If you're a landowner, there's a good chance that at some point you'll need to contract the services of a land surveyor. Maybe you need to identify the precise boundaries of the land so that you can consider subdivision before you sell, or perhaps you're seeing planning permission for a new structure and you need to understand the specifics of your land so that you can file your request; with so many survey types and so many reasons to arrange for one, it can be difficult to figure out which kind you should get! So what are the options?

Boundary Survey

If you're hoping to sell your land, you're trying to work out if your land is eligible for subdivision, you're embroiled in a boundary dispute or you're planning major development work that goes right to the edges of your property, you're going to need a boundary survey. This survey type looks at the paperwork associated with the land, the legal implications of who has historically used which parts of the land and the features of the land itself to determine that land's precise boundaries.

Comprehensive Survey

If you're hoping to sell your land or use it as collateral for a loan, you may find that a wide-ranging general survey of the land is required by the purchaser or lender. These surveys give a broad overview of all the different aspects of your land, and are the most basic general type of land survey.

Construction Survey

Construction surveys are highly technical affairs, and are what many people think of when they hear the phrase 'land survey'. They're used to stake out roads, buildings and other structures, and generally involve staking of slopes, grading of surfaces and a review of what's built on the land already. They're most useful when you're about to undertake a building project on your land, and may be required to obtain planning permission.

Feature & Level Survey

A full feature and level survey will look at all the topographic features of your land, taking into account things such as height above sea level and the presence of water courses. These surveys are essential for accurate cartography, and if your land contains steep hills or deep water are sometimes required to obtain planning permission. Feature and level surveys can sometimes require aerial methods in addition to ground-level surveying.

Location Survey

If your land is already built up, a location survey may be required in addition to a boundary survey for sale or zoning permission. It looks not just at the features of the land itself but also at the buildings on the land and the use of those buildings.

Site Planning Survey

If you're hoping to obtain planning permission there are several surveys you might need, but you're pretty much guaranteed to need a site planning survey. These surveys look at what's already on the land and deem the suitability of that land for various other purposes. They may also be required in the case of a zoning change.

Subdivision Survey

Once you've ascertained that your land is eligible for subdivision (which generally requires a boundary survey), you'll need a subdivision survey to get starting with carrying that subdivision out. This is because in most states and territories, physical boundary changes are required before a parcel of land can be legally subdivided. These changes may include roads, fences and hedges.