Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Surveyor Show Me What I Own?
Surveyors do not prove ownership, but he/she will give you their professional opinion of what the records and facts indicate your ownership to be. This opinion is satisfactory under most normal circumstances. Only a court of law can determine ownership more decisively than a qualified Land Surveyor.

Can the Surveyor Aid in Subdividing My Land?
A Land Surveyor is the only one qualified to prepare a plat for a proposed division of land. The Land Surveyor may prepare an individual description or, if lots/parcels are being created, the surveyor may prepare a legal plat with lot or parcel numbers for recording. Platting rules differ slightly with each county or city. A qualified surveyor would be familiar with local rules and procedures.

Can the Surveyor Design Public Improvement Systems for My Subdivision?
The surveyor will recommend an engineer to design streets, water supply system and sewer systems and to perform other engineering services that might be required. The Professional Land Surveyor will not attempt any aspects of engineering design which he/she is not qualified to perform.

Can a Land Surveyor Perform Engineering Surveys?
Land surveyors conduct most engineering surveys. They are knowledgeable and equipped to prepare topographic surveys, to supply control for aerial photography, to layout construction projects, to survey right of way for power lines and roadways, and so forth.

Can a Surveyor from an Adjoining State Perform a Survey in Oregon?
Not under normal circumstances. The obvious exception is if the surveyor from another state also possesses a license from the State of Oregon.

Can an Engineer Do a Land Survey?
An engineer cannot perform survey work unless he/she is also a licensed Professional Land Surveyor.

Can a Contractor Do Land Survey Work?
A contractor cannot perform land survey work unless he/she is also a licensed Professional Land Surveyor. Also, beware of survey technicians who may be skilled in only some aspects of surveying and are not licensed as Land Surveyors.

Who Can Legally Perform a Land Survey?
In the State of Oregon only a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) can legally assume the responsibility for a land survey. The Professional Land Surveyor is an individual whose highly specialized background, training and skills have been rigorously examined, and who has been licensed by the State of Oregon to practice land surveying.

How Do I Locate a Land Survey Professional?
Most survey work is acquired through the personal recommendations of satisfied clients, or through attorneys, real estate companies, and title companies who frequently handle real estate transactions. If it is difficult to obtain a recommendation, probably the most direct way would be to check the listings under "Surveyors - Land" in the classified section of the telephone directory. According to Oregon law, only licensed practitioners can advertise themselves as Land Surveyors. While the County Surveyor's Office cannot make recommendations, they may be able to provide you with the names of surveyors who have worked in your specific area in the past. Surveyors should be able to provide you with references for their previous work.

Is a Written Contract Required?
Traditionally, contracts for surveys have been by oral agreement. Many surveys have been requested over the phone. However, in recent years it is becoming more common for the client to visit the Land Surveyor's office, discuss requirements of the survey, and enter into a written contract (which tends to assure a better understanding between the client and the Land Surveyor). A good contract contains a clear understanding of services to be provided, costs, time lines, and extra work contingencies. A good contract protects both the client and the surveyor.

Can I Determine in Advance What The Charge Will Be?
In most cases it will not be possible to get more than an estimate, because many of the factors involved in the survey are indeterminable early in the process. Final cost is dependent upon the time required to perform research to obtain the necessary information of record, to perform preliminary fieldwork, to perform the required office computations, and to monument your lines on the ground. Most surveyors will prepare an estimate based on their experience in estimating hours of work (times their hourly fee schedules) which can be used as a basis for a written contract.

Should I Employ a Surveyor on The Basis of Price?
Not necessarily. Competency, service and responsibility are of first importance. Since low cost and high quality are often inconsistent, and judging the amount of work necessary to produce a quality survey may be difficult before the project begins, it is probably unreasonable to expect your surveyor to "bid" on a project, then stick to the bid price.

What Information Should I Furnish the Surveyor?
Furnish the Land Surveyor with an explanation of why the survey is desired (if requested, he/she will maintain confidentiality). With the client's purpose in mind, the Professional Land Surveyor can work more efficiently and thus reduce costs. If you have a deed or mortgage description, aerial photograph of the land, or an abstract, give a copy to the Land Surveyor. In addition, if you have knowledge of a stone, wooden stake, iron rod or pipe, etc. which was reported to you as a property corner, pass that information along to the Land Surveyor. He/she will make the professional judgement as to which evidence should be used.

What Will the Land Surveyor Furnish Me?
The Land Surveyor's final product will vary with each survey (depending upon the reason for the survey), but generally you will be furnished with a copy of a signed and stamped plat or map showing what the Land Surveyor has done, showing the corners monumented or otherwise identified. A narrative on the map will describe why and how the survey was performed. Since 1947, Oregon law has required that all surveys performed by licensed surveyors (in which a property corner is set) be filed with the County Surveyor. Your survey should be on file and copies available to the public if it was performed after 1947.

What If My Survey Discloses Deed Overlaps, Encroachments, or Other Problems?
It is not uncommon to discover during the survey process that there are existing fence or building encroachments or other problems. There are many methods of resolving property line disputes, the most expensive of which is resolution before a court of law. More congenial resolutions require the cooperation of both parties; creation of an easement, adjustment of a property line, even maintaining the status quo are among the options to be considered. Your surveyor and your attorney can help you determine the best option for resolving property conflicts.