Protecting survey infrastructure in Queensland

Before turning that first sod of dirt on your next project, stop and consider what you may disturb or destroy, and what it might cost you.  We are all aware of the expense of interfering with service infrastructure such as electrical, telecommunications, gas, water, sewer and stormwater.  But there is also significant and valuable survey infrastructure, and interfering with it is against the law.

Survey marks underpin the ongoing accuracy and integrity of the cadastral framework, and the economic development of the State.  Interfering with these survey marks is an offence in most jurisdictions, including Queensland under Section 42 of the Survey and Mapping Infrastructure Act 2003, and can prove costly to you, your project, the community, and the surveying profession.

Survey infrastructure across the State is made up of individual survey marks of varying type (visible or buried) and includes cadastral marks at property corners such as pegs or cadastral reference marks in the road reserve such as permanent survey marks, buried iron pins, and various marks in concrete or bitumen structures.  Any survey marks which have been formally shown on a cadastral survey plan and lodged with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy are legally recognised as corner marks and/or monuments which are utilised by cadastral surveyors to facilitate the accurate reinstatement of property boundaries.

Whether you are an individual, a company, a constructing authority or local authority, if your project involves any construction work to be undertaken within the road corridor such as footpath and driveway upgrades and installations, service upgrades and installations, restoration of kerb and channel, and road widenings then you have a legal obligation to ensure that any survey marks within the area of works will be protected or preserved.

The simplest solution for any project to ensure existing survey infrastructure is protected or preserved, and to comply with legislative requirements, is to engage a consulting cadastral surveyor such as Bennett + Bennett to carry out a cadastral search and investigate the extent of works and potential impact on any survey marks and the cadastre in the vicinity.  Should survey infrastructure be susceptible to interference, then an Identification Survey over the site may need to be completed well in advance of any works commencing.

The Identification Survey will accurately locate existing legal survey marks within the road corridor and place additional survey marks in various safe locations surrounding the site to preserve the legal traceability and legacy of any survey marks and the corresponding property boundaries.  This Identification Survey will also ensure that on completion of site works the property boundaries can be accurately reinstated in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner.

There are typically two options to consider for projects:

  1. undertake a boundary Identification Survey to establish recovery marks outside of the zone of influence with no reinstatement of property boundaries; or
  2. undertake a boundary Identification Survey to establish recovery marks and reinstate the property boundaries throughout the area of influence.

Depending on the nature of the project, the accurate reinstatement of the property boundaries of the road alignments abutting the project will be of major benefit to all consultants and sub-contractors throughout the various stages of the project. This will ensure all works designed and constructed are accurately located with respect to property boundaries, lessen the risk of creating any encroachments onto adjoining properties and ideally lessen or prevent any unforeseen financial ramifications in relation to boundary disputes and other matters on the project.

If the project impacts a cul de sac, road intersection and/or the full width of a considerable length of road corridor then it may be necessary for an additional Identification Survey to be undertaken on completion of all site works.  This Identification Survey will replace any survey marks destroyed during construction and will facilitate future reinstatement of property boundaries.

For more information on the protection and preservation of survey marks and how it may affect your next project call (07) 5631 8000 or send an online enquiry.