What does a Surveyor do?

What does a Surveyor do?

You may have been asked to organise a survey as part of your land development project and are now wondering: “what does a surveyor do?”

Spatial Measurements

A land surveyor is a specialist in spatial measurements.  They are experts in capturing, recording and representing 3D information.

Why does a surveyor do this?

A land surveyor’s expertise is called upon in the following situations:

When planning new buildings or infrastructure.

A land surveyor can help determine what sort of construction will be possible (and most suitable) on a given site.  This is commonly required for many different types of development including for residential housing, significant renovations to existing homes or new secondary dwellings such as ‘granny flats’.

A detail survey involves capturing the current state of land and its surroundings (the slope, trees, current buildings on the land and on surrounding blocks.  This type of survey is sometimes known informally as a ‘site plan’.

This sort of survey is often required to accompany a development application.   Your local council (or other consent authority for bigger projects) may have different requirements regarding exactly what will need to be included on the site plan.

If you are using a town planner, they may use a site plan as a basis for their planning.  They may mark-up the site plan with other non-physical information such as potential noise sources and solar access.

An architect or building designer may also use the site plan as a base map for their plan of the proposed development.

To assist with accurate placement immediately prior to construction of new buildings

To ensure that your new building is in the right place a surveyor will physically mark the ground before buildings are placed.  Land surveyors do this by identifying known points near a site – and then measuring between them to confirm that your new building is being positioned exactly where it should be.

The most common way surveyors communicate position to builders is via the use of wooden pegs hammered into the ground.  In the construction industry this sort of survey is commonly known as ‘pegging out’ – or ‘arranging a peg out’.

Land surveyors are not limited to marking in 2D only – they may also place posts which indicate heights.  This is particularly important to ensure that the final building complies with height restrictions.  This is particularly important in areas where a view or solar access will be important to nearby land users.

To confirm that a new building has been built as intended

This is often the final stage of a new development – once the building has been finished, a land surveyor can take measurements that ensure that the building matches the  intended design.  This stage is  often a  compulsory requirement by the authority overseeing the development (such as your local council).

To accurately measure and report on changes to land and structures over time

Another important role performed by a land surveyor is monitoring.  One example of this is checking for changes to a site after mining has occurred.  Another is  measuring the changing volume of water stored in a dam.

To provide clarification for neighbours

Engaging a land surveyor may help resolve a neighbourhood dispute.  Boundaries, ownership and responsibility can become unclear over time.  There are also cases where boundaries were never firmly established in older subdivisions.

A common query that we get is for home owners wanting us to “find property lines”.  Surveyors can absolutely help with this.  A land surveyor can use modern techniques to re-identify and mark new boundaries between lots.

How does a surveyor do this?

A surveyor will arrange and carry out mathematical measurements which they will use to create a detailed report and drawing of the land and features.

If there is a need to mark the ground to guide building or mark boundaries, a surveyor may carry out marking by hammering marking pegs into the ground at particular intervals.

What else does a surveyor do?

NSW registered surveyors have additional qualifications.  These additional qualifications allow the surveyor to make changes to land boundaries.

A registered surveyor can arrange an application for  approval to subdivide land and arrange the subdivision.  This will involve researching and making plans regarding the existing lot, and then creating new plans and registering the two (or more) new lots with the NSW land registry office.

A registered surveyor can also do the opposite – and consolidate many smaller lots into one larger lot, thereby creating the opportunity for other types of development.

The outline above is not an exhaustive list of all the tasks a land surveyor may do – but does provide some of the most common examples.

If you would like to learn more – or to discuss how we may be able to help or advise with your development project, please contact Axiom Spatial.

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