Sun | Dec 5, 2021

A Matter of Land | What surveying service do you need?

Published:Sunday | April 14, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Dr Garfield Young (centre), dean of the Built Environment, University of Technology (UTech), explains the workings of a theodite to Professor Stephen Vascianne (left), president, UTech, and Dr Winston Campbell, visual arts tutor and curator of the Centre for the Arts/Exhibition, at the official opening of the university’s 60th anniversary exhibition held at Lillian’s Restaurant, Papine, on March 4. Theodolites are used in land surveying.
Craig Francis

Daily, most of my colleagues, if not all, get calls from clients telling us that they need a survey done and want to know the cost of doing same. The problem is, most times they are not sure about which surveying service they need, as ‘a survey’ could be one of several different services to which the client refers. Today, we will look at the different types of surveying services so that you can be informed and can call your land surveyor with confidence.

There are several types of land-surveying service. Let’s look at some of them.


Whenever you purchase property and the bank, lending agency or your lawyer requires you to contract the services of a commissioned land surveyor, it is normally for the purpose of a surveyor’s report. This is where the surveyor inspects the property and gives a report as to the state of the property.

This is important, as the surveyor helps the bank and the purchaser to know if there are any encroachments or breaches of any restrictive covenants. The commissioned land surveyor will also let you know if the property you are interested in is the same on the title that you have been given by the vendor. This is also important in cash sales, as it indemnifies the purchaser for any hidden problem concerning the property.


The National Housing Trust (NHT), in addition to asking for surveyor’s identification reports, require that when you are doing what they call ‘build on own land’, you get a commissioned land surveyor to check the layout of the building to be constructed. This is called a site conformation. A site conformation report is prepared by the land surveyor on a standard form provided by the NHT. Here, the surveyor visits the property and checks the setbacks of the layout of the building to ensure it is on the correct lot, within the boundary of the lot, and has the required setbacks from the boundary as stipulated by the restrictive covenants in the certificate of title.


Then, if you are required by your architect or draughtsman to contract the services of a land surveyor, you will more than likely need what is called a topographic survey. This is a survey where the topography of the lot is captured and represented on a plan (topographic plan) that has contour lines and all the features on the property (large trees and buildings etc.) among other things that will assist the architect to prepare a proper building design for your dream home.


When you are interested in the location of your boundary pegs, or to know where your boundaries are, or you plan to construct a boundary fence/wall, you will require what is called a boundary reopening and a repegging. This is where the boundary marks are replaced in the exact position (or within the allowable tolerance) on earth so you can know the extent of your property. You can then construct your boundary fence or you will know if you are encroaching on a neighbour, or if your property is being encroached on.

We will continue in our next publication.

Keep sending your questions and comments. Let’s continue to explore A Matter of Land.

Until next time, walk good.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. Email questions or comments to and