Surveyor FAQ's


When should a land surveyor be employed?

There are times that a land surveyor has to be employed due to state law. There are also other times that it would be wise to contract with a surveyor even when state law may not mandate you to do so. 
When real property is to be subdivided, lot line adjustments or boundary line agreements are to be created, ALTA title insurance policies are to be obtained, water right "proof" surveys are needed, or flood insurance documentation is required, are all examples of services that require the attention of a licensed land surveyor. 
This is only a short list and NOT an all inclusive list of services where the law requires use of a licensed land surveyor. Strongly recommended suggestions of utilizing the services of a licensed surveyor would come in to play prior to any building construction or the placing of improvements on the property. It is much better to make sure of the location of such improvements relative to property boundaries rather than face potential regret and costly litigation down the road. 
It is also recommended to solicit the services of a licensed land surveyor prior to purchasing real estate. Do not blindly take the word of a neighbor, realtor, or title officer with regard to the location of property lines. None of those three entities are duly qualified to make statements pertaining to the location of lines of ownership. 

What is the Public Land Survey System (PLSS)?

Please visit our  PLSS Page for more Information.

Who can perform a land survey? Can an Engineer or a building or fencing contractor do land survey work?

Only a licensed land surveyor can assume the legal responsibility of performing a land survey. Utah, along with all 50 states has stringent education, experience and testing requirements where individuals are formally examined prior to licensure. A surveyor's conduct and quality of work are also subject to a defined code of ethics. An engineer or contractor can ONLY perform a land survey IF they are currently licensed as professional land surveyors. 

How do I locate a licensed land surveyor?

There are several sources of information where land surveying businesses can be located. The business section (yellow pages) of a phone book is one source. "Surveyors-Land" or "Land Surveying" or "Surveyors" or "Surveying" are key words to look at in a phone directory. Also, "Engineering-Civil" or "Civil Engineers" in some directories may be a source. Many civil Engineering firms either contract with land surveyors or have land surveyors on staff. You may also contact the Utah Council of Land Surveyors for a list. Title companies may also be a source since they commonly will contract with land surveyors for needed work. 

Is a survey required by state law when property is conveyed or sold?

There is no requirement to have a survey made when property is conveyed or sold. There is some wisdom, however, in doing so. The purchase of property is typically the largest investment one will make in his or her lifetime. A survey may reveal potential issues or problems before they become such. By having a survey done, you may be helping to protect your investment. 

Should I employ a surveyor on the basis of price? What about a contract?

As is the case with most business transactions, there is a certain element of wisdom in creating a formal contract. This helps protect both the surveyor and the client and helps alleviate any misunderstanding. It is probably not in your best interest to hire a surveyor based on price alone. Competency and responsibility are more important.  
Often times the general public will have misconceptions as to what kinds of efforts are involved in performing land survey work. There is typically more involved than what is believed by the consumer. Being thorough and conscientious are synonymous with proper land surveying procedure. Each job can be unique and often a surveyor will not have a thorough knowledge of the facts until he is well into the project. For these reasons it would not be in your best interest to have a surveyor "bid" on a survey project. 

What types of services do land surveyors provide?

In addition to retracing property boundaries, surveyors are involved in such projects as layout of utility easements (sewer, water, etc.) rights of way and other improvements for new road construction. The subdivision of land, mineral surveys, hydrological surveys, topographical surveys, aerial photo control surveys, well proof surveys, surveys for major structures such as bridge work, etc... 

Can a surveyor provide proof of ownership?

A surveyor cannot prove ownership. A surveyor becomes a finder of facts and thru his research can render a professional opinion based on those facts of where the limits of ownership are. However proof of ownership becomes the jurisdiction of the courts. 

What information should I provide or furnish the surveyor with?

You should give a thorough explanation of the purpose of the survey. Confidentiality will be maintained if requested. You should also supply a copy of your deed or a copy of your abstract of title. If you have any copies of previous surveys performed on the property or know where existing property corner monuments are, they will also be helpful. 

What will the surveyor furnish to me?

The surveyor will furnish you a copy of his survey, certified and signed by him. This plat should have all of the important information thereon that would comply with state law as well as legal descriptions needed for any conveying purposes. 

Is my survey on record?

In 1987 the State of Utah enacted a law requiring surveyors to file their surveys with the County Surveyor's Offices throughout the state. The County Surveyor's Office is the centralized location where surveys are stored and accessible to the public. The County Surveyor has the responsibility to see that your survey is part of the public record and is on file at our office. 

Can my property be surveyed by the County Surveyor?

Outside of the statutory mandates of the job (such as executive or legislative directive), the County Surveyor cannot perform work for the private sector within the bounds of his own county except under very particular circumstances. Those situations would happen only if there were a court order to do so.