ALTA Surveys - Legal Descriptions New & Recorded

September 23, 2016

The sophistication of modern survey equipment in the last twenty years, which includes global positioning systems, land surveyor software and robotics, has allowed for greater levels of precision in the field than was possible in the past. Unfortunately, these technological advancements can result in differences in a surveyor’s measurements, observations or calculations from that of the record description. It is often stated, and sometimes dictated by state statutes for the practice of land surveying, that when these differences occur, the surveyor may deem it necessary to present their findings in a new description. With the recent adoption of the 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys on February 23, 2016 (which you can read about in our ALTA Survey Handbook), the surveyor now has additional responsibility when the presented survey contains a NEW description along with a RECORD description of the property. This is in addition to the surveyor’s responsibility to notate any item that is not plottable on the map, as well as describing the reasons why it isn’t shown. These responsibilities are included in the updated ALTA/NSPS Survey, which we recently explained in our 2016 ALTA Survey Standards: Reporting and Noting Easements blog.

Comparing The 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements to The 2011 Minimum Requirements

Per the 2011 Minimum Requirements, when two descriptions were presented, the surveyor was required to provide a note of explanation as to why the new description was created. This responsibility has carried over to the 2016 Requirements in Section 6.B.ii. of the Minimum Standards with more specific instructions. The additional responsibility now requires that the surveyor makes a correlation statement relating the newly prepared description to the record description. The surveyor should state that: (a) the new description describes the same real estate as the record description, or if it does not, (b) how the new description differs from the record description. Furthermore, the surveyor should include the recording reference (Instrument Number, or Deed Volume and Page reference) for the record description. In many transactions, the title company may be asked to issue a “Same as Survey” Endorsement to their title policy. In having the surveyor provide this statement on the survey, the title company can achieve a comfort level regarding their decision to offer the endorsement.

Bock & Clark’s 2016 Standardized Survey Product

ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys are a complex survey product and should only be completed by experienced land surveyors. Bock & Clark is the pioneer of the Standardized ALTA Survey Format, and coordinates ALTA surveys for all 50 states and Canada. With over 40 years of experience, we take pride in producing high-quality, comprehensive surveys while also committing to exemplary customer service.

Download our Handbook for Commercial Real Estate Due Diligence for more information about our ALTA Survey services. Additionally, Bock & Clark is available to conduct ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey seminars at your organization or place of business.  Contact us today to schedule an educational seminar.