You would come across them as you walk the streets and maybe you have wondered what that peg is near the fence corner or what that nail or plaque is doing on the kerb.

There is a good chance that it is a survey boundary mark or a survey reference mark, and they come in many forms….

What is a boundary mark?
Boundary marks are monuments placed to indicate new or existing boundary positions.
The types a surveyor may use to mark a boundary is legislated and is typically a 5cm x 5cm white pegs but may also include screws or nails or other durable marks in concrete, fences or structures. Wooden finder stakes adjacent to boundary marks help identify the mark and may contain additional information regarding the relationship of the mark to boundaries. It is important to note that marks may be placed along a boundary at some distance or at an offset from the corner. A copy of the registered survey plan should always be utilized to help understand the intention of the mark.

Why are they necessary?
Boundary marks define the extent of your property on the ground and are not only relied upon by owners and fencers, but builders, contractors and building certifiers.
The majority of new building sites or developments need confirmation of the boundaries. Boundary marks may be required as part of this condition or for a surveyor to certify setbacks.
Those neighboring development sites are often anxious about how they may be affected. Clear and professional marking of boundaries can help put everyone’s mind at ease knowing the rights of both the landowner & the adjoining landowner  are being protected.
Did you know some utility providers will not complete work without boundary marks present?

What are reference marks?

Not all marks left by surveyors are boundary marks.
Unfortunately, boundary marks are often destroyed or disturbed over time.
One of the ways surveyors protect the position of the boundary from being confused or lost is using reference marks. Reference marks are “survey control” placed by past and present surveyors and form a crucial part of the evidence a surveyor must consider when determining a boundary location.
Occasionally marks found on the ground are confused as corner marks when in fact, they are reference marks that relate to the boundary, but do not mark the exact position of the boundary.

The type of reference mark placed has evolved over the years and may include trees with carved inscription, buried steel rods, screws or nails in concrete.
Surveyors must ensure enough evidence is collected to determine a boundary and must ensure that suitable reference marks are left as future evidence. Corner marks and reference marks placed in relation to a boundary survey are regulated and policed by the titles office at the Department of Natural Resources & Mines (DNRM).

Reference marks may also include marks known as Permanent Survey Marks (PSMs). PSMs are purpose made durable marks set in concrete or other hard surfaces. They are each identified with a unique number and form part of the state control network.  PSMs are registered in the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Survey Control Database.

What can I do to protect my survey and save money?

Despite the best intensions, boundary marks and even reference marks are often destroyed by fencing, construction or other works.

The destruction of marks can mean surveyors may have to do considerably more work to determine the location of a boundary, so It is in everyone’s best interest that effort is made to understand and protect these marks. Contacting Bennett + Bennett early in the development process could allow crucial marks to be protected or replaced before evidence is destroyed.

Remember it is illegal to deliberately interfere with a survey mark and penalties may apply (See Link – Will your next project kill the Cadastre?)

What to do if I am unsure of my boundary location?

If you have any questions regarding a property boundary or require a survey, contact Bennett + Bennett on 07 5631 8000