• Surveying the Changes
  • March 8, 2016 | Authors: Ahmad S. El-Gendi; Joaquin E. Martinez
  • Law Firm: Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed Professional Association - Orlando Office
  • Effective today, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) announced changes to the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys (the “Minimum Standards”). The following noteworthy revisions were among the changes made to the Minimum Standards:

    Records Research

    Section 4 of the Minimum Standards has been revised to add a number of specific title-related items which should be provided to the surveyor. The revised Section 4 further provides that the “surveyor shall be required to conduct only that research which is required pursuant to the statutory or administrative requirements of the jurisdiction where the property being surveyed is located”, but also permits the surveyor and its client to negotiate the scope of the research (if any) to be completed by the surveyor in connection with its preparation of the survey.

    Field Work

    Section 5 of the Minimum Standards has been significantly revised to clarify the obligations of surveyors in connection with (i) the location, size and character of monuments, (ii) the location of rights or way and access, including the edge of “travelled ways”, (iii) the existence of natural vegetation to the extent the same evidences possession, (iv) evidence of easements, servitudes and other uses (i.e. roads, drives, sidewalks, paths and other means of access, utility service lines), (v) the location of cemeteries, burial grounds and isolated grave sites, and (vi) the location of water features, including canals, ditches, marshes and swamps, if any are “running through, or outside, but within five feet of the perimeter boundary of the surveyed property.”

    Table A

    The revisions to the Optional Survey Responsibilities and Specifications include the following:
    • Item 6(a) (Zoning): This item was revised to provide for the inclusion of zoning information if the same is “set forth in a zoning report or letter provided to the surveyor.”
    • Item 9 (Parking): The revisions require that parking spaces be marked or “clearly identifiable.”
    • Item 11 (Easements): If not already obligated by law, the revision requires the surveyor to locate utilities by, among other things, “markings requested by the surveyor pursuant to an 811 utility locate or similar request.”
    • Item 18 (Wetlands): This item formerly dealt with observed evidence of use of a property as a solid waste dump, sump or sanitary land fill. Item 18 now deals solely with the location of delineated wetlands conducted by a qualified specialist. If you need the surveyor to depict the location of a former or current solid waste dump, sump or sanitary land fill, this can be accomplished by Item 21, a catchall item which provides for matters negotiated between the surveyor and its client.

    As is often the case with a survey, this article only addresses the surface issues. To delve deeper into the 2016 revisions to the Minimum Standards, please visit the links below.

    The full 2016 ALTA/NSPS Survey Standards can be found at the following website: https://www.alta.org/forms/download.cfm?formID=483&type=word.

    The marked up ALTA/NSPS Survey Standards showing the 2016 changes can be found at: https://www.alta.org/forms/downloadSub.cfm?formSubID=68&type=word.