A - Z About What a Survey Includes

This is a comparison of services and aspects of land surveying services for properties in Georgia. Some parties in a transaction may require the survey to be prepared to the requirements of the ALTA/NSPS standards, especially when dealing with higher value property such as commercial, industrial, institutional, or multi-family properties. It is imperative that any such requirements for the higher standard be made known when the request for the survey is made. Often the process of transitioning from a survey that meets the Georgia minimum standards to an ALTA/NSPS survey requires additional field work to be done, or in some instances the field work needs to be done in a different manner. Additional fees are incurred. Similarly, adding some Table A items to an ALTA/NSPS survey can require additional time in preparation and for the field survey. The office aspect of an ALTA/NSPS survey is also more time consuming and in depth, and requires supporting documentation to be provided and used, such as title commitments, exception documents, and in some cases zoning reports and wetland delineations. Adding requirements after a survey is already underway will result in a higher fee than if all of the requirements were known at the start.

Service Georgia (Min. Standards) ALTA/NSPS
A. Professional Liability ("E&O") insurance coverage requiredNOTABLE A #20
B. ALTA/NSPS (national standard) Survey CertificationNOYES
C. Corners set or verifiedYESYES
D. Lines marked or stakedEXTRAEXTRA
E. Higher level of measurement precision and techniquesNOYES
F. Preparation of long legal descriptionEXTRAYES
G. Analysis for gores and overlaps, encroachmentsYESYES
H. Location of hard improvements within propertyoptionalYES
I. Review and comment on title commitmentNO/EXTRAYES
J. Plot and label easements and exceptions in title commitmentNO/EXTRAYES
K. Record the plat in county recordsEXTRAEXTRA
L. Flood hazard area determination and certificateEXTRATABLE A #3
M. Depiction of interior water features (streams, ponds, etc.)NOYES
N. Provide distances from building corners to property linesNOYES
O. Tree locations, type, size (see footnote 1)NOEXTRA
P. Zoning information, setbacks, certain restrictions (see footnote 4)EXTRATABLE A #6
Q. Overhead utilities, evidence of possible easementsYESYES
R. All observed evidence of utilities (meters, valves, etc.)NOYES
S. Additional utility investigation, markingNOTABLE A #11
T. Topography/contours (Vertical relief) (see footnote 2)NOTABLE A #5
U. Building dimensions, heights, square footageNOTABLE A #7
V. Parking spaces, striping, number & typeNOTABLE A #9
W. Adjacent owner informationYESYES/TABLE A #13
X. Location of wetlands as delineated by classifierEXTRATABLE A #18
Y. Revisions, change names, edits by client requestEXTRAEXTRA
Z. Surveyor's Inspection Report (see footnote 5)EXTRAEXTRA-N/A
Key:
  • YES = Yes (included)
  • NO = No (not included, not required)
  • EXTRA = Service is neither required by standards nor included in the realm of "good practice" but is usually available for an additional fee
  • TABLE = Not required by basic ALTA/NSPS standards but can be added to the scope of surveyor's work
  • SOME = Some lenders and title insurance underwriters will accept a standard Georgia minimum standards plat. For many it depends on the loan amount and type of property.

Footnotes

  1. If tree location is required, the client needs to provide the minimum size to be located, any type or species to be excluded or included, any specimen tree requirements, and any buffer outside of the subject property that needs to include tree location.
  2. Topographic surveys are often provided totally separate from an ALTA/NSPS survey and have different standards.
  3. Surveys for the division of property will require local approval and recording. Such surveys will often be a separate drawing and not the ALTA/NSPS survey because of the differing required data for local review and approval.
  4. Zoning and setback information must be provided to the surveyor in a zoning report, the depiction of generic information from county websites is not adequate. A site specific investigation should provide accurate information including variances, grandfathering, etc.
  5. Most title underwriters accept an ALTA survey as including the components of a Surveyor's Inspection Report (when required).