If you’re building, renovating, subdividing or selling a block in Perth, there is a good chance you will need a licensed Land Surveyor.
Land Surveyors are experts in their field and integral to gaining final approvals for all kinds of property projects. Their insight and experience can help you avoid roadblocks on the way to your goals, whether selling, buying, building or developing.
So, what exactly do Land Surveyors in Perth do? And how do you know when to involve a licensed Surveyor in the process?
In this guide, we’ll untangle some of the complexity surrounding land surveying to help you save cost, hassle and time.
What is a Land Surveyor?
Land Surveyors, also known as licensed Surveyors, lend their expertise to measuring, planning and managing a property project. In simplified terms, a Land Surveyor’s role is to:
- Map property boundaries
- Assess topography
- Measure block dimensions
- Produce official land surveys
These measurements and maps form the foundation of a cadastral survey. Cadastral, meaning the comprehensive and accurate recording of real estate boundaries, is a specialised field with little room for error.
Licensed Land Surveyors are experts in cadastral law and qualified to provide certainty about the location and boundaries of your block.
Are all Perth Land Surveyors licensed?
Under Western Australian law, only a licensed Surveyor can undertake a cadastral survey. The Land Surveyors Licencing Board of WA is responsible for issuing accreditations to Land Surveyors (a quick search on the LSLBWA website will confirm your Surveyor’s credentials).
Working with an unlicensed surveyor runs the risk of fines up to $10,000 and a survey with no legal status.
That means if you face a boundary dispute in the future, your survey has no weight, and you will likely be liable for high repair costs.
When should I involve a Land Surveyor?
Although you are not legally required to involve a Land Surveyor in Perth renovation or subdivision projects, the benefits far outweigh the costs.
You can read more about the importance of land surveying in our previous post.
The list of building projects that do not require a Land Surveyor is much shorter than those that do.
Land Surveyors are essential in every new build, subdivision and knockdown-rebuild. However, their function might change slightly depending on the scope and scale of the project.
Land Surveyors in subdivisions
Subdivision plans must pass through the local Council and WA Planning Commission before you can carve up a big block. The application needs to satisfy criteria relating to environmental considerations, site clearing, zoning requirements and any number of other concerns to secure approval.
A Perth Land Surveyor helps to streamline the approval process in several ways:
- Ensuring accurate block sizes
- Producing detailed site surveys and cadastral maps
- Assessing the site’s topography
- Evaluating conditions such as neighbouring properties and vegetation
These are not merely nice-to-know details. A subdivision can succeed or stall based on something that’s easy to overlook, such as the location of a neighbouring roof or the proximity of a building to a boundary.
Integrating a Land Surveyor into your subdivision team ensures a more dynamic and streamlined planning phase, ultimately resulting in lower costs and less stress.
Land Surveyors in new property developments
Greenfield development projects are exciting and complex. However, a Land Surveyor must assess the block for feasibility before you can break ground.
- Creating a cadastral survey
- Assessing site topography
- Measuring the site accurately
- Establishing clear boundaries
- Settling boundary disputes
- Measuring slope
- Determining drainage requirements
Land Surveyors are an integral part of every property development project. They work with engineers, architects, builders and approving bodies (such as the local council) to ensure the project meets requirements for safety and feasibility.
Subdivisions and new developments are the primary domain of most Perth Land Surveyors. But they play a role in many other types of property projects.
Land Surveyors in knockdown-rebuilds, renovations and extensions
Significant renovations, such as extensions, partial and complete rebuilds, granny flats, pools and gardens might require the expertise of a licensed Surveyor.
In situations when you need to submit building approvals or rebuild a boundary fence, the justification for involving a licensed Surveyor is cut and dry.
But it gets a little trickier for renovations that don’t invoke the cadastral survey or Title documents.
We recommend contacting a licensed Surveyor if you have any questions about:
- Site boundaries: A Land Surveyor can confirm whether the fence line is off or clarify how close you can build to the border. They can also resolve boundary disputes by assessing fence lines against the cadastral survey.
- Environmental conditions: Land Surveyors deal with many environmental concerns, from site contours to Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) preparations, and site slope to drainage requirements.
- Development feasibility: A Land Surveyor, especially one integrated with a property development team, will confirm or correct feasibility questions before you begin a project. Feasibility and cost are closely linked, so if you’re curious whether your renovation will come too close to a boundary or infringe on a neighbouring property, a Land Surveyor can put your mind at ease.
In these cases, consultation with a Land Surveyor can’t hurt. On the contrary, it will provide peace of mind that your project can go ahead or identify potential stumbling blocks before they become major problems.
Land Surveyors in buying a property
You can buy a property in Perth without consulting a licensed Surveyor. But whether you should is more complicated.
Every property purchase – a new home, older home, undeveloped block, commercial property or subdivision – involves a raft of financial and legal complexity. You may be tempted to save on a Land Surveyor’s fees, but the long-term risks can end up more costly:
- Unexpected future expense: Moving boundary fences, re-establishing cadastral surveys and remediating issues can add substantial cost, souring the property purchase experience.
- Missing out on expert advice: Such a significant purchase decision shouldn’t be made lightly. Before you commit, it’s important to know what you’re buying.
- No legal status to renegotiate: Omitting the Land Surveyor from your team weakens your position to negotiate on issues like boundary disputes and site works.
- Denied for financing: Many lenders will insist on a qualified Land Surveyor inspecting the property before agreeing to finance your purchase.
Still, there is no reason that a Land Surveyor should blow out your budget. Working with a full-service property partner like Multiply Property Group gives you access to licensed Surveyors in Perth as part of a multidisciplinary team.
Our licensed Land Surveyors specialise in investment properties and subdivision projects. We provide integrated project management, subdivision and surveying packages to help our clients optimise returns and achieve their property goals.