When do I need a survey?

You need a survey whenever you wish to build or remove something on the property.

What’s the difference between a survey and a certification?

Both are stamped and approved by our licensed surveyor. A survey results in a map showing aspects of the property. A certification is verification of plans for a structure.

Common types of surveys:

Boundary survey: building a fence, wall or anything else along the property line; property line disputes; lot mergers/divisions.

Topographic survey: adding a story, starting construction on a lot, usually combined with a boundary survey if one has not been done already.

ALTA survey: may be required by mortgage company or bank to verify possible exceptions to the title that may affect the value or sale of the property.

Construction Staking: needed to visualize the layout of a new addition.


Common types of certification:

Square footage: verifies square footage of the structure/plans fitting within the property

Silhouette: verifies shape and height of pre-construction silhouette

Ridge Height: proves the plans for the building don’t exceed the height limit

Form: certifies correct location of the foundation

What does a survey cost?

The cost is dependent on many factors. A property’s location and size affect the number of hours needed to collect and process the field data. Each type of survey requires its own kind of map, so approximate drafting hours are factored into the bid as well. When you contact us, we research these aspects of your project and provide you with a competitive estimate.

How do I get started?

First, you will need to provide the property address and additional information as needed. For a vacant lot without an address, the lot number or closest addressed parcel will help us find it. Are there easements on your property? We’ll require the preliminary title report for all maps involving easements.

Second, why do you need the survey? Different types of projects require different types of surveys and forms to be submitted to the city or county. Whether you want to put in a fence, take out a tree, add a second story, or anything else, let us know and we’ll facilitate the process by doing all the required research for you and make sure you get the exact product you need.

Third, you sit back and relax as we compile research to form a bid amount. The bid reflects the scope of the job from the size of the property to the number of monuments we have to set to the hours it will take to draw up a map or certification. We will contact you by phone or email with the bid and we’re happy to answer any questions you have regarding the cost breakdown.

Fourth, we draw up a contract and email it to you for a signature. As stated per contract, some jobs require a 50% retainer before we can start. There’s much more to the project than the handsome boys in the field.

How long until you can start my job?

Within three days of receiving your signed contract and retainer,  preliminary calculations and computer mapping are started before we can start gathering data in the field. All this is happening before you ever see the survey crew! Even when they start the field work, they may have to start down the block or around the corner.

When will my job be completed?

Our average time between receiving the contract/retainer and a stamped map in your hand is 3-5 weeks.

Most surveys are done in two parts. The first trip gathers all the necessary information to calculate the boundary lines. This involves taking measurements from documented monuments located in the streets and sidewalks on your surrounding block. The second trip to your property will involve setting the property corners, and possibly some additional measurements to locate fences, walls or other encroachments to be added to your final map. Your map will be checked, re-checked, signed, stamped, and then it’s available for pick-up at our office or to be mailed to you.

What will I get?

First, the corners on your property are set and tagged for all to see. They will be identified by a brass tag with the license number of our responsible surveyor in charge. If you require additional property points located, this will also be done. Then you will be given a signed “wet stamp” map. This map can be used by city officials, architects, builders and more. If the original deed lines have been changed, you may also be required to file a Record of Survey, which we will prepare. In addition to the wet stamp map, we can send electronic files to your architect/contractor.

Are the corner monuments you set marking my legal property corners?

Only a court of law can decide where a property line is actually located. The land surveyor analyzes all the available evidence and gives his professional opinion of where the boundary lines are. Should the dispute go to court, we offer professional witness services.

Please call or email us if you have any additional questions

I/WS Surveying

2556 Via Tejon

Palos Verdes Estates CA 90274