There are a number of settings where you may need to access a prior land survey of some kind that was carried out on a given property or area of land, from potential purchases to municipal changes, commercial needs and more. If this is the case, how should you be going about identifying and locating the required survey(s)?
At Diamond Land Surveying, we’re proud to assist clients around Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah with all their land survey needs, including residential surveys, commercial surveys and many other varieties. Here’s a brief primer on where land surveys go once they’re taken, who holds their records, and how you can go about obtaining them for any kind of need.
Who Holds Land Survey Records
Generally speaking, three parties will hold records of a given land survey: The surveyor who performed the survey, the person or entity who hired them to perform the survey, or the county surveyor or recorder’s office. As a general rule, county records offices will only maintain copies of surveys if they’ve been filed by the professional surveyor who performed the service or their client..
Conversely, if you’re looking for an older land survey record from many years ago, your best bet may be to look up the original surveying firm (if one is still in business). Naturally, older records may involve a bit more legwork, but they can still be accessed by making contact with the surveying firm or registered surveyor themself.
Many survey records are held by the local county surveyor’s office. In the state of Utah, surveyors who are hired to document or establish property boundaries should file a survey with the county within 90 days of completion of the project. Larger counties, such as Salt Lake or Utah County, have a surveyor’s office who receive and maintain filed survey plats. Finding surveys may take some legwork. Each county surveyor’s office in Utah has a separate system for maintaining and accessing a record of survey. A county might have online access to the records or it might require a physical visit to their office to gain access to them
In smaller counties, the county recorder may be the office for filing and maintaining a record of survey. Often, they may be able to help you locate a land survey record. This is especially true for surveys done within the past few decades, since recorder’s offices started creating digitized copies of recorded documents.
With the recorder’s office, similar to county surveyor’s office, you will have to look into specific site listings to figure out which surveys are being held.
Planning and Zoning Department
If neither of these sources yield satisfactory results, you may also need to contact the planning and zoning department in your city. This is especially true if you’re looking for a survey that was done as part of a development project or related to land use regulations.
In addition to records held by the recorder’s office, this department can provide access to other documents related to projects that involve permits, such as surveys for construction projects or related to other zoning-related matters.
Unable to Find a Survey
If none of the avenues mentioned above yield the desired survey records, then you may need to order a new survey. However, we recommend inspecting your property for existing corner markers. If a surveyor completed a survey on your property there’s likely property corner monument installations at each corner. They’re normally a piece of rebar with a plastic cap on top showing the professional surveyor’s license number. Locating that number should give you the information you need to contact the county and have them help you track down the surveyor who completed the project. Doing this will allow you to make sure that there are no other surveys that may have been completed previously but have not yet been filed. This extra effort may end up being invaluable if you find the survey records and save yourself the time, effort and money of having a new survey done.
Ordering a New Survey
If all of these efforts fail and you still cannot find a survey record, then you may need to order a new one. The best thing to do is to pick up the phone and talk to experienced land surveyors who can help provide guidance on what needs to be done. They will walk you through the process of acquiring an accurate survey at a reasonable cost.
At Diamond Land Surveying, we have the tools and personnel to handle all your land survey needs throughout Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah. From residential surveys to commercial surveys and other varieties, our team is ready to provide you with an accurate survey that meets all of your needs. Contact us today for more information!