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The Land Surveyor's Report

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This seminar is designed for two groups of surveyors: those who must write survey reports for their client and those professionals that provide forensic surveying services to clients and attorneys involved in a boundary or title dispute. We will explore why clients or attorneys request surveyors reports, how and when to prepare a report, the components of a report, and the practical talking points that should be addressed by each author. Specifically, the instructor will discuss the legal and technical requirements of a survey report while the class analyzes an outline for a sample surveyor’s report. Students will be required to critique a sample report and understand its components by the end of the lecture.

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The Land Surveyor's Report

  1. 1. THE LAND SURVEYOR’S REPORT Your Guide to Writing Great Documents
  2. 2. THE PURPOSE OF A SURVEY REPORT A picture is worth a thousand words…except when it contains so much information that no on can understand it
  3. 3. THE PURPOSE OF A SURVEY REPORT • A survey report allows the professional to fully explain: • What she found in the courthouse • What she located in the field • Where the boundary line / point is located • A justification of her decision • These reports are fantastic tools to EXPLAIN and EDUCATE others about our client’s boundary and title locations – especially when there is a a red flag raised during the survey
  4. 4. WHY? COLLATERAL ATTACK! • "At times, the surveyor must determine whether he or she is retracing an "original survey" or a "first survey". Initially the surveyor must determine whether the creating surveyor actually ran the creating line and then reduced the survey to notes or the description was created on paper and then the surveyor subsequently placed that description on the ground. • When a parcel or parcels are created on paper, without a survey being conducted, and the surveyor is later requested to place one of these paper-described parcels on the ground, this survey should be considered the "first" survey, in that it is the first survey to be placed on the ground after the description. • The difference is that whereas the original survey controls, the first survey is nothing more than an opinion by the surveyor of where the written description should be placed. As such, it is always open to collateral attack."
  5. 5. STRUCTURE OF A SURVEY REPORT 1. Introduction / Overview 2. Preamble / What Surveyor Was Asked to Do 3. Record Documents 4. Field Work Performed 5. Conflicts Found and Remedies Chosen 6. References 7. Appendix 8. FAQ
  6. 6. FIELD WORK PERFORMED YOU MUST GO THE FIELD!
  7. 7. CONFLICTS AND REMEDIES • The law does not expect you to be right every time. No one is perfect! • But the concept of negligence does expect you to follow: • Board Acts & Rules • State Case Law • Industry-Standard Practices • If you follow those three sources, the rest is easy
  8. 8. ROLES IN THE LEGAL WORLD • Attorneys present the case • Judges hear the arguments and make a fair decision based on previous cases • But the neither the attorneys or judges know about everything…so they need •EXPERTS! (Like You)
  9. 9. THE EXPERT’S REPORT • Cases are won and lost before the trial even begins • There is often lots of opinions, documents, and motives; facts are muddied by them all. • So attorneys need an INDEPENDENT opinion – from a PROFESSIONAL – to make their case
  10. 10. EVALUATE OTHERS’ WORK • The roots of a property disputes often happen because of: • Ambiguous or poorly-written deeds/easements • Conflicting surveys • John surveys in 2014. Tim surveys in the same line in 2015. The neighbors choose the survey that’s most advantageous to them. • So, who gets to ULTIMATELY decide, and how do they do it?
  11. 11. APPLY THE SOURCES TO THE CURRENT ISSUE AND SOLVE THE PROBLEM • “The primary issue is the location of Jackson’s east line that is contagious with Smith… • The Jackson property was created in 1928 and the Smith property was created in 1933… • Brown’s references the ‘first in time, first in right doctrine’ of sequential conveyances… • Here, Jackson was created first so Tennessee law awards him the hatched area on my survey”

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