us a message by clicking here. 

Why You SHOULD Have a Land Survey Completed Before Purchasing Land?

Looking for a piece of land that you want and making a proposal on it without performing a land survey of the property might well be the greatest and most costly mistake you can make. Buying land, whether commercial or residential, is often a high-priced endeavor, despite the fact that prices have eased somewhat lately.

Here’s why it’s vital that you have a land survey done first:

Land surveyors can assess if you’re actually getting what you’re paying for. What this means is find out whether or not the sidewalks, trees, driveways and even the bird bath is part of the property you’re intending to buy. Land surveying would also determine if the neighbors are encroaching onto the property, which will then mean you’re going to have problems later on with your neighbors.

Employing a land surveyor doesn’t only mean they figure out what you’re getting or otherwise not getting – land surveyors are the experts, and they can help with building regulations, wetland regulations, etc. Remember that these regulations can change anytime, but land surveyors ought to be updated on these regulations, or they can refer you to another professional who is.

land surveySuppose the existing landowner (the one selling the land) can provide you with an old land survey documents? You should still hire your land surveyor to see whether the boundary monuments are still in position.

Also, land surveying done several years back would possibly not show recent changes to the land. If the existing survey is older than about a decade, you should get a new survey. Technology and surveying standards are both far greater now and may give you more confidence in the survey work.

Second, that land survey was completed for that owner. He could have instructed the surveyor not to show specific things on the drawing. At least have a land surveyor go out and study the parcel with this old survey in hand. We have seen numerous cases where a new land survey would have saved the buyer thousands, so don’t be a victim. I’ve heard many people say having a land surveyor is nothing but an unnecessary expense.

I’ll tell you what’s unnecessary: the stress caused by paying a lot of money for something and finding yourself not receiving what you were expecting. If you’re smart, you will hire a qualified land surveyor before making any land purchases.

For assistance on performing a land survey in Oxford, AL or the surrounding areas, call us at (256) 733-1733 or send us a message by clicking here.