Bock & Clark 2020 May eNewsletter

ALTA Standards History and Revision Update

Surveyor Conducting an ALTA SurveyThe title insurance industry represented by ALTA (The American Land Title Association), requires a very comprehensive survey on which a title insurer can rely to delete the standard survey exceptions from the issuance of a title insurance policy. The verbiage of these exceptions can vary from state to state, but they typically relate to: the rights of parties in possession, evidence of unrecorded easements, shortages of land, or any matter shown on an accurate survey performed on the property. To guarantee that a survey provides the pertinent information, ALTA began working with the land survey industry in 1962 who at the time was represented by ACSM (The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping). It was necessary for the two organizations to identify a listing of all survey responsibilities ensuring that the survey prepared could be used by the title insurer to make the underwriting decision to delete the survey exceptions. In 1962, the first version of the “Minimum Standard Detail Requirements” was adopted and put into effect to standardize the survey product.

Over the years, there have been approximately ten revisions to the Minimum Standards. In some versions the changes were called for to clarify surveyor responsibilities and in some instances advancement in survey technologies which affected precision and procedure necessitated an update. The redefinitions have been important for both the surveyor and the end-user as surveyors were often asked to report upon or offer opinions on matters outside of the realm of their expertise. Additionally, the needs of the title insurer have changed over time and these changes have been included in succeeding versions.

Along with use to the title industry, the survey also provides benefits to other transaction parties who have questions and concerns about what is transpiring on a surveyed property. An ALTA Survey reports beneficial matters and red flag issues for those purchasing or financing the property. All users of the survey should be well-versed on what a surveyor can and cannot report as defined within the Minimum Standards along with an added understanding of the additional Optional Table A Items that may be required. A good working knowledge of the requirements on the part of the user can expedite any review and revision requests in the eleventh hour of a transaction.

Members of the survey and title industry are currently reviewing the 2016 Minimum Standards as adopted by ALTA and NSPS (The National Society of Professional Surveyors), the organization that replaced ACSM, and working towards a new version expected to take effect in February of 2021. The current requirements can be found on the NV5/Bock & Clark website We have reviewed several proposed drafts of the new standards and although there currently are no pending, drastic changes, we are not yet in a position to comment on revisions or to share these drafts until the final version is adopted most likely in October of this year.

As an industry leader, NV5/Bock & Clark will stay on top of any information regarding changes to the Minimum Standard Detail requirements. When available, we will be offering seminars, classes, webinars, materials, etc. to help guide ALTA Survey users through these revisions. A good understanding of the changes is vital to anyone who reviews and relies on ALTA/NSPS survey products to avoid delays and miscommunications.

Please feel free to reach out to either your NV5/Bock & Clark Project Manager or Client Service Representative with any questions. We will begin scheduling training sessions for our clients that in some states will qualify for CLE credits, beginning sometime in late fall of 2020.

Zoning During a Pandemic

Office BuildingAs we conduct business through the time of COVID-19, a frequently asked question is, “will I be able to get a zoning report right now?” The answer is YES! Although a small number of municipalities are closed, most planning and development departments across the country are still doing business with many working behind closed doors and/or remotely. This includes both smaller municipalities as well as larger cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, Milwaukee, Portland, Kansas City, Miami, Chicago, and Denver.

While processing can sometimes be delayed due to city or county backlog or request prioritization, we are still obtaining documents and information from most areas. Within a few weeks of project engagement, NV5 Zoning is providing draft reports containing all information available, with finalized reports submitted upon receipt of any pending documents or information.

Our report options include ZIP Reports used for surveys, Standard Comparison Zoning Reports for lender comfort and zoning endorsements, a short-form Executive Summary containing all information available without hard copy documents plus a comparison of requirements to survey conditions, and custom reports designed to meet specific client or project needs. Rest assured that our staff is fully functional, keeping regular business hours and routinely notifying our clients of both project status and municipal delays, if applicable.

Don’t delay. Despite complications in the current world environment we can provide the zoning product needed for your transaction at a reasonable price within the quickest possible timeframe. Please contact us for sample reports or for more information. We will be happy to put together a personalized quote within one business day or less. Stay well!


  • NV5/Bock & Clarks remains open for business. We have made provisions to comply with CDC directives and state mandates for social distancing while still enabling our dedicated team members to stay involved in day-to-day operations. Contact us for all your due diligence needs, NATIONWIDE.
  • NV5 supports many different business lines including its Project Management division. Contact any of your NV5/Bock & Clark representatives to learn more about these services which include, but are not limited to: Owner Representation, Scheduling and Cost Estimating. To learn more visit: