Reputable and accountable land surveys and civil engineering at a reasonable cost
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can I tell where my property lines are?
Refer to the current deed, available from the County Recorder, for a description of the property. If you're lucky, the description will refer to a recorded map. The existence of such a map of or even near your property increases the likelihood that survey markers (or "monuments") were set and may still be in place to help you locate your property corners. In any event, a visit to our office (in Public Works) can establish what, if any, maps exist. It may also be useful to ask your neighbors if they have located their own corners recently for a building permit or other reason. When all is said and done, if it becomes necessary for you to hire a private surveyor to locate your property lines, any research you do yourself will generally save time and money..
Will the County or City survey my property?
No. County or City employees cannot undertake private survey work within their jurisdiction. The conducting of private surveys by the County’s survey crew would constitute unfair and illegal competition with private surveyors doing work in the county. Refer to the yellow pages under "Surveyors - Land" should you need private survey work performed.
My neighbor's property was surveyed. Why isn't there a recorded map?
State law requires that a map be recorded when a surveyor sets a permanent marker with the surveyor's registration number attached. There are several instances where a survey might be performed without the setting of permanent markers (without "monumentation," as it were), including the following.
Sufficient existing monumentation was found, eliminating the need to set new permanent markers.
The surveyor’s client commissioned the survey for informational purposes only, so only temporary markers, such as lath and ribbon, were set.
The survey was of a type other than a boundary survey, such as a topographic or a planimetric survey, often done to detail existing ground, landscape, and structures for a proposed development.
The survey was not completed (and, presumably, no monuments were set), because the project was abandoned or the surveyor was not paid.
Do all properties in the county have a recorded map?
No. A great many of the parcels of land existing in the county were created before legislation was enacted in 1972 requiring a subdivision final map or a parcel map to create new parcels. A deed, therefore, may be the only recorded document describing the boundaries of a longstanding parcel. Please note that a formal survey of an existing parcel is not normally a County prerequisite to the issuance of a building permit.
Is a recorded survey map the absolutely correct and final word on my property line, sanctioned by the County?
No. All recorded maps (subdivision final maps, parcel maps, records of survey, etc.) are based upon an historical record which over years has collected many discrepancies, conflicts, and uncertainties. The surveyor can only identify pertinent inconsistencies and apply informed judgment in assembling maps based on research and fieldwork. The County Surveyor reviews maps submitted for recording according to standards of practice and technical requirements, but does not adjudicate inconsistencies in the historical record. Disputes over property lines may have to be resolved as civil matters before judicial courts.
Is it illegal to pull out survey markers?
Yes. Under Section 605 of the California Penal Code it is a misdemeanor to intentionally remove or destroy a permanent survey marker. Removal or destruction of survey markers should be reported to the County Sheriff's office, or to the appropriate police department if it was done within one of the four incorporated cities. If the monument is removed by a professional land surveyor or civil engineer, you may also file a complaint with the State of California Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors at (916) 263-2251, or at the Board's website, http://www.dca.ca.gov/pels/l_enforce.htm.
Survey markers are sometimes destroyed during major construction projects if it is impossible to protect them in place because of the nature of the work. If this occurs, the obliterated markers should be replaced or memorialized in another way that will maintain continuity of the historical record.
What is a permanent survey marker?
Typically, a surveyor will hammer a 1/2-inch diameter or larger iron pipe to ground level (or even below ground level to protect the pipe, necessitating a metal detector to locate it). The pipe will generally be 2-1/2 feet long with a brass or plastic tag containing the surveyor or engineer's registration number on top. In concrete there may be a lead plug with a tag instead of a pipe. Significant locations in roadways, bridges, etc., may have more elaborate and stable monuments. Wooden stakes or lath with ribbon, or nails in asphalt with paint marks are not considered permanent markers.