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.

Let us walk you through the process.

In Queensland, the marking (‘pegging’) of one’s property boundaries is referred to as a Boundary Identification Survey and there are a number of steps required to go through to achieve a result and meet our legal obligations.  This includes the preparation of an Identification Survey Plan that must be lodged with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines & Energy (Titles Office).  In fact a ‘simple’ boundary survey for a fence around a home must meet the same requirements to that of a boundary survey for a multi million dollar high-rise building in the city.

All boundary surveys are governed by a considerable number of land laws and other related rules and regulations.  First and foremost is the skill and qualifications of the surveyor.  Not only must the surveyor be registered with the Surveyors Board of Queensland, they must have completed and maintained the highest and most vigorous qualification in the profession (Cadastral Endorsement – it has recently been argued that this qualification is equivalent to a University Master’s degree).

The following steps are required for any Boundary Identification Survey:

Step 1. A surveyor must order or search a copy of each historical plan of survey that has been completed in the vicinity of the property that may have a bearing on the outcome of the final boundary position of the property. Any supplementary titling documentation is also purchased to determine the legal rights and obligations affected by the survey and its impact on the subject land and adjoining owners. Each plan or document could cost anywhere from $10 to $50, with the complexity of the project or the number of properties contributing to the overall cost of the survey.

Step 2. The field work required to measure evidence (monuments above or below ground) can take a surveyor days.  Each survey is based on varying amounts of survey evidence left behind by previous surveyors and it is this historical evidence that the surveyor must find, measure and evaluate to determine the true position of the boundary. With most properties in Queensland created or surveyed pre 1980 (i.e. before calculators, lasers, computers & technology – imagine a man with a museum piece of equipment, 100m long steel tape, pen and paper as his only tools) it is highly likely some of the historical evidence will be missing (destroyed) and have some differences.

Step 3. The surveyor must then complete calculations to evaluate and weigh the physical evidence found against previous surveys, the original surveyor’s intent, possible encroachments, the impact on related property owners and any legal precedents or requirements.

Step 4. A plan of survey must then be professionally prepared and drafted to vigorous legal requirements and lodged with the Titles Office as a public record outlining the evidence obtained, evaluated and calculated to determine the property boundaries.

If you consider the ramifications of ill-defined property boundaries on the biggest financial investment in most people’s life being property and buildings, investing in an appropriate identification survey is money well spent.

Each property is different and has different challenges.

If you have any questions, contact us – call 07 5631 8000 or send an online enquiry.