In most cases, obtaining a land survey is crucial before the renovation of a residential structure.
Here, we discuss everything you need to know about land surveying, the instances when you’ll need one, and the most convenient way to engage the best property surveyors near you.
What is a property land survey and why is it important?
Surveying or land surveying in general is the measurement and mapping of the surrounding environment. Surveyors examine the area, record the measurements, and describe the features of these areas to help developers plan their construction projects,
Here at Dreamspace, we cater customers who need land surveys for their properties. These surveys aim to:
- Measure the land
- Precisely locate and mark out boundary lines.
- Mark out where it’s ideal to situate the building
- Figure out whether a parcel of land can be subdivided or not
Property land surveys are crucial when you want to avoid both legal and building issues once construction commences.
Instances and situations when you need a property land survey
In most cases, a new building project and a major renovation requires a land survey.
Wondering when you might need one? Here are the situations that always require a land survey:
You want to subdivide your land property
There are lots of land property owners who choose to subdivide their land and sell them for profit. If you are planning to do the same, you will need the help of a land surveyor to measure the property and figure out if it can be subdivided or not.
You plan to purchase a stratified property
Stratified properties are popular in up-and-coming suburbs and trendy residential areas near the cities where many people want to invest in real estate. Always ask for a copy of the most recent land survey report before purchasing the property. The survey reports will help you determine the property’s value and its suitability for building.
If you have plans to develop the land or renovate the existing property on it, you need to submit a copy of the land survey report together with the planning drawings to your local council. The survey plans and reports are part of the requirements to obtain development approval and a building certificate.
You plan to erect a fence surrounding your property
Fencing laws vary per state and territory, but one thing is for sure: you need to build them exactly where your property ends. Get this wrong and you might get into an argument with your neighbour.
Make sure that the boundaries are where you think they are. Refer to your property survey report before erecting a fence around your property.
You have a boundary dispute with a neighbour
Obtain a land survey to settle and resolve the disputes with your neighbour. A land survey allows for title re-establishment and provides the both of you with a legal document establishing the precise boundaries of the properties.
You want to extend your home or do a knockdown rebuild project
Major renovation projects often require a land survey to ensure the project complies perfectly with the plan and the building codes.
Land surveyors set out the property, mark the boundaries and the easements, then outline where the building should be located.
You want to renovate your property but there are planning overlay restrictions
There are various planning overlays (i.e. bushfire, heritage, vegetation protection, significant landscape, environmental significance, design and development, erosion management, flooring overlay, and special building overlay, parking, development contributions plan, and public acquisition). These zones control the structures to be built on the land and provide guidance on the preferred use of the land. There will be a lot of restrictions and regulations to follow when building and renovating on these kinds of sites.
A property land survey report perfectly describes the topography of your property, and these technical descriptions will help you and the design professionals you hired plan for future development and renovations.
How long does it take before the property gets surveyed?
The length of your land survey depends on the following factors:
- The time taken to find land surveyors and wait for them to become available
- The waiting time prior to the day of the survey
- The weather conditions before and on the day of the survey
- The convenience of accessing the site
- The time needed to measure the site
- The length of post processing of the collected data
- The time needed to prepare and finalise the survey report
Land surveying is a necessary step before proceeding with the initial design and the drafting of planning documents. Give your surveyor enough time to measure the site and prepare the land survey reports. Their report and findings are crucial to the work of the design and construction professionals on your team.
Now that you know what a land survey is and how important it is, let’s discuss where to find the best land surveyors near you and how to engage them for your upcoming project.
Who are land surveyors and how do they help designers and construction professionals?
Land surveyors are the professionals who conduct land surveys. Their work happens in the office and on site.
They go out equipped with the latest technology such as high end GPS, Robotic Total Stations or theodolites, cameras, and aerial and terrestrial scanners to map the area. They:
- calculate the site’s measurements
- confirm and establish the boundaries of the property
- describe the topography and features of the site
- record the results of the survey
- make computations
- take photos as evidence and future reference
In the office, surveyors carry out the necessary design, measurements, calculations, plan, and document presentation involved in a particular survey. They:
- use auto-CAD or another similar sophisticated software to map measurements gathered onsite
- do contour studies prior to construction
- do structural movement studies
- verify the data gathered and double check the calculations
- research and investigate the legal descriptions of the land/property
- produce the land survey report
The work of a land surveyor is crucial for the architects, building designers, engineers, and builders who will develop the site and the structures on it. A land survey report is used to:
- assess the impact of the project on the site and its neighbouring properties
- verify that all works will be carried out within the property boundaries
- ensure that structure’s design and architecture style suits its location
- identify the easements, restrictions and conditions that limit the height of the structure or the type or building that you can erect on the site
Things can go wrong if your chosen designer doesn’t have accurate site information on which to base the new works. This often results in a lot of rectifications and variations in the drawings which incur extra costs.
Without the correct boundary marks, the builders might commit construction mistakes too which require expensive rectification works.
It’s best to get a land survey before commencing design and building works. It will save you a lot of trouble down the line.
Hiring a land surveyor using Dreamspace
Here at Dreamspace, we recognise the importance of conducting a land survey prior to the drafting of the planning drawings.
Customers of Dreamspace can find and coordinate their project with land surveyors using the planning dashboard. You may engage a surveyor who operates within your state / territory or a surveyor based on the project you’re looking to do.
Here are a few tips to help you choose a surveyor:
- Make sure that the surveyor can deliver the land survey solutions needed for your project. Here at Dreamspace, we prescreen the land surveyors to make sure their services match your needs.
- Check their work experience and qualifications. Land surveyors must hold relevant tertiary level degrees, a license, and certificate of registration. Rest assured that all the land surveyors who are a part of Dreamspace’s network are experienced, qualified, credible, reputable, licensed, accredited, and registered for your protection.
- Familiarise yourself with their process before hiring the surveyor. You want to work with a surveyor with the most logical and thorough approach to your project. If you are working with a complex and challenging site, go for a surveyor who is innovative and is able to provide smart solutions to your concerns.
- Choose a surveyor who collaborates on the same level as you throughout the surveying process. Dreamspace’s project planning and coordination platform makes this easier for both parties.
Choosing the right surveyor for your project can mean the difference between delivering your project on time and on budget ⸺ or not. It is a daunting task, especially when you don’t know what you’re looking for in a surveyor.
To speed up the selection process, Dreamspace presents you with surveyors who possess the skills and experience needed for the job, plus relevant qualifications and accreditations. Rest assured that you will work with a surveyor who would understand your needs and the challenges you face on site.
What happens to the land survey information?
After surveying the property, the land survey report goes to your building designer so they can draw up the plans for your project.
After completing the working drawings, you can lodge the plans and required documents to your local council.
The information in your land survey report is then recorded in your state’s land information system. In many states, surveyors are liable for the accuracy of a survey for five to ten years.
Land survey reports don’t necessarily come with an expiration date. However, it is logical to get your property surveyed when you plan to renovate or make changes or improvements on your property.
Costs to get a land survey
The average cost of land surveying across the country is about $175 per hour. The prices vary depending on numerous factors such as:
- site location – the cost of land surveys vary per state and territory.
- size of the property – expect higher surveying rates for larger properties.
- shape of the property – oddly shaped properties or those with a lot of contours cost more to survey and measure.
- accessibility of the site – land with mountainous terrain or those located uphill cost more to survey and measure. Rates are higher when the property is not accessible to vehicles.
- vegetation present – the more trees and shrubberies present, the higher the rate
These five factors affect land surveying rates.
The use of modern technology and equipment also affects the rates of the land surveyors. In most cases, engaging a surveyor who makes use of tech-advanced tools and equipment is the most prudent choice.
Technologies embraced by land surveyors
Surveyors have an impressive list of tools and technology to help them get their work done. Here are some of them:
Theodolite – Used to measure horizontal and vertical planes on a piece of land to a high degree of accuracy.
Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with photogrammetry technology – Used to map steep and potentially dangerous sites. A trained surveyor pilots the drone from a safe zone. The cameras capture images which will help the surveyors produce accurate measurements.
3D technology and virtual reality – When needed, trained surveyors can produce an accurate 3D model of the site which design professionals and engineers can use during the planning phase.
Land survey is only the beginning of your design to build journey
Sign up to Dreamspace today to access Australia’s best network of design and construction professionals including land surveyors.
Use the platform to:
- coordinate with the surveyors from start to finish
- ensure a seamless workflow from the surveyor to the designer to the builders
- store the reports together with other pertinent documents all in one place that’s accessible anytime from any device.