When you purchase a survey of your property, you can expect it to be done to fairly robust technical standards prescribed by Florida law. These laws are crafted to protect the consumer and are published in the Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 61G17-6 as the Minimum Technical Standards. They are, however, minimum standards; you should, of course, expect to receive services meeting these standards. You can also expect to receive services exceeding these standards.
Since being adopted in 1981, the rules have undergone a number of revisions. One of these is the elimination of the requirement that a survey must be certified as to meeting the Minimum Technical Standards (MTS.) Many surveyors still include that statement in their certificates.
To meet the objectives of MTS, a surveyor must produce a survey that is “full and complete,” meaning that it meets all requirements of the MTS– including accuracy, completeness, and quality– and falls into one of the following categories of survey type: As-Built; Boundary; Condominium; Construction Layout; Control; Hydrographic; Mean High Water Line; Quantity; Record (same type as As-Built); Specific or Special Purpose, and Topographic.
The first section of the rule deals with the map or drawing of your property. The land surveyor must be fully identified, with licensing and contact information. Next, standard content is required regarding map information, like accuracy requirements of both the field survey and the map, a map scale and north arrow, and a bearing reference, relating all directions shown on the map to a monumented line. Surveyor’s notes, a legend explaining symbols, and a list of abbreviations are also standard map content. Equally important are the date of the survey field work, and the date of any map revisions.
Requirements specific to a boundary survey ensure that the surveyor determines the correct position of the property, in accord with the property drescription, and that monuments exist at all of the property corners. All boundary surveys must result in a map. The map must fully describe the lines and curves of the boundary in the same fashion as the land description.
Subdivision lots must include a measurement to the block corner, and metes and bounds (long, written descriptions) must have a measurement to the Point of Beginning of the description, although there are alternative measurements allowed in both cases. The adjoining lots or parcels must be described with the lot and block numbers or parcel numbers associated with them.
Any boundary line problems, like gaps between, or overlaps of, adjacent property lines have to be shown on the survey and explained in a factual manner. If no research was done to discover potential boundary conflicts, this must be stated on the map. An example of this would be not to look up adjoining deeds in a metes and bounds situation and plot or not to compare the deed calls with those of the subject parcel.
Your survey should show the fixed improvements located on your property along with dimensions from the improvements to the nearest property line. Property line indicators, like walls and fences, should also be dimensioned relative to the property lines.
A final point to look for on your survey is access to the property from a private or public right of way. This is especially important with metes and bounds descriptions, where a parcel could be located away from a road. Open and notorious evidence of public or private easements must be shown on your survey. If you have a line of trees along your rear lot line for example, you might discover that the power company also has an easement there and a right to trim your trees.
The MTS no longer requires the surveyor to call out any encroachments on the survey, something that has been a standard of practice for as long as I can recall. Only the failure to locate foundation lines that may encroach is required to be stated on the drawing. You might have to examine your survey drawing closely for visual indications of encroachments. An example would be where a building or concrete slab crosses into an easement or setback line.
The MTS applies to the other types of surveys listed earlier in this post, as well as to legal descriptions and air photos. This post is limited to boundary surveys. If you have a question about the MTS, please leave a comment on this post or call us at 941-377-3157. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at: jerrytwheelerplsinc.com.