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Steps to Manage Increasing Survey Costs

Survey firms are seeing a surge in requests. Some aerial firms are noting 2-3 times as many requests as this time last year – a spike not seen in over 10 years. With increased volume in an industry that currently has a shortage of survey professionals, it’s going to impact your budget and timeline. 

Here’s what you can do to minimize costs and delays:

1. Be proactive. Have a conversation with your surveyor to determine what’s really necessary – short and long-term. Make sure both sides understand what the survey will be used for (lending, design or both). The surveyor can then provide the best approach for scope. Lending – If it’s for lending – you may want to reach out to your lender to see if there’s any flexibility with the Table A Requirements. Depending upon your site and your situation, we have seen lenders waive the following items. Eliminating even one of these items from the survey could save several days of field time.

  • 1 – Monumentation
  • 5 – Contours
  • 7 – Exterior Building Dimensions
  • 19 – Wetlands
  • 20 – Offsite Easements

Design – If your survey will eventually be part of a design, there are several things to consider. Collecting additional data up front for a minimal cost may reduce your overall costs. Each project is different, so it’s important to discuss this with your surveyor and engineer to determine the critical path that fits your budget and schedule. 

Questions to ask include:

  • Should the aerial vendor obtain expanded limits now?
  • Will vertical relief be needed for detailed designs such as ADA and tie-ins to existing conditions?
  • What survey content is required by municipal code?
  • Would additional survey up front help advance early grading and stormwater design?

2. Keep in mind – the earlier, the better. Now more than ever, surveyors are becoming like your favorite contractors. Their schedules are tight. Quickly pulling them for ’emergencies’ might mean less availability moving forward. Therefore, try to consolidate survey needs, plan them out with your surveyor and get your requests in ASAP.

3. Time your survey right. Another way to reduce cost is to obtain your aerial survey data when there is no snow on the ground and no leaves on the trees. Fly the site now and process the mapping information later and as needed. 

More questions about surveying?

Contact Matt Kelly, PLS – Director of Land Surveying
[email protected] or 610-265-8323