How Do Land Survey Companies Locate Utilities?

Will you need to locate underground utilities as part of your ALTA/NSPS Survey? Is this necessary for all properties? Land survey companies like National Due Diligence Services are the best place to go for the answers.

The process of underground utility locating typically includes access of existing records or the strategic deployment of technology, such as ground penetrating radar, to form a comprehensive map of all subterranean pipes, cables, and other utilities within a specific site. 

By accurately charting the position of these underground infrastructures, this portion of an ALTA Land Survey aids in circumventing potential issues. It allows for efficient planning and execution of excavation activities. This blog will answer some common questions and discuss the utility location process. 

Is Utility Locating Part of an ALTA Survey?

The 2021 revision of the ALTA Land Title survey includes ‘Observed Utilities’ in the Standards. The important thing to note is that it only includes observed utilities. This would include utility poles, electric lines, and similar utilities that can be seen by the surveyor as a part of the Standard ALTA Survey

If additional details about utilities present on the land are required, this is something that can be negotiated between the client and the surveyor and added to the survey through Table A. 

Item 11 in Table A states:

  1. Evidence of underground utilities existing on or serving the surveyed property (in addition to the observed evidence of utilities required pursuant to Section 5.E.iv.) as determined by:

_____ (a) plans and/or reports provided by the client (with reference as to the sources of information)

_____ (b) markings coordinated by the surveyor pursuant to a private utility locate request.

It is important to note that Item 11(a) states that the plans and reports regarding utilities present on the property are provided by the client. In some circumstances, arrangements can be made for the surveyor to be contracted to obtain the plans. Item 11(b) refers to contracting with a private utility location provider who would then locate and mark the utilities present for the surveyor.

When Do You Need to Locate Underground Utilities?Land Survey Companies

One question land survey companies often hear is whether or not underground utilities need to be located during the ALTA Survey. The answer to this question depends on the planned use of the property being surveyed. 

For example, if the property in the real estate transaction is being purchased with existing buildings on it, such as an office building, multi-family residential property, or hotel, and no significant changes are planned for the exterior of the buildings, then it may not be necessary. 

Alternatively, if new construction is planned for any pre-existing buildings on the property, then underground utilities should be located to aid in the design and build process. 

Locating Underground Utilities

As mentioned above, underground utilities are located either through utility reports or plans or by contracting a private company to locate underground utilities through the use of advanced technology. 

Reports or plans are often obtained from local records offices in the municipality where the property is located, but some may be held by private organizations. 

National Due Diligence Services is Here For You

Securing a trustworthy survey company for extensive multi-phase projects or simultaneous multi-site surveys can be daunting. Our success stems from a reputation we’ve built with international landowners, developers, architects, civil engineers, utility companies, brokers, lenders, title insurers, and attorneys. We go beyond being a mere vendor, establishing ourselves as reliable partners, always delivering on our promises. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed.