New ALTA Survey Standards from ALTA/ACSM

The ALTA Survey Standards have been revised and are effective February 23, 2016. Recently, committees from both the NSPS and ALTA ALTA Survey Standardsmet to review and approve the upcoming standards.

The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), which is the trade organization representing surveyors nationwide, has replaced the American Congress on Surveying & Mapping (ACSM).

ALTA is the American Land Title Association,  and is the trade association and national voice of the abstract and title insurance industry.

Changes to the ALTA Survey Standards

The NSPS website has a “Summary of Significant Wording Changes” document, which spells out changes to the ALTA survey standards from the 2011 edition to the 2016 edition. Some of the noted changes are:

  • Expands on documents to be provided to the surveyor and clarifies what the surveyor is to do if not provided with samensps-logo
  • Requires the location of observed buildings on the property
  • Requires only monuments on the same side of a right-of-way to be located for streets
  • Gives an access caviat for locating improvements near the property boundaries and reason for non accessibility
  • Further adds to and expands the survey of easements and servitudes and noting of such
  • Limits the extent of cemetery location to the perimeter
  • Allows the surveyor to choose the Degree of Precision for measurements to be shown
  • Requires the current record legal description and any new legal description prepared to be shown on the map with differences noted
  • Building locations are to be dimensioned from boundary lines as deemed appropriate
  • Additions and changes to the Presentation of the survey drawing or map
  • Digital images of the plat or map may be used in lieu of hard copies
  • Revises Table A items which may be requested by clients

While none of these are major changes, surveyors AND those ordering an ALTA survey should be aware of them.

One item that remains as an option on Table A, is the professional liability insurance item for the particular survey project.

Many surveyors don’t carry professional liability insurance because of the expense of this type of insurance. This will significantly change the price of an ALTA survey if the item is checked.

Surveyors and Clients should discuss the Table A items in detail each time anyway, but this is a big red flag that should be addressed. We’ll see how this continues to play out.

Qualification Based Selection (QBS) for Alabama ALTA Surveys

Those ordering ALTA surveys in Alabama should be aware of the recent tightening of the requirements for NO BIDDING by surveyors as communicated by the Alabama Board of Licensure. This puts a land surveyors license in jeopardy if he/she bids on a project.

Maps & Resources for ALTA Surveys in Alabama