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.
What is an ALTA Survey Optional Table A Item?
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 ALTA Survey 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.
How to Determine Which Table A Items to Include
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).
Be Prepared to Provide a Listing of Optional Items
When asking a surveyor to quote a project, it is important to be prepared with a listing of any optional items 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.
NV5/ Bock & Clark Can Help with Optional Survey Items
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.