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Old 10-30-2012, 07:10 PM   #16
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DIY Building Foundation Surveying - Can I do it myself?


not really

and how would you know where the one corner of your building on the land is?

Deeds and plans do not have latitude and longitude coordinates on them. The practice of land surveying is more involved than using a compass or GPS unit and walking around on the ground. It requires not only formal education but experience. To become a registered land surveyor one must successfully pass a two-day examination covering not only the science of surveying (basics) but the art (professional practice) as well.

Steps in performing a survey to determine the location of a building on the ground are:

1. Research of deeds (yours as well as abutters) and recorded plans such as subdivision plans, General Land Office plans, and other plans used to create your lot or abutters lots.

2. Field research to attempt to locate any monuments, corners or points referenced in plans, deeds and other sources.

3. Field instrument survey to traverse the ground to accurately locate any found monuments and corners. This traverse must be accurately balanced so that the start point and ending point are one in the same.

4. Determine the site's property corners as defined in the deed/plan in relationship to found referenced monuments and corners.

5. Determine minimum setback requirements from zoning regulations and verify the placement of the building on the site for compliance.

6. From the known field traverse points perform an instrument survey to establish offsets from the building corners on the ground. we always used 10' offsets so that excavation would not disturb the point set.

once you know where on the ground the building will be going it's time for the construction phase to being ....

not trying to be smart with you, but to provide you with that which you asked. Daniel tried to explain the perils of surveying to you in post #12. surveying just like structural design is best left to the professionals.

had a builder one time decide to layout his building location on his own from the property corners that had been set previously to save himself $300, our fee to stake out the offsets. when we came out to locate the foundation (required to have as-built foundation plan certifying compliance with zoning setbacks here) we discovered that instead of being 15' from a property line as required by the zoning regulations he was 14'. should have seen the look on his face when he had to rip out a $10,000 foundation and start over.

do what you feel is necessary, but please be aware of the risks. last thing you want to do is put a building on someone else's land ...... seen that done too, guy got a great house for free!

Good luck!

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Old 10-30-2012, 08:06 PM   #17
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DIY Building Foundation Surveying - Can I do it myself?


GBrackins: Thank you - that's exactly the kind of info I was looking for. It's really good to know the approx cost of having the survey done by pros - that is quite reasonable. I would still like to do this myself, knowing that Steps 1-5 you outlined have already been done by my real estate agents, and the facts that: 1) I am on a rural lot with only one close neighbor, and 2) said neighbor has already established the property line between our holdings with his own fence, and 3) my building concept doesn't put me very close to that property line.

If I did do the surveying myself, couldn't I have it checked by the county inspector before putting in the foundations? I would consider it the height of folly to actually build the foundations before verifying they were correctly marked-in.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:32 PM   #18
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DIY Building Foundation Surveying - Can I do it myself?


I don't think you really understood what GBrackins was trying to tell you. So let me give it one more try.

1. Your real estate agent is not qualified to perform steps 1-5, unless they happen to be a licensed professional surveyor as well as a real estate agent, which is unlikely. If they claim to have located lot points, and are not a licensed surveyor, they are committing malpractice.

2. You think your neighbor established the property boundary with a fence. That is not possible. Of course a fence is supposed to be on your property, but the fact that he installed a fence is no guarantee that it is in the correct location, unless of course he had a registered land surveyor establish the lot corners and locate the fence.

3. Your building concept does not put you close to a property line. Sounds good, except you don't really know where the property line is, unless you get the lot surveyed, or have a copy of a registered land survey and can locate the pins from the survey. Plus you need to establish the required setback, maximum lot coverage, etc.

4. You can certainly ask the county inspector to check your work, but they may not be willing to certify home brewed surveying. Certainly you should ask them in advance if they are willing to certify your work.

5. As for the layout of the building, you might find it more challenging than you think to establish the correct corners for your building, and setting grade stakes can be tricky if the land is rugged.

But all that said, it sounds like you are bound and determined to survey your own lot. So enjoy it, and let us know how it turned out. Good luck.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:52 PM   #19
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DIY Building Foundation Surveying - Can I do it myself?


thank you Daniel, I thought he would realize what you explain better than I. I'll see if I can be more direct ....

I did not quote any costs for performing a property survey ....... the survey was paid for when we set the property corners. the stakeout fee was for coming back and setting four wooden stakes in the ground as offsets to the building. Check with local surveyors to get an estimate for having your place surveyed.

I do no think any county inspector will check your work unless they are a registered land surveyor and willing to assume the liability for your work .... as I said mistakes costs money!

As I stated in my previous post, surveying is best left to professional surveyors ...... check with your local building department, they may require a certified plan to get your building permit (notice I said certified meaning by a registered land surveyor) or an as-built foundation plan indicating compliance with any setback requirements. you could not perform your own survey here. Mistakes can be very costly (see example above).

if you want to do it yourself still I'd suggest getting a book on how the egyptian's built the pyramids, they surveyed with simple equipment ..... and remember, mistakes costs money .....

Good luck!
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:52 PM   #20
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DIY Building Foundation Surveying - Can I do it myself?


Hi Dan: All points very well taken. I will do what I can to verify my property lot points are accurate and true, and to consult the local govt before taking any action. If I can't figure it out, or if I'm not sure, I will engage a pro.

I plan to do a blog on the entire project, start to finish, and will let everyone here know what the blog address is, once I establish it.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:55 PM   #21
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would make an interesting read, thanks
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:13 PM   #22
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DIY Building Foundation Surveying - Can I do it myself?


I am sorry I am late to reply. I am just now seeing this.

This is a task best left to a professional. The potential liability involved far outweighs the costs involved for hiring a professional.

This can be a tedious process, and if there is ANY chance that you will be anywhere near a property line, it can be complicated. If your local building department requires a foundation survey, it must be performed by a licensed surveyor. It will require a survey plat (drawing) showing the relation of the foundation to the property lines, and will bear his/her seal and signature.

I do not know what the going rates are in your area, and I won't even give a ballpark not knowing the market in your area.

Being a professional land surveyor in three states, and over 17 years experience, I have seen some horror stories.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:52 PM   #23
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DIY Building Foundation Surveying - Can I do it myself?


even IF you could / do figger it out, means nothing w/o a STAMP from a licensed surveyor
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:48 AM   #24
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DIY Building Foundation Surveying - Can I do it myself?


It's finally starting to sink in; have a pro do the surveying. Thanks guys - I appreciate the concern.

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