Land Surveying is the tie between civil engineering design and construction work. It is a very important task for the project as it directly helps contractors understand the physical location of designed structures geometrically so they can build the proposed infrastructure within the legal boundaries and design setbacks approved by the local agencies. Existing conditions are used as basis of every civil design. After Engineering Plans are approved by the local agency, construction staking determines the location of designed features in the field for the contractor to follow. Land Surveying also deals with the legal aspects of the land based on rules and codes set by the board of professional engineers & land surveyors, the subdivision map act, and other regulatory agencies for the intention of legally subdividing or modifying land within the state of California.

SURVEY RESEARCH Survey Research is performed in public agencies such as the county or the city, and sometimes within state agencies such as CAL-TRANS to gather record information from previous record surveys filed with the agency surveyor surrounding the project. Research is used to search, find, and measure survey monuments for horizontal and vertical control during field measurement operations. We research centerline ties, tract maps, corner records, record of surveys, parcel maps, assessor’s parcel maps, benchmarks, lot line adjustments, official survey maps, etc.

Topographic surveys are accurate geometric drawings which show the site’s existing conditions in terms of elevation and location. Survey field notes are aligned on a basis of bearings to establish the record boundaries of the property, and a benchmark for elevations above sea level. Elevation and location (data collection) of all relevant structures, site features, and property lines are taken in the field by using top of the line survey equipment (Trimble S7 & Trimble R10) & our very well-trained technicians. Information brought back from the field is downloaded in the office to prepare drawings representing the existing conditions of the site called topographic surveys. Since the project requires the access of our professional staff for hours, our staff counts with workers compensation insurance if something were to happen to them during the performance of field surveying activities on the client’s property.
Topographic surveys are always considered the very first step in the design of any construction set of plans.

Tentative maps are the first step for subdividing a property into two or more parcels. Tentative Parcel Maps or Tentative Tract Maps are required by the local agencies when a subdivision of a lot or parcel is desired by the owner. This map shows the topography of the site along with the intentions of the owner and proposed engineering site-design of the property. Tentative maps go through the process of public hearing, and review of several agencies prior to approval. Conditions of approval are released with one of the conditions being a final map. Tentative maps show preliminary grading, water, sewer, storm water treatment, etc. We offer particularly clear and readable drawings for the public audience and agency’s review.

Parcel maps are required after approval of tentative maps, and these maps can only have a maximum of 4 parcels to be considered Parcel Maps. In many cities said maps are reviewed by City and County officials to assure the integrity, consistency and technical accuracy of the map. Subdivision maps are legal drawings which after approval become immortalized through recordation.

Tract maps are properties being subdivided into 5 or more lots, the exception being Tract maps for condominium purposes designed to accommodate many houses (condos) recorded as a tract map with one lot with the additional requirement of condominium plans. Property lines are addressed within the mapping and boundary establishment during agency surveyor plan checks of the final map. Right of Way dedications, existing easements, new easements, traverse calculations, new survey monuments, etc. are also part of the development of parcel and tract maps.

Boundary surveys are typically required by city inspectors once construction is ready to begin or it has already begun, and it is used to determine in the field where the property corners are located within the site. Property corners are usually marked with stakes, pipes, re-bars, or washers. In a boundary survey, a boundary analysis is made in order to establish the property corners put together with field measurements, and research obtained in the city and the county, then a second field visit will be done to set the property monuments at the respective property corners. This process is required when setting actual permanent survey property corners by filing - a Corner Record or a Record of Survey with the county surveyor in which the survey is performed.

Lot line adjustments are allowed in most cities where the land taken from one lawfully subdivided parcel is added to an adjacent lawfully subdivided parcel, and where a greater number of parcels than originally existed is not thereby created. Lot line adjustments may be used to adjust the property lines between four (4) or fewer existing adjoining parcels or to merge four (4) or fewer existing adjoining parcels under common ownership. It is recommended that an existing conditions survey (topographic survey) is prepared for the purpose of showing all infrastructure and any record easements within a title report since the parcels resulting from the lot line adjustment shall conform to City planning & zoning, building codes, existing public utilities, infrastructure. And all should be in conformance and none adversely affected.
Agencies start the plan-check process within their planning department to assure the proposed LLA is within planning and zoning compliance.

The survey for this kind of map consists of drawings, that specify the property lines, easements, right of ways, and several other minimum requirements depicted on ALTA/NSPS standards of practice. All features inside the property, are shown and in detail – features within 5 feet of property lines are dimensioned. The regulatory agency for this type of survey is the American Land Title Association, which sets said minimum requirements every 3 years. Our services focus on timing when we deal with this kind of task since it is of vast importance to our clients to have something delivered to the bank as soon as possible to continue with the loan process.

We are proud of our ability to respond to any staking need in a time frame rarely seen in the industry. Construction staking is one of the most important tasks in land surveying, since putting the stakes on the ground mark the area, and lines where buildings, sewer lines, storm drain lines, water lines, curbs, trash enclosures, and other structures are to be constructed. The use of high-tech instruments, robotic total stations, science graduated professionals, civil engineering software, and techniques used for this service makes construction staking a 2-phase process. The first visit to the site identifies vertical and horizontal controls to be used for establishing property lines and elevations that go through office analysis. After the office analysis is done, and staking calculated, a field crew is sent to execute the results and stakeout the required features as designed in any approved set of plans. Our procedures include coordination of what needs to be staked out, the creation of an exhibit depicting staking vs. design, and cut sheets for stakes with design elevation.

Legal descriptions, “Exhibit A” documents, describe the limits of real property using bearings and distances (metes & bounds) for the use of property boundaries, easement dedications, lot line adjustments, street reversions, etc. within a property. All legal descriptions are accompanied by a Plat, “Exhibit B” which graphically shows the intentions of the legal document. Furthermore, the review of descriptions by public agencies are accompanied by traverse closure calculations, researched survey documents, and sometimes field survey exhibits.