The cost of a boundary survey can depend on so many of the variables of the property being surveyed; size, shape, terrain, vegetation, and the amount of existing survey records in the area. The surveying process can be very similar to placing pieces in a puzzle. The first step in the process is to obtain copies of all the survey records and deeds in the area of your property. This can take several hours and depending on the age of the documents even days. The Land Surveyor is required to look at all adjoining properties, right-of-ways, and water boundaries, easements, street closures and dedications, to determine how your piece of the puzzle fits in with the adjoining pieces. Given a legal description of the property and all adjoining properties, the Land Surveyor locates the property on the ground. Once the fieldwork is completed, a Record of Survey Map is prepared that will be recorded at the County Surveyors Office. Each County Surveyors Office also requires a fee to record the survey. This fee is paid by the client directly to the County and is generally in addition to the fee for services charged by the Land Surveyor for his work.
In most cases a Land Surveyor's hourly rates are at or below hourly rates of similar Professions and are more in line with that of tradesmen such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and auto mechanics, none of whom assume anywhere near the kind or amount of liability a Land Surveyor does. If a tradesman makes an error, he will likely be required to go back and fix the resulting problem. The resulting problem from a Land Surveyor's error may be a multi-million dollar commercial building being built in the wrong location, or a costly legal battle with an angry abutting property owner. Rarely can a Land Surveyor simply return and fix the problem resulting from an error. The Land Surveyor is a Licensed Professional and it is his responsibility to find the best resolution of the property boundary, which will hold up under the scrutiny of Law. After all property disputes are well documented throughout history and can easily be found or studied in Boundary Case Law. Our courts decide countless boundaries annually. The role of the Land Surveyor is to Monument the legal boundary on the ground and through a recorded instrument, which justifies the procedures and principals used to support his findings.
The cost of a boundary survey in California is a very small percentage when compared to the price of the land being surveyed. The liability assumed by the Land Surveyor is for that piece of real property. So, when choosing your Land Surveyor please make sure that he is covered by a Professional Liability Insurance Policy and use the California Department of Consumer Affairs Board For Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists - License Look Up website to check his status, here is the link: http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/wllqryna$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=ENG&p_qte_pgm_code=7500.
It is my intention to help you understand the role of the California Licensed Professional Land Surveyor and the scope of services he provides.