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Survey Types

Depending on your needs, we offer a variety of types of surveys. Click on the list below for a description of each type of survey, and some of the common reasons you might want to order one.

A Missouri Standards Property Boundary Survey is by far the most common type of survey likely to meet your needs. We will find or set your property corners and provide you with a detailed bird’s-eye view map of the property, showing where your property lines are relative to the improvements on it. This means you can finally know which side of the line your and your neighbor’s fences are on!

If you are preparing to buy or sell a house, we strongly recommend that you order a boundary survey, because they are so good at catching potential problems with the property that might hold up the sale. If you are working with a title company or have an existing title policy, we can apply it to our survey to show the location of easements. Those easements might surprise you, and can affect future plans for the property, such as where you can build a garage or a pool. Boundary surveys are a critical part of any informed real estate transaction. Know where your land starts and stops before you try to buy or sell it!

This is also the best type of survey to order if you are preparing to:

  • install a fence or dog fence
  • do any landscaping projects
  • install a sprinkler system
  • get a new driveway

Before doing these types of projects, you’ll want to contact your local department of planning, because many will require a boundary survey before issuing you a work permit anyway! In addition to clearly marking your property corners, we can also set wooden stakes along your property lines in the areas you plan to work to make sure that you and your contractors stay inside your property and don’t cause any problems with the neighbors. If your neighbors are doing this type of work without a survey, get one to make sure they don’t cross the line either!

Boundary surveys are fundamental to most other types of surveys, so you can think of them as “included” in the other options that have more detailed requirements.

A topographical survey (or a “topo” for short) is a robust survey that includes elevations, shows the contours of the land, the location of trees, and visible utilities. We can be flexible about all of these parameters based on your specific needs. Topographical surveys are most useful before conducting any major construction or landscaping projects. Your landscaper, architect, builder, or even your local municipality may require this type of survey or find it useful as part of the planning/design/permitting processes.

A pre-construction topo is most useful when you are preparing to build a:

  • new house
  • garage or carriage house
  • addition
  • pool and/or pool house

Be sure contact Missouri One Call here or call 1-800-DIG-RITE or 811 before ordering your topographical survey. They’ll mark the location of underground utilities on your property for free so that we can show them on our survey for you!

Usually simply called an ALTA survey, these are mostly useful in commercial real estate and financing applications, and allow us to custom-tailor a survey to meet requirements that are more stringent than the Missouri Standards for Property Boundary Surveys. If you haven’t heard of an ALTA survey, you probably don’t need one! Otherwise, please review or edit our default Table A which you can send to after you order your quote if you’ve made any changes.

If you are preparing to place a new structure on your property based on architect and/or engineer designs, we can ensure that the contractor/builder knows precisely where to dig and build by setting reference stakes for them on the ground. Those stakes can guide them in knowing where to set foundation forms, and may include elevation information if needed to control the top of foundation elevation and keep the structure within local zoning requirements. This is a sometimes required and always recommended step to keep your construction projects matching their intended designs. Construction staking often overlaps with boundary surveys and/or topographical surveys.

An important part of most construction processes, an as-built survey comes after construction (and often at various stages during) to ensure that new structures and utilities match their design plans and zoning requirements. A common type of as-built survey is a “foundation spot” to make sure the foundations of a new building are in the correct position before continuing with the rest of the build process. Many municipalities require as-built surveys to successfully close out a work permit, and the requirements are often quite different. So before ordering an as-built survey from us, be sure to contact your local department of planning for a copy of those requirements to attach to our order form.

With several different subcategories, typical subdivision plats are used to divide a single larger tract of land into multiple smaller lots. They are often required by your county to create new parcels or to combine and change the shapes of existing lots. Even when not required, they create clear and easily retraceable legal definitions of your land that increase its security and make it easier to sell or transfer in the future. They tend to be larger drawings which are ultimately filed with your county’s recorder of deeds. Here are some of the other typical types of subdivision plats and terms:

  • Boundary Adjustment Plat: Used for moving or reshaping existing boundary lines to transfer land between yourself and your neighbor(s). These are extremely common and useful. Want to shift your property lines so they more closely match where the fences are? Want to buy a few feet of your neighbor’s yard so you have more room to build? A boundary adjustment plat is usually the best way to change the location of existing property lines.
  • Lot Split Plat: A different name for a minor subdivision that takes one lot and divides it into two lots. They need not be the same size or shape.
  • Re-subdivision Plat: Basically a subdivision within an existing subdivision, it may reconfigure existing lots and can be used to fix problems with older subdivisions.
  • Lot Consolidation Plat: Takes multiple adjoining parcels under the same owner and combines them into one single entity. Useful to simplify and clarify the legal definition of your land.
  • Road or Alley Vacation Plat: Used to dissolve and transfer public rights of way to your ownership. If you have an alley behind your property or a road adjoining it that your city or county is not using or never built on, contact their streets department to see if they are willing to part with it and expand your land.

If you want to create new parcels or change existing lots, one of these subdivision plats is the best way to do it.

Trying to create an easement? An easement exhibit plat is the clearest way to do so. We produce a small drawing showing exactly where the new easement will be. You then attach the exhibit to the easement deed you file with your county’s recorder of deeds. This makes for a secure and easy-to-understand description of where your new easement lies.

Easements are a powerful tool to help if you’ve accidentally built a fence over the property line (should’ve gotten a boundary survey first!) or to give your neighbor limited access to part of your property, or even to run essential utilities across multiple properties and connect with main lines. Creating them with the help of an easement exhibit plat ensures that you have precise control over where those easements are.

Have an easement on your property that you’re trying to get rid of? An easement vacation exhibit plat shows the precise location of an existing easement, and the exact portions of it that are to be vacated. Sometimes, utility companies will allow you to vacate all or part of their easements to enable you to build that pool or garage you’ve always wanted in the backyard, or simply because they no longer need that easement. The easement vacation plat lends a secure depiction of where the easement no longer exists, protecting anything you build there in the future.

A simple variant sometimes known as “S.R.P.R.” or “spot surveys,” these are barebones documents that are no longer acceptable for most purposes which call for a survey. Once called “mortgage inspection reports,” they used to be more common for title companies trying to discover only the most obvious problems with a property during closings, such as buildings clearly over property lines or within easement strips. No parcel calculations are performed, we do not find or set the property corners, and they do not show the location of fences, which makes them not nearly as informative as a standard boundary survey. We do happily still provide them when desired, but advise caution as a boundary survey will prove significantly more useful and accurate in almost all applications.

As an additional option for other types of surveys, we can always show your zoning setbacks if you forward us the requirements from your local department of planning/zoning. These vary by location and can be nuanced, so you’ll want to make sure you are aware of them before conducting any construction work on your property. These can especially impact your plans for an addition or accessory structure such as a garage, shed or even a pool and/or pool house.

…and more!

We have a saying in the surveying world: “Every job is different.” Tell us your specific needs and we’ll work with you to conduct the best possible survey for the situation. Just call (314) 822-1006 or email and we’ll help you figure out the best survey for you.