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Surveying the lands of California since 1982

Property Line Surveys

Why experience and professional judgment are important

   1. The benefits of retaining an experienced surveyor 
   2. When to select your land surveyor
   3. Why deliberative investigation is critical in land surveying
   4. Why professional judgment is essential

Finding the right land surveyor

   5. Is the surveyor a good fit for your project? 
   6. Is the land surveyor fully invested in your success?
   7. Understanding your needs - is the land surveyor responsiveness?
   8. Your land surveyor as a team player

A word about liability insurance

  9. Does your surveyor have professional liability insurance?

Gauging a Surveyor's Skills and Expertise

+  The benefits of hiring a skilled, experienced land surveyor
+  How to find a land surveyor worthy of your project
+  Why professional judgment is so important in land surveying

Finding the right land surveyor

5. Is the surveyor a good fit for your project?

Land surveyors have varied levels of expertise and experience. One may be an expert in determining property lines, preparing topographic surveys and issuing ALTA Surveys, another may be a specialist in construction staking, and a third may focus in providing aerial mapping. It's important to meet with the surveyor to determine whether a good fit exists between your needs and the land surveyor's expertise. Some important questions to ask:

  • Does the surveyor have special expertise conducting the type of surveying you require?
  • What is the level of his experience and track record in providing those services?
  • Never hesitate to request a written statement of qualifications
  • Ask for client references specific to the type of surveying your project requires

6. Is the land surveyor fully invested in your success?

Every parcel of land has a unique history, and every project is one of a kind. Make sure to invest wisely in your project by spending the necessary time and energy to fully discuss your needs with the land surveyor. Does the surveyor:

  • Have a willingness to understand your needs?
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the overall project?
  • Provide concrete suggestions on how to take a practical approach?
  • Offer a customized service tailored specific to your project?

7. Understanding your needs - is the land surveyor responsive?

Prompt response to your requests and inquiries is an important consideration for selecting any consultant working for you. How does the land surveyor respond to your needs in the formative stages of the relationship? Will that level of attentiveness remain strong, months into the project?

8. Your land surveyor as a team player

Every development project requires a team effort, and it's imperative that the team members mesh well - to collaborate, communicate, and share information. Your attorney, architect, engineer, and title officer each play an important role. They may have specific requirements or questions about existing site conditions, and their input on the specifications for the land surveying can add tremendous value.

Make sure that there is a positive cooperative attitude - a willingness and ability on the part of the surveyor to be a team player. This is an attribute too often overlooked when selecting a land surveying consultant. Has the land surveyor demonstrated a willingness to reach out and join forces with the other professionals on your team?

Why experience and professional judgment are important

1. The benefits of retaining an experienced surveyor

​A land surveyor's expertise can have a significant impact upon your ability to derive full utilization and benefit from your land. Retaining the services of a competent, experienced land surveyor will help you better understand the "lay of the land". You'll be able to realize the limits and opportunities of the property, manage your project, make informed business decisions, and rest easy knowing the land has been surveyed and mapped with care.

2. When to select your land surveyor

It's best to get a competent land surveyor on board at the earliest stages of planning your project. The surveyor can help identify existing site conditions that may have a significant impact on your due diligence and project design. Select a reputable land surveyor whose skill and judgment you can put your trust in. Your selection should be made only after:

  • You have thoroughly evaluated the land surveyor's credentials and track record 
  • You've had a detailed conversation with the surveyor about your project
  • The land surveyor is completely aware of your needs
  • You are sure that the professional has all of the facts and information about the project 
  • The surveyor understands the requirements of governmental agencies having jurisdiction over the property
A word about professional liability insurance

9. Does the surveyor have professional liability insurance?

Responsible design consultants have adequate insurance coverage in place to protect their practice and their clients. Having professional liability, general liability, vehicle and worker's compensation coverage is simply the cost of doing business in the modern world. 

Unfortunately, some land surveying consultants have imprudently elected to "go bare" in recent years, dropping their professional liability "errors and omissions" policies. To our mind, that's simply not a viable option in today's world. As a client, you deserve the peace of mind that comes with linking arms with a reputable insurance company. Make certain that the land surveyor has an E&O policy with sufficient limits is in place, and insist that the surveyor's carrier send you a certificate demonstrating evidence of coverage.

Bell Land Surveying is fully insured against professional liability with the Victor O. Schinnerer Company, a highly regarded coverage provider to architects, engineers and land surveyors. We've never filed a liability claim in three decades of surveying land in California. We're proud of that unique record; you can be confident that we are meticulous in our work.

Terrain mapping survey in Riverside County, California

Our Story
Our Clients
Selecting a Surveyor
Land Survey Info
When You Retain Us
Property Line Surveys

​About the Author:

Douglas Bell, PLS, is a Professional Land Surveyor licensed in four western states, and is a CFedS, a BLM Certified Federal Land Surveyor. He provides a range of property line, ALTA, boundary survey, topographic mapping, easement determination, encroachment investigation, and utility location services.

Mr. Bell provides land surveying services to engineers, architects, attorneys, and other land professionals in the private and public sectors in Southern California, primarily in Los Angeles County, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County. He can be reached via email:

25 year member of the California Land Surveyors Association
Doug Bell is a CFedS - a Certified Federal Surveyor
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Diamond Bar, California, 91765
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When getting a land surveyor involved early made a difference:

We were retained to conduct a boundary and topographic survey in Pasadena, California for the design of a new employee credit union. The credit union was seeking approval by the City of Pasadena to build an underground parking structure that would extend to the rear corners of the parcel.

In helping the credit union conduct due diligence for the project, we discovered underground high-voltage power lines encroaching into a considerable portion of the site. The cost to relocate the electrical conduits was determined to be prohibitive, "a deal breaker", so the project architect had to go back to the drawing board and significantly revise the building layout. Fortunately for our client, they retained us at an early stage before expending significant funds on the project.

Our services - a boundary retracement survey, topographic mapping, researching utility records, subsurface investigation in the field, and analysis of easement deeds - were key to identifying the encroachment. The credit union was very pleased that they had hired us early in the development process. They were able to modify the architectural site plan and proceed smoothly with the project.

3. Why diligent investigation is critical in land surveying

Surveying land is a highly nuanced discipline. A dedicated land surveyor reestablishes property lines by carefully examining his client's deeds and those of adjoining properties, scrutinizing historical maps, searching diligently in the field for original property monuments, and measuring the position of found landmarks with great care. That requires a high attention to detail, pains-taking investigation, and years of experience.

4. Why professional judgment is essential

It's critical for the success of the boundary survey that the land surveyor discover all available evidence, and that he evaluate his findings with the highest level of sound reasoning and professional judgment. The surveyor should not issue a professional opinion regarding the location of a property boundary until carefully considering and weighing all the facts. Your valuable land deserves nothing less.

What Clients Say     

"Very good work, Doug.
It's so positive to earn these good comments from our client representative. We appreciate your work and professional attitude."

Armando L. Gonzalez, FAIA
Gonzalez Goodale Architects
​Pasadena, California