Land surveys have to be done when you are selling or purchasing land or planning to build something on it. These surveys do more than just look at the general terrain and whether or not you've got a lot of hills. These surveys — depending on the type — map out just about everything regarding the land, from looking at historical documents to spotting signs of shifting ground. When you have these surveys done properly, you gain legal protections in many cases where the details of the land are key.
Property Boundary Disputes
Chief among these legal protections is protection from boundary disputes. You need to know exactly where your land ends and your neighbor's begins because you do not want to place a fence on the neighbor's property, and you don't want your neighbor building a driveway on yours. Property boundaries determine everything from where you can build to where you should stop mowing the grass.
Surveying can also settle old boundary disputes that were never solved in the original paperwork for the lots. You can have contradicting deeds and plans that show different borders, and a physical survey can help link together any clues that describe landforms or landmarks as being on one property or another. If you and your neighbor are trying to settle a long-standing dispute once and for all, surveys are crucial parts of that attempt.
Liability Due to Unstable Land
Other surveys look at the land itself and whether it's safe to build on. You do need to have these surveys done even if the land looks completely flat and solid because you don't really know what's going on under the surface. There can be signs of hidden quake faults; while these aren't going to be very close to the surface, surveyors can spot signs that a geological assessment is necessary. There can also be signs of erosion from underground water sources and spots with unusually high water tables.
Any sign of unstable ground means the buildings on that property either have to be retrofitted (such as for quakes) or moved or not built at all if it turns out the land is too unsuitable for them. That sounds severe, but it's better you find that out during a land survey than after a structure has collapsed.
Your plans for the land will influence exactly which type of survey you need (and you could need more than one). Talk to a surveying company about comprehensive surveys that will provide the information you need. For more information, reach out to a professional who provides land surveying.Share