An ALTA survey is a boundary survey prepared to a set of minimum standards, which show improvements, easements, rights-of-way, and other elements impacting the ownership of land.
An ALTA Survey is often prepared for commercial properties, as it will provide the title company with the information required to insure the title to the land and improvements to the high degree that a commercial development may require.
The American Land and Title Association (ALTA) and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) have jointly developed a set of land surveying standards, with the goal of promoting uniformity in survey information.
The standard “Table A” (see attached) is helpful in delineating a clear scope of the land surveyor’s services.
OPTIONAL SURVEY RESPONSIBILITIES AND SPECIFICATIONS
NOTE: The items of Table A must be negotiated between the surveyor and client. It may be necessary for the surveyor to qualify or expand upon the description of these items (e.g., in reference to Item 6(b), there may be a need for an interpretation of a restriction). The surveyor cannot make a certification on the basis of an interpretation or opinion of another party. Notwithstanding Table A Items 5 and 11(b), if an engineering design survey is desired as part of an ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey, such services should be negotiated under Table A, item 22.
If checked, the following optional items are to be included in the ALTA/ACSM LAND TITLE SURVEY, except as otherwise qualified (see note above):
1. _____ Monuments placed (or a reference monument or witness to the corner) at all major corners of the boundary of the property, unless already marked or referenced by existing monuments or witnesses.
2. _____ Address(es) if disclosed in Record Documents, or observed while conducting the survey.
3. _____ Flood zone classification (with proper annotation based on federal Flood Insurance Rate Maps or the state or local equivalent) depicted by scaled map location and graphic plotting only.
4. _____ Gross land area (and other areas if specified by the client).
5. _____ Vertical relief with the source of information (e.g. ground survey or aerial map), contour interval, datum, and originating benchmark identified.
6. _____ (a) Current zoning classification, as provided by the insurer.
_____ (b) Current zoning classification and building setback requirements, height and floor space area restrictions as set forth in that classification, as provided by the insurer. If none, so state.
7. _____ (a) Exterior dimensions of all buildings at ground level.
(b) Square footage of:
_____ (1) exterior footprint of all buildings at ground level.
_____ (2) other areas as specified by the client.
_____ (c) Measured height of all buildings above grade at a location specified by the client. If no location is specified, the point of measurement shall be identified.
8. _____ Substantial features observed in the process of conducting the survey (in addition to the improvements and features required under Section 5 above) such as parking lots, billboards, signs, swimming pools, landscaped areas, etc.
9. _____ Striping, number and type (e.g. handicapped, motorcycle, regular, etc.) of parking spaces in parking areas, lots and structures.
10. _____ (a) Determination of the relationship and location of certain division or party walls designated by the client with respect to adjoining properties (client to obtain necessary permissions).
_____ (b) Determination of whether certain walls designated by the client are plumb (client to obtain necessary permissions).
11. Location of utilities (representative examples of which are listed below) existing on or serving the surveyed property as determined by:
_____ (a) Observed evidence.
_____ (b) Observed evidence together with evidence from plans obtained from utility companies or provided by client, and markings by utility companies and other appropriate sources (with reference as to the source of information).
Railroad tracks, spurs and sidings;
Manholes, catch basins, valve vaults and other surface indications of subterranean uses;
Wires and cables (including their function, if readily identifiable) crossing the surveyed property, and all poles on or within ten feet of the surveyed property. Without expressing a legal opinion as to the ownership or nature of the potential encroachment, the dimensions of all encroaching utility pole crossmembers or overhangs; and
utility company installations on the surveyed property.
Note – With regard to Table A, item 11(b), source information from plans and markings will be combined with observed evidence of utilities to develop a view of those underground utilities. However, lacking excavation, the exact location of underground features cannot be accurately, completely and reliably depicted. Where additional or more detailed information is required, the client is advised that excavation may be necessary.
12. _____ Governmental Agency survey-related requirements as specified by the client, such as for HUD surveys, and surveys for leases on Bureau of Land Management managed lands.
13. _____ Names of adjoining owners of platted lands according to current public records.
14. _____ Distance to the nearest intersecting street as specified by the client.
15. _____ Rectified orthophotography, photogrammetric mapping, airborne/mobile laser scanning and other similar products, tools or technologies as the basis for the showing the location of certain features (excluding boundaries) where ground measurements are not otherwise necessary to locate those features to an appropriate and acceptable accuracy relative to a nearby boundary. The surveyor shall (a) discuss the ramifications of such methodologies (e.g. the potential precision and completeness of the data gathered thereby) with the insurer, lender and client prior to the performance of the survey and, (b) place a note on the face of the survey explaining the source, date, precision and other relevant qualifications of any such data.
16. _____ Observed evidence of current earth moving work, building construction or building additions.
17. _____ Proposed changes in street right of way lines, if information is available from the controlling jurisdiction. Observed evidence of recent street or sidewalk construction or repairs.
18. _____ Observed evidence of site use as a solid waste dump, sump or sanitary landfill. .
19. _____ Location of wetland areas as delineated by appropriate authorities.
20. _____ (a) Locate improvements within any offsite easements or servitudes benefitting the surveyed property that are disclosed in the Record Documents provided to the surveyor and that are observed in the process of conducting the survey (client to obtain necessary permissions).
_____ (b) Monuments placed (or a reference monument or witness to the corner) at all major corners of any offsite easements or servitudes benefitting the surveyed property and disclosed in Record Documents provided to the surveyor (client to obtain necessary permissions).
21. _____ Professional Liability Insurance policy obtained by the surveyor in the minimum amount of $____________ to be in effect throughout the contract term. Certificate of Insurance to be furnished upon request.
22. _____ ___________________________________________________________________
Adopted by the Board of Governors, American Land Title Association, on October 13, 2010.
American Land Title Association, 1828 L St., N.W., Suite 705, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Adopted by the Board of Directors, National Society of Professional Surveyors, on November 15, 2010.
National Society of Professional Surveyors, Inc., a member organization of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, 6 Montgomery Village Avenue, Suite 403, Gaithersburg, MD 20879