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About surveying

Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, and science of accurately determining the dimensional relationships, as of horizontal distances, elevations, directions, and angles, on the earth’s surface especially for use in locating property boundaries, construction layout, and mapmaking.

Surveying in B.C.

The Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA) in BC is the body responsible for administering the land title and survey systems. These systems provide the foundation for all real property business and ownership in the province. The LTSA require all surveys be performed by BC licensed surveyors.

The Association of British Columbia Land Surveyors is  the BC self-governing body charged with the responsibility of setting educational requirements, examining for admission, licensing and regulating professional land surveyors to perform legal surveys.

When you might need a survey

Selling a property: A legal survey adds value to the property as it verifies for the buyer the size and extent of the property.

Buying or refinancing a property: A survey offers a property buyer peace of mind as it verifies the assumed property lines. If applying for a mortgage or refinancing your financial institution may also require a survey plan and title report.

Building new or modifying existing structures: It is critical that you are certain you are building within your property boundaries and zoning restrictions as any encroachment error can be very costly for the property owner. A survey can determine and delineate set-back requirements and other restrictions or zoning laws before construction begins.

Subdividing : You need to consult your municipality or regional district (SCRD)with respect to all subdivision and consolidation questions and applications. Review the SCRD subdivision information package for more information on Sunshine Coast subdivisions. With a subdivision BC Land Surveyor is required to prepare a final subdivision plan for registration at the Land Titles Office.

Application for variance: In the SCRD the Board of Variance  is empowered to hear and adjudicate minor issues relating to variances to the land use/zoning bylaws. Your application for variance may require a survey to show such things as structures, setbacks and lot area.

Survey vs Title Insurance

To the lay person a survey may appear to merely show the location of the building on the property however a licensed surveyor works in conjunction with the land titles office and municipalities. A properly prepared survey will include a land title search which will identify covenants, easements and right of ways which may affect the purchaser’s entitlement to the land and its uses.

Title insurance is a product developed in the United States to protect mortgagees from hidden interests in property and is not necesarily of great value here given that the land title system in BC guarantees title against fraud through a legislated publicly funded insurance program known as the Assurance Fund. For more information see the BC Land Surveyors Guide,  “Surveys & Building Location Certificates and Title Insurance in British Columbia“.

“Title Plus, one of Canada’s leading title insurance companies, recently announced that its policies eliminate the need for up-to-date surveys on most properties; a saving of $600.00 or more. Despite this assurance, a proper survey is a key safeguard of title. Title insurance policies may contain exceptions which will not be covered, such as risks that could have been discovered by a professionally reviewed title search, and a proper survey.”

Retrieved from the website of  Heydary Hamilton PC Law office Toronto

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