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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a survey?

The New Hampshire Board of Licensure for Land Surveyors defines Land Surveying as:

“any service or work, the adequate performance of which involves the application of special knowledge of the principles of mathematics, the related physical and applied sciences and the relevant requirements of law for adequate evidence to the act of measuring and locating lines, angles, elevations, natural and man-made features in the air, on the surface of the earth, within underground workings, and on the beds of bodies of water for the purpose of determining areas and volumes, for the monumenting of property boundaries and for the platting and layout of lands and subdivisions of land, including the topography alignment and grades of streets and for the preparation and perpetuation of maps, record plats, field note records and property descriptions that represent these surveys.” NH RSA 310-A

What does a surveyor do?

A professional land surveyor applies the following techniques: measuring land, using principles of mathematics, related physical and applied sciences, and the relevant requirements of law. This specialist ensures adequate evidence and all requisite data pertaining to the surveying of real property engaging in the practice of land surveying as defined above.

When should I engage the services of a surveyor?

You should engage a surveyor for any transaction concerning land, whether you are building on, developing or subdividing land, undertaking environmental studies, planning, when a boundary line is disputed, when a contour or topographical survey is needed, registering leases of land, easements and rights of ways, preparing maps and for expert testimony concerning land measurement.

What will I gain by having a survey on my land?

Surveys can uncover inconsistencies and encroachments if they exist, and eliminate future questions as to the location of boundaries and benefit the owner, mortgage lender and title insurance company. After all, having a survey done can save you the costly mistake of building on your neighbor’s land.

What information and documents will the surveyor give me?

The final product you receive depends on the type of survey and the state in which it was furnished, but generally, you will be given a certified plat or map showing what the surveyor has done, and the corners of your tract will be identified. For a Boundary Survey, a legal description of the tract may be prepared and shown on the plat.

What information should I give the surveyor?

You should inform the surveyor of the purpose of the survey, the names of adjoining land owners, any disagreements over boundaries, and you should give the surveyor a recent copy of your deed.

How much will the survey cost?

The survey cost will depend on the type of survey, terrain and accessibility, time of year, size and shape of the tract of land, field evidence and deeds.

Flood Insurance

If you are a homeowner and believe your property is not located in the designated 100-year floodplain [also known as a 1-percent-annual-chance floodplain, or Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)], as shown on the effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map for your community and you would like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make an official determination regarding the location of your property relative to the SFHA, you may request a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F).

The Elevation Certificate is an important administrative tool of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is to be used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance premium rate, and to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision based on fill (LOMR-F). The Elevation Certificate is required in order to properly rate post-FIRM buildings.

For a LOMA to be issued, to remove a structure from the SFHA, NFIP regulations require that the lowest adjacent grade (the lowest ground touching the structure) be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). To remove an entire lot from the SFHA, NFIP regulations require that the lowest point on the lot be at or above the BFE.


Types of Surveys and other Survey Terms

  • Land Record Research is conducted before a boundary survey is started, for the purpose of finding the metes & bounds description of the parcel of land being surveyed and of each of the abutting parcels of land. It may also disclose the existance of easements, rights-of-way, and conflicting elements of prior deed descriptions.
  • Boundary Survey is performed for the purpose of recovering and monumenting the boundary lines of an existing parcel or lot, according to an existing deed description. This type of survey, when accompanied by a map, often illustrates the location of encroachments onto, or over, the existing boundary lines.
  • Subdivision is a division of a parcel of land into two or more parcels or lots for the purpose of sale, lease, rent or condominium.
  • Construction Staking is performed for the purpose of marking, on the ground, the proposed location of site improvements, such as roads, buildings, bridges, catchbasins, waterlines, sewer lines, etc.
  • As-Built Survey is performed for the purpose of mapping the location of the physical improvements on a parcel of land.
  • Land Title Survey or “ALTA” survey is performed to the requirements as adopted jointly by the American Land Title Association and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, for the purpose of issuing Title Insurance and always results in the preparation of a map.
  • Topographic Survey is performed for the purpose of determining the elevation and slope of the land, including the location of natural features, such as ledges, brooks, swamps, and ponds, and usually results in the preparation of a map.
  • Lot Line Adjustment is a re-configuration of the common boundary line between parcels, or lots, when no additional lots are created.
  • Plat or Map is a drawing made to scale, that illustrates the relative location of boundaries, topography, physical improvements, natural and man-made features that exist or are proposed.

These terms are provided as a general guide to survey terms and should not be relied upon for contractual or legal matters.