Last edited 21 Nov 2018

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Calling on the services of a land surveyor

This article relates to practices in the US.

There are several things you need to think about before hiring a good land surveyor:

  • Make sure that they are licensed: One way to ensure that you are placing your property in the right hands is to confirm they have a license. This should be a priority since only a licensed surveyor's report will be considered valid. In order to verify an existing valid license, check it with the state licensing board.
  • They must have insurance. All professional businesses should have general liability and worker's compensation insurance. The purpose of this type of insurance is to ensure that you are protected should they or one of their employees suffer an injury while performing their tasks on your property. However, only some states consider this kind of insurance a necessity while others merely consider it as optional.
  • They must have adequate experience: Always keep in mind that surveyors also have their own special areas. There are surveyors who are more skilful in providing a land development survey, others are best in staking the construction layout, some are good at mapping, and so on. Discuss your particular project with the land surveyor and ask about their knowledge and experience in this kind of work. Your priority should be to select the most experienced and knowledgeable professional, not the least expensive.
  • Check whether they are technology oriented: It can be beneficial if you enquire about the surveyor's knowledge of the latest technological advances in surveying. Enquire about their knowledge of global positioning systems, laser scanning, computer aided drafting and so on. While you may not need some of these services on your project, a surveyor who keeps up with their professional development through continued study will usually be a better choice.
  • Make professionalism a priority: It is not enough that they are a competent land surveyor. They must be prompt in answering your queries and must be thorough in explaining how they will perform the entire job.
  • Everything agreed must be in the written contract: Make sure the contract provides the details of the whole work, including the specific assignments and the mode of payment. You should understand exactly what you will be getting, that is, the deliverables for the job. Also, the usual practice after the contract is executed is that the surveyor will obtain a partial payment while the remaining balance will be given once the whole project is completed and delivered to you.


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