When is a Survey Usually Needed?

  • BEFORE title in land is transferred
  • BEFORE land is subdivided
  • BEFORE land is developed by construction of buildings, roads, fences, etc.
  • BEFORE a boundary dispute arises
  • BEFORE a building or fence is to be built near a property line
  • BEFORE a lot is to be conveyed from a larger tract and the lot has not been previously surveyed
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How Much Does a Survey Cost?

The surveyor’s cost estimate will be based on the anticipated difficulty and estimated time needed to complete the project. Fees can be estimated, but the surveyor cannot predict the amount of work required to recover the necessary evidence. The amount of time required to obtain field measurements and make boundary determinations depends on the availability and proximity of the discovered evidence. The surveyor will be able to provide you with a cost estimate based upon an hourly rate, experience with similar jobs, and a general knowledge of the area, but actual costs may not be known until the project is completed. Although some companies will provide a “lump sum” for certain types of work such as mortgage inspections or foundation surveys. Make sure you check with your local surveyor before you proceed.

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Selecting a Surveyor

The best way to locate a reputable Surveyor is to click on “Find A Surveyor” on the top navigation bar of the home page. From there you can search by various criteria such as name, county, city etc. OSLS members are held to a higher standard and exhibit a high degree of professionalism and ethics. OSLS members also complete a minimum of 15 hours of  continuing education annually.

Abstractors, Attorneys, Bankers and Realtors can also be a source for locating a surveyor. Perhaps you know somebody who recently retained the services of a surveyor whom you could ask for a recommendation

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What Does the Surveyor Need from Me?

  • The purpose or type of survey
  • A copy of your deed
  • Any plans you have and any in formation about the location of existing property corners and property lines
  • Brief history of ownership
  • Name and address of adjacent property owners, if know.
  • Information about disagreements over location of property corners and property lines
  • Abstract and title opinion, if available, and requested by the surveyor
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What Will a Surveyor Do For Me?

The Professional Land Surveyor will do all work in accord with State Laws, local regulations and the highest ethical standards. He will, at your request:

  • Study your property description and show you what, in his professional opinion, the records and facts indicate the boundaries of your land to be
  • Survey your property, and adjacent property, if necessary, to complete his work.
  • Advise you if there is any defect in your land description or evidence of encroachment.
  • Set monuments at your property corners and mark them so they can be easily found. A record of his work if filed in his office for future reference.
  • Prepare a certificate of survey of your property, indicating the measurements he has made, the monuments he has placed, and any other date requested.
  • Help you plan and layout a subdivision into lots and streets
  • File a copy of the map or plat with the appropriate office at your request or if required by law.
  • Locate oil and gas wells, buildings, fences, rights of way, encroachments, other possession evidence.
  • Inform interested parties of progress and results
  • Cooperate with your attorney, realtor, banker, engineer or architect.
  • Write a legal description when land is to be divided.
  • Supply you with as many copies of the plat or map as you may require, each bearing his certification, signature and seal.
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Different Types of Surveys?

  • Preliminary Survey: The collection of survey data on which to base studies on a proposed project or a proposed final survey
  • Boundary Surveys are the most common and they serve to locate the limits of a certain property or description
  • Topographic Surveys are surveys that are usually required when construction is going to take place and all improvements and utilities need to be located as well as elevations of the property
  • Land Title Surveys are obtained when a loan is being secured on a piece of property (usually commercial). Land Title Surveys are the most extensive and costly and are designed to provide comfort to the lender, Title Company and buyer as to title issues such as easements and encroachments
  • Mortgage Inspections are a product that is provided on residential loans. Although a drawing is often provided to the client, be aware that these are NOT BOUNDARY SURVEYS. Fences and other improvements should not be constructed based on a mortgage inspection. No survey markers are set during a Mortgage Inspection.
  • Site Planning Survey: A combination of boundary and topographic surveys with resulting plans used for designing development features such as roads, subdivisions, industrial construction, etc
  • Subdivision Survey: A type of land survey in which the legal boundaries of an area are located and the area is divided into smaller parcels, streets, rights of way and other accessories. All necessary corners or dividing lines are marked and monumented.
  • Construction Survey: The survey measurements made while construction is in progress to control elevation, horizontal position and dimensions, and to determine adequacy of completion

All surveys must meet Minimum Technical Standards, which are established by theState Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Copies of these standards are available by clicking on Resource Center on the left side menu. Then select Rules and Regulations.

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What if I have a complaint about a surveyor’s work?

Although it is rare that any action is necessary, there are a few things to remember if you have a problem with a surveyor. Communication is the most important aspect of any disagreement. Let the surveyor know about your concerns and ask him if he is willing to meet with you and answer your questions. Many times a complaint arises when communication breaks down or comes to an impasse. Make sure that you have all of the fees and scope of work defined by contract before any work proceeds so you can avoid any problems down the road. If, after all attempts to resolve the conflict have failed, you still feel a need to file a complaint, contact theState Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors and they can assist you further.

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Protect Your Interests

The Land Surveyor locates the property on which improvements are planned and constructed. The land Surveyor’s professional services will cost less in time, worry and expense than the cost of moving a building, relocating improvements, or defending a lawsuit in court due to a land boundary controversy. Retain a Land Surveyor before planning your development and investing funds, as a protection of your interests. 

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Cautions for Landowners

• Contact surveyor well before the survey is needed.
• Don’t replace markers with a post. Instead, set a post beside the marker.
• Don’t move or relocate markers
• Removing, defacing or altering a survey monument is a misdemeanor. 21 O.S. § 1774

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Common Measurements used by Land Surveyors

  • 1 Pole or Rod = 16.5 feet
  • 1 chain = 66 feet
  • 1 acre = 43,560 square feet
  • 1 square acre = 208.71 feet square
  • 1 mile = 5,280 feet (80 chains)
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