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So you need a survey...

Updated: Apr 9

Here is the process from your initial contact to the completion of the survey or "how we make the sausage":

1. Discuss whether you really need a survey. It depends, as does nearly every other aspect of this process.

2. Provide a base quote following initial research into the site to see if you are still interested. Some folks base their choice of surveyor only on price. I assure you, we are not the lowest price. There is always someone out there who does not value time or service. I hear the horror stories after the survey is “complete” and nothing has been resolved.

3. I move ahead with further research of your property to see what surveys have been performed in the area, what aerial photographs reveal about the property, legal description, subdivision plat, assessor notes, etc.

4. I contact you. We discuss the details of the survey, cost, schedule and terms of payment. I send you a contract with scope of work for signature and return of document. I usually require payment of the agreed fee prior to putting you on the schedule. We take cash, check, Pay Pal and most credit cards.

5. We schedule your field survey for the first available day.

6. I perform further research, compile all research data, perform calculations and download into the field computer.

7. I will be at your property for the site survey. Most firms send a survey crew, none of them the Registrant who stamps your map or whose number is stamped on your new monument(s). I consider it critical for the supervising surveyor to be at the site to evaluate the evidence and perform searches for monuments at property corners, fences, walls, vegetation, adjacent buildings, etc. I will search for all available evidence and return to the office for evaluation.

If I find that all property corners are monumented and documented in a Recorded Survey or Subdivision Map, I will perform measurements on the found monuments and determine if they are the original monuments as described. If so, we are finished, unless you want a plat recorded with the County Recorder or additional staking. I will give you a price for this possibility in the contract. This is a rare occurrence. Usually there is some aspect of the survey that will trigger the necessity for a survey map to be recorded per Arizona statutes. If we record your survey regardless, it will be available for you at any time in the future.

8. I download all data, perform calculations, review found monuments and determine if I can accept found monuments or need to set monuments. We usually set 18-inch 5/8” rebars with an aluminum cap placed firmly on the top of the rebar. The caps are stamped with my Arizona registration number and SALSA.

9. I return to your property site, set monuments if needed, place nails or spikes on property lines if needed and included in the contract, and walk the site with you to be sure all aspects of the survey are understood.

10. I use a computer aided drafting program to draw the map for recording. I provide explanations, if needed, for unusual circumstances, describe all monuments found and set, note fences, structures, etc. that provide evidence or affect the boundary location. This usually takes a week to two weeks to finish unless there is provision for faster service in the contract.

11. I send you a PDF or paper copy of the map for review and the final billing. You send or make the final payment.

12. A fellow surveyor reviews the map and provides corrections, if needed.

13. I send the map to a printing company for a 24”x36” mylar copy of the survey.

14. The map is recorded at the County Recorder’s office, usually at the end of each month. I send you the recording data.

This is probably more information than you wanted, but I find it necessary to describe the process so you can better understand the fee. Many people expect a survey that determines the corners of the most valuable asset in your possession to be around the same cost as a landscaper, plumber or electrician’s single service call. If there is a dispute with a neighbor, jurisdiction or HOA, you will want the Land Surveyor to testify on your behalf at a later date. It is best to consider all this prior to hiring someone who will define the boundaries of your property.

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