You have almost certainly seen Land Surveyors at work in Perth. They are the ones with their eyes up to what looks like a telescope or holding a height measuring staff.
But you can be forgiven for not immediately recognising the vital role a surveyor plays in property development.
If you are redeveloping, subdividing or building a new home, you need a licensed Land Surveyor on your side. A detailed property survey is the first step in determining the cost for any building project.
So, like a Land Surveyor would assess a building site, let’s take a closer look and get the full measure of surveying.
What is land surveying?
Land Surveyors use specialised equipment to measure and map certain environments, including (but not limited to) building sites, subdivisions, road construction, farms, even the seafloor.
Without accurate surveys, much of development and construction would be guesswork.
Although surveying is a diverse field, we’re going to focus on residential surveying to help you understand the role of a licensed Surveyor in your next property development project.
What do Land Surveyors measure?
Land Surveyors are often the first people on site. Before creating accurate plans, estimating building costs, or lodging Title applications, a licensed Surveyor needs to map the land and report on their findings.
But what are they looking at, exactly?
A Land Surveyor’s primary role is to map the property boundaries. Surveyors use special tools including laser scanners, GPS, mapping software and levels to peg your property boundaries with high accuracy.
Building sites are seldom flat. A Surveyor maps the undulations to inform the construction requirements.
As well as mapping the boundaries, Surveyors measure your block and provide an authorised statement with the results.
When you embark on an extensive renovation or property development project, you will hear about two kinds of land surveys: Existing Conditions and Cadastral.
Existing Conditions survey
Also known as a site and context plan, the Existing Conditions survey provides information about the site and its surroundings.
- Slope of the lot
- Neighbouring buildings, including windows, doors and roofs
- Vegetation on or around the lot
- Building heights
- Fence location
- Vertical height to determine drainage requirements
Architects, builders and contractors use this information to plan your building project. It is also essential in determining whether a subdivision or property redevelopment is viable.
Cadastral surveys specifically focus on property boundaries. So if you are undertaking a major renovation or subdividing land, a Cadastral Surveyor will determine any restrictions on the project.
Cadastral surveys are used to support Title transfers. So if you are planning to develop a block or sell a subdivided parcel of land in Perth, a Cadastral survey gives both sides more confidence in the transaction.
What happens with the measurements?
Land Surveyors in Perth compile their measurements and data into a detailed plan. Then, within 30 days, you will receive a signed certificate testifying the surveying work was completed by a licensed professional.
At the same time, they will re-peg the boundaries on-site.
The certificate and boundary locations are lodged with Landgate, who holds survey records going back to the office’s establishment in the 1820s.
Do I need to use a licensed surveyor in Perth?
The short answer is yes. A licenced Surveyor is the only person authorised to carry out an official site survey.
The Land Surveyor’s Licencing Board of Western Australia is responsible for providing practicing certificates to licenced Surveyors in Perth.
Any survey carried out by an unlicensed Surveyor is invalid. That means if you face a boundary dispute in the future, your site survey has no legal status. Further, the unlicenced Surveyor passing themselves off as legitimate is liable for a $10,000 fine.
Do I need a licensed Surveyor for a property development project?
Although engaging a Land Surveyor in Perth is not a legal requirement for redevelopment projects or selling a house, it is a very good idea.
Imagine, for example, that you purchase a property only to find out the fence is a few centimetres out of line. Even that small diversion means the fence must be entirely rebuilt, costing thousands of dollars – not to mention the stress and disturbance.
And if you plan to establish a new property boundary for a subdivision or confirm an old boundary, you must use a licenced Surveyor.
Only a licenced Surveyor is authorised to measure, peg, and report property boundaries. So whenever a boundary is involved in a development project, a Perth Land Surveyor is the first person to call.
How to engage a licenced Surveyor
Land Surveyors create the survey used by architects, builders, contractors and landscapers. So it’s impossible to overstate the importance of working with an experienced professional every time you require a survey.
There are two ways to engage a licenced Surveyor in Perth:
- Integrated service
- Standalone surveying
Surveying can also be a standalone service for re-establishing a boundary, or if you plan to engage a builder independently.
How much does surveying cost?
Professional Land Surveyors in Perth can cost a few hundred dollars up to several thousand. Every property project is different.
To understand the costs, your Surveyor will consider:
- Block location
- Property size
- Block shape and arrangement
- Physical features
- Job length and complexity
It’s important to remember that Land Surveyors are licensed professionals. Choosing to short-cut your subdivision with a cheap or unlicenced Surveyor will end up costing dearly in the future, both in remediation work and potential penalties.
However, an integrated surveying and subdivision package is a great way to reduce surveying costs and streamline the project.
Integrated surveying and property development services
Partnering with a full-service property development specialist like Multiple Property Group means you get the benefit of working with experienced licenced Surveyors, subdivision experts and investment specialists who are all part of the same team.Get in touch with our experienced surveyors to chat about your requirements and take the next steps on your property journey.