A boundary survey provides a graphical representation of the property lines and improvements on a tract of land.
A client generally requests a boundary survey on residential properties when they are buying or selling the property. If a client needs to construct improvements on a property, a boundary and topographic survey is generally requested instead. This provides more detailed information such as contours and utilities that can then be used by an Engineer to design the site. Whereas, commercial / industrial properties generally require ALTA / ACSM Land Title Surveys.
One of the responsibilities of a Land Surveyor as he/she prepares a boundary survey is to identify any differences between property lines as surveyed in the field versus what is described in the recorded deed or plat.
If there is an overlap (ie. two adjacent property owners staking a claim to a portion of the same property) then the Surveyor will show this graphically on the drawing. This also applies to a gap situation, which is where neither property owner makes claim to a section of property between their two properties.
Another situation that occurs even more frequently is that one property owner has constructed a fence, retaining wall, driveway, building etc across the another property owner's property line, thereby creating an encroachment. A boundary survey would show these encroachments on the survey drawing. If there is a dispute with a neighbor about where a property line is and whether or not there is an encroachment, a boundary survey is the ideal solution.
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