2016 ALTA/NSPS Survey Requirements & Standards

January 04, 2016

The new Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Surveys have been adopted and took effect on February 23, 2016. One of the most significant changes is found within the revised definition of Optional Table A Item 11.

Differences Between the Current and Previous ALTA Survey Standards

In the prior definition, clients and surveyors could negotiate either Item 11(a) or 11(b) if there was a need for utility information to be shown. Item 11(a) required the surveyor to report and show any visual appurtenance observed while conducting the field work that indicated evidence of a utility service such as the following:

  • Manholes
  • Valves
  • Meters
  • Transformers
  • Utility lines

Item 11(b) required the reporting of observed evidence along with additional efforts by the surveyor to report underground utility features citing plans provided by the client from utility companies and/or ground markings provided by utility locator services.

The revised 2016 Table A includes only Item 11, essentially defined as the former 2011 Standards Item 11(b). Now, what was formerly Item 11(a) has been incorporated into the Minimum Standard Detail requirements within Section 5.E.iv and will be a mandatory responsibility on the part of the surveyor on all ALTA Surveys and will no longer be negotiated as optional.

Using the previous standards, most Lenders included former 11(a) as a part of their survey requirements. Former Item 11(b), now Item 11, typically added not only additional expense to the survey, but also delayed delivery as surveyors needed time to collect plans and schedule locator services. In most cases Item 11(a) provided the required information needed regarding utilities including whether or not the subject property has the needed utility service for operation, and that those services enter the property either from an adjoining public right-of-way or from an access easement that gets the utility service to the subject property line.

Going forward with the 2016 requirements, it is important to understand that it may be necessary to communicate to transaction parties that there is no need to negotiate Item 11 as in the past. If what they are truly requesting is former Item 11(a), per Section 5.E.iv, it will be addressed on the survey.

Do you have questions regarding the 2016 ALTA/NSPS Survey Requirements & Standards? Contact us for more information.