Boundary Surveys: Pay Now or Pay Later

The time and costs required to provide a survey of your property boundary can often come as a shock when, “All I need is four pegs in the ground for fencing!” Many expect a Boundary Identification Survey to be as simple as purchasing a list of boundary corner coordinates from the government and positioning pegs using GPS equipment. In reality, the process is far more involved.

Boundary surveys are essential for accurately determining the legal boundaries of a property. This ensures that structures such as fences, buildings, and other improvements are placed correctly within the property lines. However, the expectation that a survey is a quick and straightforward task can lead to surprises, both in terms of time and cost.

Here's why investing in a proper boundary survey now can save you from much bigger problems and expenses later.

The Complexity of Boundary Surveys

The perception that a boundary survey is merely about finding and marking the corners of a property overlooks the complexity involved. Professional surveyors undertake a thorough investigation that includes:

Research and Data Collection: Surveyors start by reviewing historical records, including deeds, previous surveys, and plans, to understand the history and legal context of the property boundaries. This step is crucial as discrepancies or ambiguities in these documents can significantly affect the boundary lines.

Field Work: Using sophisticated equipment like total stations, GPS units, and sometimes even drones, surveyors measure the land. However, the presence of physical obstacles, natural features, and urban development can complicate this task.

Analysis and Verification: The data collected is then analysed and compared against the historical records. Surveyors must reconcile any inconsistencies, which may involve additional field checks or consultations with neighbouring property owners.

Boundary Resolution: In cases of disputed boundaries, surveyors may need to work with legal professionals to resolve conflicts.

Documentation: Finally, the results of the survey are documented in a detailed report, which must adhere to local regulations and professional standards. This documentation is critical for legal purposes and future reference.

The Risks of Skipping a Proper Survey

Opting to forgo a professional boundary survey or attempting a DIY approach can lead to significant risks, including:

Legal Disputes: Incorrectly placed structures can lead to conflicts with neighbours, resulting in costly legal battles.

Future Development Issues: Without accurate boundary information, future property improvements might encroach on neighbouring land or violate zoning regulations.

Decreased Property Value: A property with unresolved boundary issues or encroachments can be less attractive to potential buyers and may sell for less.

While the upfront cost of a boundary survey might seem high, it's a necessary investment in the integrity and value of your property. Professional surveyors bring expertise, experience, and reliability to the process, ensuring that your property boundaries are precisely defined and legally sound.

Ultimately, paying for a boundary survey now is a prudent decision that can prevent a multitude of problems down the line. Accurate boundary surveys protect your investment, provide peace of mind, and avoid the far greater expenses associated with boundary disputes and legal challenges.