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Subdivision Surveys

Definition of Subdivision Survey

Subdivision Survey (commonly referred to as subdivision platting) is the process of splitting a tract of land into smaller parcels. This shows monumentation and survey data on a map in conformance with local subdivision ordinance and the Subdivision Map Act. The subdivision ordinance gives standards for designating residential and commercial lots, roads (rights-of-way), parkland dedication, drainage and utility easements, and how city services will be extended to each lot. These standards are created to improve public health and safety.

What is a Subdivision?

Subdivisions are basically splits of property. Although they may be made for any purpose but usually they serve the purpose of selling the individual lots of land. A subdivision can be as simple as dividing a one acre lot in half or as complex as dividing 100 acres into many lots with roads and utilities.

Subdivision Survey in depth

A subdivision survey can be done using metes-and-bound system or lot-and-block subdivision but it mostly employs a metes-and-bounds system to delineate individual lots within the main tract. Each lot on the plat map is assigned an identifier, usually a number or letter. The plat map is then officially recorded with a government entity such as a city engineer or a recorder of deeds. This plan becomes the legal description of all the lots in the subdivision. A mere reference to the individual lot and the map's place of record is all that is required for a proper legal description.

For simple single splits of property, "Plats of Survey" are made. On the other hand, "Preliminary" and "Final Plats" are produced for subdivisions, which show layouts and dimensions of lots, streets, alleys, common ground, etc. Anyone who is developing a parcel of ground, by splitting and conveying several parts to others for development, will need to begin this process with a licensed land surveyor.

With some small subdivisions, the time required is minimal and similar to the cost and time for a Boundary Survey. Larger multi-lot subdivisions may require extensive planning, perimeter work, layout and drafting, and construction staking during the development process.

Whatsoever may be the case, one should always keep in mind that critical subdivision design and layout considerations must include creating good building sites, an effective street and utility layout, and assured drainage. Also, an accurate layout ensures that the improvements can be easily and correctly constructed at later stages.

Generally, a subdivision project involves a survey of the exterior boundaries of the tract to be divided, followed by a topographic survey, design of the subdivision, and the layout of the interior of the tract.

Importance of professional surveyor

With almost all of the counties and municipalities regulating the division of property, the role of a professional surveyor cannot be understated. Regulations may specify minimum lot size, allowable mis-closures for surveys, types of corner marks to be used, minimum width of streets and the procedure for dedicating them, rules for registry of plats, procedures for review and other matters. A licensed land surveyor knows and understands the ordinances and puts the plan together for the developer.


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Nationwide Surveying - Subdivision Surveys