ALTA Surveys: Contemplating Optional Table A Items
When considering an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey performed to the most current Minimum Standard Detail Requirements (2016), transaction parties must also weigh the need for any additional Optional Table A Items as part of the scope. Attached to the Minimum Standards is a listing of “Optional Survey Responsibilities and Specifications” referred to as Table A. Any of these twenty items can be negotiated between the surveyor and the client if their inclusion is necessary. Should a survey-related item be needed that is not included within the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements or in the twenty Table A responsibilities, it can be defined and negotiated between the client and the surveyor by using open-ended Optional Table A Item 21 (21a, 21b, etc.) and explained within a note on the survey.
Dependent on there being a named lender for the transaction, or not, often determines which Table A items to include on the survey. Most lenders have specific survey requirements or guidelines that cite the item numbers or descriptions of what is to be included on the survey (i.e., “the survey must include a Flood Zone Designation”) to satisfy their criteria. Additionally, a purchase or sales contract may cite specific survey instructions about who is responsible for ordering and paying for a survey and may include a listing of Table A items. Another consideration is to confirm that the survey includes any information needed by the title company to offer specific endorsements to their title policy. As an example, if the title company is providing a Zoning Endorsement, several Table A Items must be on the survey (Items 4, 6a, 6b, 7b1, 7c, 8, and 9).
When asking a surveyor to quote a project, it is important to be prepared with a listing of any optional item that will ultimately satisfy the needs of all involved parties. It is advised to provide the surveyor with the lender requirements with ample time to complete, rather than two days before closing, as the surveyor will likely have to revisit the site to perform additional work thus delaying the transaction. It is important to note that some Table A Items can add additional expense and/or extend the delivery time. If timing or cost is a concern, a discussion with whomever is requiring the item might be necessary to see if the Item can be waived.
The experienced NV5/Bock & Clark project teams are knowledgeable and can offer input to help with matters related to optional survey items. Additionally, the NV5/Bock & Clark Handbook for Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence contains a helpful “User Guide to Optional Table A Items”. Within the guide, you will find a detailed explanation of the surveyor’s responsibilities for each Item including the Items that cause cost or timing issues. Also discussed in the guide are the Items that correspond with specific endorsements that the title insurer may be asked to provide. Lastly, the guide includes the Table A Items specific to most lender survey requirements. Our Handbook including the User Guide can be found on our website at www.bockandclark.com. Please contact us if you are interested in receiving a hard copy of the Handbook or if we can be of assistance.
ASTM E1527 – Phase I Update
Consistent with ASTM by-laws, the Phase I Standard is now due for review and re-approval. Updates to the E1527 standard are expected to go to a first ballot this fall with a planned new standard publication in late 2020.
Following are some of the expected updates:
- Clarifications to the HREC and CREC definitions.The task group is working to refine the definitions for HRECs and CRECs and relationships between the various types of recognized environmental conditions.
- Expansion of Historical Research to adjoining properties.The current version of the standard requires historical research of the subject property only, but the task group plans to ballot changes that would also require the investigation of adjoining properties and the surrounding area.
- A footnote and edits to the Non-Scope Considerations appendix to acknowledge growing regulator attention to emerging contaminants, especially PFAS.
NV5/Bock & Clark will stay on top of pending developments and update our website’s “Resources” section as soon as more information is available. Contact us at 1-800-787-8397 ext. 854 with any questions or to request a proposal for a Phase I or other services.
NV5/BOCK & CLARK NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS:
- The team at NV5/Bock & Clark sends its best wishes for good health as we navigate these times.