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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can perform a land survey?

All 50 states have laws requiring a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) to assume legal responsibility of a land survey. A PLS must be licensed in the state where he/she is performing the land survey. Land Surveyors in Utah must be licensed, according to Utah State Code 17-23-1. The Professional Licensed Surveyor is a highly specialized individual, whose education, experience, and competence have been formally examined and licensed by the State Of Utah. Their conduct and the quality of their work are subject to a defined code of ethics. Visit the DOPL website for more information.


Can an engineer do a land survey?

NO. An engineer cannot perform boundary survey work unless he/she is also licensed as a land surveyor (LS).

Can a contractor do land survey work?

NO. A contractor cannot perform land survey work unless he/she is licensed as a land surveyor (LS).

How do I locate a licensed land surveyor?

Recommendations by attorneys, real estate companies, and title companies are good sources. You may contact the Utah Council of Land Surveyor's, or check the classified section of the telephone directory under "Surveyors-Land".

Is a survey required by State Law when property is sold?

NO. Utah State Law does not require a survey to convey property.

Should I employ a surveyor on the basis of price?

NO. Competency and responsibility are more important. Low cost and high quality are frequently inconsistent. Uncertainties are involved in judging the amount of work necessary to produce a quality product. Therefore, it may not be in your best interest to have the surveyor "bid" on a project.

How does a surveyor prepare my bill? Is a written contract required?

Many surveys have been requested over the phone. However, it is more effective for the client to visit the surveyor's office, discuss requirements of the survey, and enter into a written contract to assure a better understanding between the client and the surveyor.

Can I determine in advance what the charge will be?

Not usually. The final cost will depend on the work required to research records, survey existing field evidence, perform the required office computations, generate a plat, and monument your corners.

Should I employ a surveyor to subdivide my land?

YES. A surveyor is qualified by law to prepare descriptions for newly created parcels of land, and may also prepare individual lot descriptions. When two or more lots are created, your surveyor will prepare a plat with lot or parcel numbers for recording. Your surveyor will know the specific platting rules and procedures for each county.

Can the surveyor layout streets, waterlines, and sewer systems for my subdivision?

YES. Professional Land Surveyors can layout streets, sanitary sewers and storm sewers within a subdivision. The surveyor may recommend an engineer to design the water supply system and perform all other engineering services that will be required. A surveyor will not attempt any aspects of engineering which he/she is not qualified to perform.

Can the surveyor provide proof of ownership?

NO. Surveyors do not prove ownership, but make a professional judgement of what the records and facts indicate your ownership to be. The surveyor acts as a fact finder and assists the legal profession in making the final judgement of ownership.

What other services does a surveyor provide?

They are qualified to provide topographic surveys, supply control for aerial photography, layout construction projects, and survey rights-of-way for power lines, roadways, utilities, etc.

What information should I furnish the surveyor?

You should provide an explanation of the purpose of the survey. Confidentiality will be maintained if requested. You should supply a deed, mortgage description, or abstract of title. If you are aware of a stone, iron pipe, fence post, etc.,(assumed to be a property corner), supply that information also. Your surveyor will make the professional judgement as to what evidence should be used.

Where can I get a copy of my property description?

Your yearly tax notice will provide you with the book and page number of your recorded deed. A copy can be obtained from the County Recorder's Office. Your tax notice has an abbreviated property description which must be compared to your recorded document.

What will the surveyor furnish me?

The surveyor's final product may vary with each survey. Generally, you will be furnished with a certified plat or map showing what the surveyor has done and the corners monumented or otherwise identified. A description of the tract will be prepared and shown on the plat.

Is my survey on record?

Beginning in April of 1987, Utah Law required that all surveys be filed in the County Surveyor's Office. Your survey should be on file if it was performed by a licensed surveyor.

Can private property be surveyed by the County Surveyor?

NO. Utah State Code prohibits the County Surveyor's Office from performing private surveys, except by court order.