This is an article by Gary Kent found in the The American Surveyor • Vol. 9 No. 5. The idea of always checking Table A item 11b on ALTA/ACSM surveys is a good one. This helps insure that evidence such as utilities that may result in unwritten easements is located in the field.
I was surprised to read that Manitoba had no female land surveyors until now. The story gives some details about the careers of surveyors in Canada.
Boat owner finds tsunami debris on Orcas Island. I noticed that a survey marker was among the debris that has washed up. Surprisingly, this is the second story I have read about the plastic survey markers being found on the west coast. Apparently, the plastic markers are common in Japan. The markers are often referred to as “monuments” by surveyors, which indicates their permanent nature. A survey monument is one of the last objects I would have expected to wash up.
Many ALTA/ACSM Land Title surveys that I perform have title reports that describe an area much larger than the portion the client is interested in. The parcel(s) described in the title report may cover reciprocal parking easements, private roadways, or other portions that are situated well away from the subject area. I am constantly asked to survey only a portion of the area covered by the title report legal description. I generally refuse to survey only these portions, with a few exceptions.
How the standards apply
The 2011 minimum standard detail requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys don’t address this topic directly but do mention the term “portion of such lot or parcel” in section 6 as follows:
V. The remainder of any recorded lot or existing parcel, when the surveyed property is composed of only a portion of such lot or parcel, shall be graphically depicted. Such remainder does not need to be included as part of the actual survey, except to the extent necessary to locate the lines and corners of the surveyed property, and it need not be fully dimensioned or drawn at the same scale as the surveyed property.
In my opinion, this section does not refer to partial surveys, but is intended to allow for portions of outlying parcels that were surveyed as part of a procedure to establish the subject parcel, for example, showing an entire block in order to determine the lines of one subject lot within that block. The standards appear to be quiet on the subject of partial surveys.
Title reports indicate what is insured
The legal description shown on a title report describes exactly what real property is to be covered by the title insurance policy. A Land Title Survey that references a corresponding title report is intended to remove insurance exceptions to the many items that may be discoverable from a survey and are not shown in the public records. This would include all of the parcels shown in the title report legal description. Occasionally a title company will be willing to use a legal description covering a smaller area in order to reduce costs.
Can the table A options apply to only a portion of a parcel?
As a matter of practice, I will occasionally show some of the table A options on only portions of a parcel. Option 5 (vertical relief contours) is an item that I frequently show only on a portion of a survey. I am careful to show the surveyed limits clearly on the plat and indicate that areas outside of these limits did not have some options surveyed. Ground contours probably have little effect on title interests.
ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys should cover the entire area indicated on the title report legal description. Some table A options could be exceptions. Managing risk for all parties involved is the prime concern when determining the limits of a survey. Asking for a title report describing fewer parcels or a smaller area is a reasonable way to reduce the surveyed area.