Standards of Practice HOME
York Hill Surveying generally seeks to perform survey work in accordance with the standards of practice prevailing in the central Maine area and those imposed by the Maine Board of Licensure for Professional Land Surveyors. Additionally, some of our own specific standards are outlined below.
Precision of measurements
Our equipment is capable of extremely precise measurements even over very long distances. For boundary surveys, we strive to report final measurements which, on small parcels, are accurate to within a tenth of a foot or so; on large, rural parcels, expected tolerances may be somewhat larger.
Use of survey-grade GPS data on large, rural parcels may provide great savings in cost and time though tolerances may be lower than those outlined above. We typically expect tolerances to be sub-meter (+/- about 3 feet) in such cases though they are often much less. We advise the client that we expect to use such techniques before the project is booked.
Mortgage Loan Inspection measurements, unlike those for boundary surveys, are understood throughout the title and surveying industries to be “rough.” Variations of +/- 2% are not uncommon.
Preliminary products such as boundary research reports may include measurements which are likewise quite “rough.”
Road or right-of-way limits
In many cases the precise limits of roads and/or rights-of-way are of little concern to the client. Nevertheless we normally try to precisely locate these lines. However, in order to do so, we must have good records (from when the road or right-of-way was originally laid out) and good physical evidence (monumentation, etc). In some cases, especially where old town roads or informally established private roads are involved, records and/or monumentation may be unavailable or insufficient.
In general our policy is to 1). obtain the required records when they are conveniently indexed at an appropriate location (such as a town office, the Registry of Deeds, or the Department of Transportation) and 2). precisely locate road or right-of-way limits when, in addition to such records, sufficient physical evidence exists. When a long portion of the road would have to be resurveyed in order to precisely locate such lines we may approximate or assume a location. Likewise we may have to assume a location when we do not find sufficient records as to precise location
We generally monument (or “pin” ) unmonumented or insufficiently monumented corners using a 5/8” or 16mm rebar (steel reinforcing bar) on which we normally place a cap with the land surveyor’s last name and license number. In some cases (ledge, standing water, etc.) this may not be feasible and we may instead set a reference monument nearby and note a measurement from that monument to the corner; or we may set a drill hole (i.e. in ledge or other rocky surface).
In some situations we may not monument “minor” corners, these being corners where a line takes an angle of about 15° or less.
We will not normally monument corners where we judge that to do so would be confrontational. Most obviously this would occur in the case of an ongoing or potential boundary dispute. However, such corners will normally be shown on the plan we provide.
Marking of lines
We normally rough-flag long boundaries not otherwise apparent in the field (i.e. from fence lines, stone wall, etc) where feasible. This would exclude lines across open fields and lines through very wet areas, extremely dense growth, any type of dangerous terrain, etc. “Rough flag” means that the flagging (plastic surveyor’s tape) may deviate slightly (a foot or two) from the “true” line but should be adequate for most anticipated purposes. We do not normally blaze and paint such lines but can do so when the client requests. And, as with monumentation, we do not mark lines where to do so would, in our judgment, be confrontational.
We routinely provide legal descriptions (for use by an attorney in preparing deeds etc) so long as we can base them on a boundary survey by a licensed land surveyor; we do not normally provide them otherwise.
Land surveying is a professional service, and ideally your survey data should be as confidential as your legal or medical records. In practice, however, surveying is different: it has an essentially public component because 1). the records pertinent to your property can be examined at the Registry of Deeds; and 2). our field work often occurs in open view over a period of several hours or days, and requires equipment that makes it obvious that we are surveying. We have therefore developed the following policy:
When approached by third parties we will identify ourselves, our client(s), and the type of survey we are performing. We may also seek out parcel abutters and/or neighbors and identify ourselves so that our presence near their homes does not alarm them. We will share any readily available, public information we may have (names of abutters, for example). But we will maintain confidentiality about any other data we may have which is only available in our files (such as concerns the client may have raised, future intentions for the parcel, legal issues, etc).
We will assume that those who claim to represent our client(s) (lawyers, real estate agents, etc) are in fact contracted to do so unless asked not to by our client(s).
After the survey is complete we will share survey data with other land surveyors who request it unless asked not to by our client, or unless we are aware of some reason we should not do so. We do not bill clients (or the surveyors) for this service.
We will otherwise respect “client privilege” for all clients in good standing and will treat final products (plans, legal descriptions, etc) as confidential unless 1). the document (plan, etc.) has been recorded at the Registry of Deeds (at which point it becomes public information); 2). we are required to furnish the data by a court of law; 3). common sense dictates a relaxation of the policy (i.e. the client has sold the property and moved away).