Frequently Asked Questions

In general, a survey should be made before purchasing real property, when dividing any parcel of land, and prior to the construction of any improvements on property in which you have an interest. You may click on the following questions that customers most commonly ask us about land surveying.

What is Cadastral Surveying?

The practice of cadastral surveying, as defined in Section 1 of the Surveyors Act means ” … advising on, reporting on, conducting or supervising the conducting of surveys to establish, locate, define or describe lines, boundaries or corners of parcels of land or land covered with water;” The licensed Ontario Land Surveyor provides a professional opinion on the location of boundaries, using historical research, a knowledge of statute and common law, and the latest technology in measurement and data processing. Only licensed members of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors can carry out cadastral (legal boundary) surveys in the Province of Ontario.

Why do I need a survey? What good is it? What is it for?

The fundamental purpose of all surveys is to provide property owners with an accurate determination of the size and shape (dimensions) of their property, setting property markers on the corners and reporting on the position of improvements (buildings, etc.) made to the property, particularly with respect to improvements such as fences near the property boundaries. Under the laws of Ontario, only a licensed Ontario Land Surveyor may provide you with this information. A survey is often required by property owners who wish to make changes to their property such as adding a building, a fence, etc. A survey may also be performed when the owner simply wishes to have knowledge of the conditions of their property.

Common circumstances where a survey may be required:

  • Buying or selling a property, or part of a property.
  • Mortgaging a property.
  • Property redevelopment such as a subdivision, condominium, etc.
  • Construction of new buildings, fences, hedges, etc.
  • Boundary disputes.

I want to build a fence? How can I find the bars on my property?

Property boundaries may only be established by a licensed Ontario Land Surveyor. Survey monuments are not always set directly on property corners and may be displaced by construction activities, or even by unscrupulous neighbours. If you rely on your own location or that of an unlicensed surveyor, you are assuming all of the risk. An accurate location of your boundaries may avoid a potentially costly dispute resulting from the improper location of a fence or other structure. Only licensed Ontario Land Surveyors are required to carry professional liability insurance to protect the public if an error should occur. Having an Ontario Land Surveyor locate your boundaries is a worthwhile expense when compared to the cost of moving a fence or having a neighbour take you to court.

How much will my survey cost?

The cost of a survey varies greatly from property to property. The type of survey, size and complexity of the property, location, terrain, etc. are all factors that will be looked at. By filling out our free estimate form or contacting us, we can help you determine the appropriate survey for your needs and provide you with an estimate of its cost.

Do I need a survey if I have a Title Insurance?

Purchasers of real property must consider the benefits and need of acquiring an up-to-date Surveyor’s Real Property Report (SRPR) and title insurance as part of any real estate transaction.

A Surveyor’s Real Property Report is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of all visible public and private improvements relative to the property’s boundaries, as well as the geographic relationship of the property to the adjacent properties, the property dimensions and the location, if any, of registered easements, rights-of-way, encroachments, or other encumbrances affecting the property.

Title insurance is an insurance product which may provide financial compensation should any pre-existing but unknown insurable defect come to light subsequent to the purchase of a policy and cause financial loss to the policy holder. The defect may involve the buildings, the structures, the quality or extent of title; however, the insurance cannot create or move boundaries, nor remove legal encumbrances such as easements. In addition, it may not compensate for future actions of the property owner such as having to remove a fence wrongly placed by the owner subsequent to the purchase and due to the lack of proper boundary information. Title insurance may mask or hide potential title and boundary problems, rather than identifying and addressing them before a property is purchased. The purchasers of title insurance think that they save the cost difference between an insurance policy and a surveyor’s opinion. However, in reality they are missing the clear picture of the property being purchased.

Therefore, both an up-to-date SRPR and title insurance may well have their own place in real estate transactions, especially those involving complicated land assemblies, properties on which buildings, decks, pools, etc. are close to the apparent property lines. An up-to-date SRPR should always be considered.

Who needs a Surveyor’s Real Property Report (SRPR)?

Property Owners (purchasers), to ensure that:

  • The extent of the property being purchased is the same as described in the Offer to Purchase.
  • The boundary location is known and the deed describes the property accurately.
  • Pertinent fences, trees, buildings, driveways, additions and improvements, etc. are sited in accordance with municipal by-laws and within the boundaries of the property.
  • Others are not entitled to partial use of property through easements or rights-of-way.
  • The mortgage will proceed without delays.
  • Future projects will not be impeded by the inability to locate the property limits or acquire a building permit.

Property Sellers (vendors), to provide:

  • Confidence in the purchase for the buyer by verifying the size and extent of the property.
  • Protection from potential lawsuits resulting from problems related to property boundaries and improvements.

Realtors, to provide:

  • A visual representation of the property for sale.
  • Information to avoid delays in completing property transactions.
  • Protection from potential lawsuits resulting from misrepresentation in the Offer to Purchase related to property boundaries and improvements.

What Is involved in a Surveyor’s Real Property Report ?

For your protection, a trained and licensed Ontario Land Surveyor is the only individual who can legally prepare a Surveyor’s Real Property Report. A valid Surveyor’s Real Property Report must bear the original signature and embossed seal of the Ontario Land Surveyor preparing the report. In all cases the Ontario Land Surveyor will undertake the following tasks in the preparation of the Surveyor’s Real Property Report:

  • A search of title of the subject and abutting properties.
  • A search of all pertinent encumbrances registered against the title of the subject property.
  • A search of other surveyor’s offices to obtain all plans relating to location of boundaries of the subject property.
  • A field survey to determine the actual dimensions of the property, the location of improvements, and the setting of corner markers.
  • An analysis of research and field data.
  • The preparation of the plan illustrating the results of the field survey and the title research.
  • The preparation of a written report providing the surveyor’s opinion about any contentious issues that may have been found during the survey.