FAQ's - Expanded Version
What Can a Surveyor Do for Me?
Q: Will he show me what I own?
No, but he will give you his professional opinion of what the records and facts indicate your ownership to be. This opinion is satisfactory in over 99% of the surveys. Only a court of law can determine ownership. Only a Licensed Land Surveyor can take the described lines and lay them on the ground.
Q: Can he aid in subdividing my land?
A surveyor is the only one qualified under law to prepare a description for a newly created parcel of land. He may prepare an individual description or, if several lots are being created simultaneously, he may prepare a legal plat with lot or parcel numbers for recording. Platting rules differ with each county or local planning area. A qualified surveyor would be familiar with local rules and procedures.
Q: Can he design streets, water lines, and sewer systems for my subdivision?
A surveyor can design streets, sanitary sewers and storm sewers within a subdivision. He will recommend an engineer to design the water supply system and to perform other engineering services that might be required. A professional surveyor will not attempt any aspects of engineering design with which he is not familiar and qualified to perform.
Q: Can a land surveyor perform engineering surveys?
Most engineering surveys are conducted by land surveyors. They are knowledgeable and equipped to prepare topographic surveys, to supply control for aerial photography, to layout construction projects, to survey right-of-way for power lines and roadways, and so forth.
How Do I Choose a Land Surveyor?
Q: Who can perform a land survey?
In the state of Indiana, only a Registered Land Surveyor can legally assume the responsibility for a land survey. The Registered Land Surveyor is a highly specialized individual whose education, experience, and competence have been rigorously examined; and who has then been licensed by the State of Indiana to practice land surveying. As a professional, his conduct and the quality of his work are subject to a stringent code of ethics.
Q: How do I locate a Registered Land Surveyor?
Most survey work is acquired through the personal recommendation of satisfied clients or through attorneys who frequently handle real estate transactions. If it is difficult to obtain a recommendation, probably the most direct way would be to check the listings under "Surveyors-Land" in the classified section of the telephone directory. According to Indiana law, only licensed practitioners can advertise themselves as Land Surveyors. A third method would be to contact the Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors for a listing of its members practicing in your locality.
Q: Can an engineer do land survey work?
An engineer cannot perform boundary survey work unless he/she is also licensed as a land surveyor also.
Q: Can a contractor do land survey work?
A contractor cannot perform land survey work unless he is registered as a land surveyor. Also, beware of survey technicians who may be skilled in only some aspects of surveying – they are not licensed land surveyors.
Q: Can a surveyor from an adjoining state perform a survey in Indiana?
If he has obtained his Indiana license, he may practice in Indiana. Each state has its own licensing authority and the surveyor must pass each state's individual requirement before practicing in that state.
How Much Will A Survey Cost?
Q: Can I determine in advance what the charge will be?
Not usually. Final cost is dependent upon the kind of survey required and the difficulty encountered, which normally cannot be anticipated in advance. The cost is based on the time required to obtain the necessary information of record, to make the field survey of facts as they exist on the ground, to perform the required office computations leading to a plat or map of the findings, and to monument your lines on the ground.
Q: How does the surveyor prepare my bill?
Generally, it is an hourly rate times the number of hours the surveyor and his personnel have involved. Expect to pay more per hour for computer operators or electronic measuring technicians than you do for drafting and typing personnel's time. The registered surveyor's fees are on a level with other professions in your community.
Q: Should I employ a surveyor on the basis of price?
No. Competency and responsibility are of first importance. Since low cost and high quality are frequently inconsistent, and because of the uncertainties involved in judging the amount of work necessary to produce a quality survey, it is unreasonable and against your interest to expect him to "bid" on a project. Surveyors are bound by a code of ethics.
Q: Is a written contract required?
Traditionally, contracts for surveys have been by oral agreement. Many surveys have been requested over the phone. However, in recent years it is becoming more common for the client to visit the surveyor's office, discuss requirements of the survey and enter into a written contract, which tends to assure a better understanding between the client and the surveyor.
Q: What information should I furnish the surveyor?
Furnish the surveyor with an explanation of why the survey is desired. He will maintain confidence if requested by his client. With this purpose in mind a professional land surveyor can work most efficiently and reduce the client's cost. If you have a deed or mortgage description, aerial photographs of the land, or an abstract, relay them to the surveyor. If you have knowledge of a stone, iron pipe, fence line, etc. that was reported to you as a property corner, pass the information along to the surveyor. He will make the professional judgment as to what evidence should be used.
Q: What will the surveyor furnish me?
The surveyor's final product will vary with each survey, depending upon the reason for the survey, but generally you will be furnished with a certified plat or map showing what the surveyor has done, and the corners of your tract will be monumented or otherwise identified. For a Boundary Survey a legal description of the tract is prepared and shown on the plat. Current law In Indiana requires that a "surveyor's report", briefly outlining the procedures and finding of the survey, be included on a Plat of Survey.
Q: Surveyor – Client Relations
The land surveyor renders a highly technical and complex service. He
is a member of a professional team – land surveyor, title attorney, architect,
and engineer. He prepares the foundation upon which your project is built or
your problem is solved. In case of litigation he will appear in court as your
expert witness. His testimony is accepted by the court as evidence to which the
greatest weight can be attached. No one other than he can assume responsibility
for the correctness and accuracy of his work. Members of the Indiana Society of
Professional Land Surveyors, Inc. have subscribed to a CODE OF ETHICS, which
helps to insure a high standard of work.