Why do I need a Land Survey?
18 Oct 2017

We hope to identify beneficial reasons for having a Land Survey as part of your well laid development plans

This is a common question asked by property owners when advised by a contractor or architect to get one done.  It can seem like a large price to pay and sometimes the benefits for having one are not obvious at first.

In getting a Land or Topographic Survey carried out on your property or plot of land what you are essentially doing is getting a highly detailed plan drawn up showing whatever information is required for the job in hand.  It may be that only the boundaries are required (even Land Registry plans can have ambiguities which a Land Survey should identify and clarify) or it could be  that a high spec survey is required.  These can detail amongst other things, surface changes or materials, relief of the land with contour lines, sections at points of interest across the plot, positions of any structures including neighbouring properties (which can usually be measured remotely without causing any access issues), identification of trees and water courses and even tracing underground services that may be present on the site if required.

All of this information is essential for the designer or architect to extract the most potential that the site offers. That may be financially, allowing them to maximise the land usage based on planning restrictions or in a more artistic way by making the most out of the blank canvas that the site offers.  This could be through incorporating vistas and slope aspects into the design or planning for planting areas to ensure privacy through shielding from neighbouring properties.  It is all about making your plot of land the best it can be for the purpose you have chosen.

When commissioning a survey it is wise to consider a couple of things: 

-Firstly, is the site cleared? In order to conduct a survey access onto and around the site should be as unrestricted as possible.  The more over grown a site means it will take longer to survey and the cost will likely be higher.  The site will need clearing for the project anyway so get it done before the survey, the ease of access will translate into a better quality survey as well.

-Make sure you give the surveyor a good brief of requirements when asking for a quote, if there are specific areas of interest or drawings needed for the project make them aware.  You may require sections through the site (in addition to the plan), tracing of utilities or the extents of the survey may not be clearly defined.  Getting these points clear at the start will save the need for re-visits and speed up the process.

Every site is different and presents its own challenges, by having a thorough Land Survey done at the start the Project Manager will be best prepared for any problems that the site may present as they will have been identified and resolved before the work even begins.  This should allow for minimal disruption during the construction phase of the project and for better budget control.

Forewarned is forearmed!