Boundary Surveys: Here’s What You Should Know

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A boundary survey is an important aspect of home ownership due diligence, especially if you plan to subdivide, extend, or improve, your NSW property. The purpose of a boundary survey is to show you where the legal limits of your property lie—usually by defining the corners of your plot—so you can avoid the expense and stress of any potential legal disputes with your neighbours or Council.

Your title and lending companies might also ask for proof of a professional boundary survey (undertaken by a registered land surveyor) to minimise their risk of lending. So, it’s important to follow the right process to get your property boundaries properly surveyed.

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When do you need a boundary survey?

A boundary survey offers critical decision making information for negotiations around land division and price point. There are a number of situations where you might need one, for example, as due diligence when you’re about to make a major property purchase (like a new new home) especially if you plan on developing it.

Most commonly, however, boundary surveys are used for the installation of new fencing—for example, to clarify whose property the fence sits on, and who’s responsible for their maintenance or repair—or when disputes arise; perhaps a neighbour is building illegally or encroaching on your property (or, is accusing you of the same).

How does the boundary survey process work?

Carrying out your boundary survey is a methodical process that generally happens over two phases: research of land records and visiting the property for a field survey.

The starting point is for your qualified surveyor to review the property’s deposited plans and title certificates, which helps them understand the property boundaries and ownership. Once the document research is complete, your qualified land surveyor will then visit the property to take physical measurements. They will place physical markers at each corner of the boundary line and use surveying equipment to measure the distances. Once complete they will analyse and verify the accuracy of their data.

What’s the outcome of a boundary survey?

Once the on site survey is complete, your land surveyor will then begin preparing your legally binding documents: the boundary survey report and sketch plan. These show where the boundary line is located and must be prepared to an industry standard, allowing other surveyors to review and verify the findings—and in compliance with the requirements of the NSW Land Registry Services and the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information.

The boundary sketches, as prepared and signed by a registered surveyor, can also be used for court should a boundary dispute go that far. In such cases, registered surveyors can also be available to act as expert witnesses.

What happens if my property is ‘limited title’?

A limited property title is a residential property that doesn’t have a properly defined location or clear boundaries—meaning the property has never been investigated by the Surveyor General.

This usually only applies to older properties (for example, it’s more common in areas like the Inner West), and will be noted on the Certificate of Title. If your property is a limited property, you need a Plan of Delimitation prepared to establish boundary locations, which will then be registered with Land Registry Services.

How much does a boundary survey cost?

No two boundary surveys cost the same, so we can’t give an exact figure without first understanding more about your property. Factors that determine cost include the size and location of the property, the density of any foliage and greenery on site, and the availability of information required to undertake our initial document research.

In most cases, boundary surveys are a relatively fast process. At C&A Surveyors, we strive to be on site within 48 hours of you contacting us. Boundary surveys can then take anywhere between two days up to a couple of weeks. This allows us sufficient time to plan and perform the work, and do our due diligence to assure accuracy and quality.

Do I need a qualified NSW surveyor for my boundary survey?

Because boundary surveys relate to the legal definition of a property or parcel of land, they must be undertaken by (or in some cases, under the supervision of) a Registered Surveyor to comply with NSW regulations.

A poorly conducted survey can have serious consequences for your property and your project. For example, you run the risk of violating local code, losing any landowners disputes, and in some cases, risking title defects and transfer of land ownership. So, we recommend you always get your boundary surveys carried out by a professional, registered NSW land surveyor.

Is the cost of a boundary survey worth it?

Conducting a boundary survey is a smart choice whether you’re buying, selling, or disputing a property. A properly conducted boundary survey from a professional, registered NSW land surveyor will offer peace of mind that you are legally constructing on your property—or defining its boundary areas—and provide the required support for any legal disputes.

While this article is meant to give you a general guideline, we suggest you make decisions based on your own research as per your individual situation.

Why choose C&A Surveyors for your boundary survey?

C&A Surveyors is one of Sydney’s leading land surveyors, and an established name in boundary surveying and NSW building industry. We use the latest in surveying technology and state of the art equipment to get you fast and accurate results, every time.

Working with C&A surveyors means you can expect a dedicated one-point contact who will seamlessly manage your project, be onsite within 48 hours, and provide consistent, supportive communication throughout.

Contact us today and let’s get your boundaries surveyed, hassle free.

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