Boundaries. When only the best is good enough

What type of surveyor makes the best boundary surveyor?

New Phototastic CollageRICSIf you have a boundary dispute you want to know where your boundary lies and you want to employ an expert who is professional, has the relevant experience and in whom you can have confidence that he/she understands the issues regarding the position of the boundary.

All chartered surveyors are professional and regulated and monitored by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). However, this doesn’t mean that all chartered surveyors are suitable or indeed qualified to investigate boundary problems. The term surveyor covers a multitude of disciplines from Land Surveyors to Arts & Antiques valuers and auctioneers and from environmentalists to insurance surveyors. You probably wouldn’t want a valuer of paintings to advise you on where your boundary is.

As a chartered Land Surveyor I am, as you would expect, biased towards my own discipline. However, I justifiably believe that Land Surveyors are ideally qualified and experienced to provide the best boundary service.

Land Surveyors are experts in measurement and position. They understand the different measurement technologies and how best to utilise them to get the best out of the various techniques. Whether using GPS, Laser scanning or just an ordinary tape measure you can be sure that the Land Surveyor has the right tool for the job. Many so called boundary surveyors do not have the most appropriate equipment to undertake accurate topographic surveys.

It is true that an accurate topographic survey is not the answer to all boundary problems but they are often very useful in understanding the relative positions of features pertinent to a dispute.

In addition to their expertise in measurement, Land Surveyors understand the different types of map that are used when drawing property boundaries. They understand the accuracies of using different scales of map and consequently how useful that map will be when determining the position of the boundary. Land Surveyors understand that maps which have been photocopied etc. may well have stretched and will have inherent inaccuracies. They understand the different line types found on maps and how to interpret them to give more meaning to these lines. They understand that when drawing a map some features have to be sacrificed and not drawn because they would look a mess if drawn in their true position on the map. This is called generalisation.

The last thing I want to mention is the software that Land Surveyors use. CAD software is very advanced and many CAD software packages allow surveyors to ‘overlay’ one map on top of another. They can remove some of the errors talked about earlier and help the Land Surveyor to make useful comparisons between different maps.

I have discussed a number of reasons why you should seriously consider approaching a chartered Land Surveyor to investigate your boundary dispute. The technology mentioned is of course available to other types of surveyor but due to its expense and complexity it is rarely used by surveyors other than Land Surveyors who use them on a daily basis.

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