ALTA Title Survey | ALTA Boundary Survey

ALTA Title SurveyAn ALTA Title Survey is completed based on the “Minimum Standard Detail Requirements and Accuracy Standards For ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys.”

This standard document was developed and is revised on a regular basis by a combination of Title industry and Surveying industry professionals.  The latest version of this document is the 2011 revision.

An ALTA Title Survey is generally similar to a boundary or lot survey on a piece of property. But, the ALTA title survey goes a little farther in the requirements on the land surveyor as he/she carries out the survey, both in the field and in the office.

An ALTA Title Survey is generally used on commercial or multi-family residential sites and also when either the lender or owner is in another state jurisdiction.

The ALTA standards are somewhat of a “national standard” for surveying, intended to yield a consistent survey no matter what state the work is done in. While most States have surveying standards, they vary widely from one state to the other. So, the ALTA standard is used to cut down on this variation.

Since ALTA title Surveys take more time and effort, these surveys typically cost more than a survey done according to a particular state standard. It should be pointed out that if the state standard is more restrictive on a certain point, then the most restrictive standard is required on the survey.

I see ALTA title surveys priced from 50% to 200% more than a comparable boundary survey. This depends on the items checked in “Table A – Optional Survey Responsibilities and Specifications.” This table adds additional or specific tasks to the surveyor’s scope of work.

One item that is usually included with most all ALTA survey requests is Item #1, monuments placed. Most state standards probably include this and, in my opinion, all surveys should, but the ALTA survey leaves this optional unless the item is checked on Table A.

In regard to this, one of the things I appreciate is that the client is “supposed to” not only fill out this Table A but also to furnish title documents to the surveyor BEFORE he starts the survey. In practice we rarely get the title documents until we issue the first draft of the survey.

At that time the documents are sent to us and we are asked to revise the survey and show them. While this is not the way its planned, at least we have the chance to review the documents before issuing the final version of the survey.

So, if you have a commercial parcel or a large multi-family residential complex, you should consider asking for the ALTA survey standards to be used.

You should also probably do this if you are considering the purchase or development of a parcel outside your state. Most of the banks will require this if you ask for a loan on this type property, but I recommend this even if the bank doesn’t require it.

What requirements do the ALTA Title Survey Standards have?

  1. Research of deeds, easements, etc must be done prior to the survey.
  2. The survey drawing must show the name and contact info for the surveyor performing the work.
  3. The survey drawing should be a minimum size and scale to accurately depict the items found on the ground.
  4. Geometric and mathematical dimensions of the property must be given so that the required survey accuracy can be met.
  5. The difference between survey dimensions and deed dimensions must be shown if they are different.
  6. All documents or maps that were used to complete the survey must be referenced on the drawing.
  7. All monuments that represent the property corners must be identified on the drawing.
  8. Any observed evidence of possession over or on the property will be given.
  9. All easements according to documents given to the surveyor will be shown on the drawing.
  10. Improvements (buildings, walls, fences, cemeteries, etc) will be shown on the survey drawing to extend to five-feet outside the boundary.
  11. Show other items as requested by the client according to Table A in the ALTA Standards.
  12. Contract between the client and surveyor authorizing the surveyor to proceed and providing payment to the surveyor.

If we can help you with an ALTA Title Survey in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Dadeville Land Surveying at (256) 307-1447 or fill out our contact form on our Contact page. Dadeville Land Surveying – for all your ALTA Title Survey needs.