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If you are planning on engaging an architect for a new build or new development, it would be advisable to get a topographical survey done.

Most people only need to think about hiring a land surveyor a few times in their lives, so for many people they can be rather an unknown quantity as they have little experience about the criteria needed in deciding who to hire. Treat hiring a land surveyor with the same care and attention as any other expensive professional service. Contact possible surveyors to talk about your requirements and choose one who you think best meets your needs. Ideally, your surveyor will communicate efficiently and promptly, have a professional demeanour and years of expertise in your required field. Surveyors have varying areas of expertise; such as topography, construction layout, mapping, boundaries, and geodetic. There are also engineering surveyors. Think about the kind of survey that you need. A good surveyor will be prepared to explain to you how they intend to conduct the survey.

Scope Sheets
Preparing a scope sheet of your requirements is an excellent idea. This should include what needs to be picked, your timescale requirements (usually survey drawings are returned within 7-10days) and what you want at the end.

The cheapest quote will not necessarily the best. You may think that one land survey will be much the same as another as long as they are carried out by a licensed surveyor, but this is sometimes untrue. Land surveys are not wholly scientific and an experienced surveyor will have the knowledge needed to cope with any problems that specifically apply to your land.

Licensing and Insurance
Above all, make sure that the surveyor is properly licensed and has continued to meet all requirements, such as further training. If not, your survey will not be legal. Professional liability insurance is also a must as it can cover your costs in the event of a mistake in the survey.

Areas of Expertise
Any surveyor can handle simple boundary surveys, but if you require a more complex survey, it is worth finding a surveyor who has the relevant expertise and many surveyors have such areas of expertise although they many not be specifically licensed. Communicate with your potential surveyor as much as possible about your land and your requirements. Your surveyor might well want to see the land before committing further. Check whether your surveyor is up-to-date with all the latest surveying technology, namely CAD and GPS.

Contracts and Payment
Asking for a written contract before work commences is vital. This is standard practice within the realm of land surveying, and it should make all the fees transparent. Some fees will be charges by the hour, while other fees will be set on a whole project basis. Clarifying when the monies should be paid is also a good idea; for example, it is usual for half to be paid before the survey begins, and the remainder when the work is finished. Before you sign the contract, ensure that you fully understand the scope of the work, the amount to be charged, and when the fees need to be paid.

Finally, once the land survey has been completed, the surveyor should be happy to accompany you on a tour of your land to show you the permanent boundary markers that were used, and anything else that needs to be noted. Hopefully, you will have selected a professional and highly-skilled surveyor who will be prepared to answer any final questions that you might have.