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Build Planning: How Much Does A Surveyor Cost

Written by:
Allen Brown
Ayaan Kabir (cover image), Scott Blake, Valeria Fursa

Choosing a surveyor for your home build is a big decision and not one to take lightly. Surveyors are a vital part of any build. Without a plan, your constructors won't have a good enough idea of what they're doing. Without a plan, there's also a high risk of issues, which could quickly add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra costs. So how much do you need to spend on a surveyor?

How Much Does A Surveyor Cost?

A land surveyor is one of the most important professions in the field of surveying. They are responsible for marking out, determining, and laying out the boundaries of the land. They are professionals accountable for mapping properties, recording features, locating boundaries, and identifying landmarks. They use techniques such as triangulation, leveling, aerial photography, GPS technology, and specialized tools to measure elevations. They typically work for construction companies or engineering firms that need to determine boundaries or work on building projects.

It can be challenging to put an exact figure on their cost because every job is unique and dependent on various factors. The best thing to do is to contact your local surveying company directly to explain to them what your job is. Moreover, if you are currently in need of a surveyor, you can click here for land surveyor cost to get a quote on a job. You might only get an initial estimation, but even this can give you a good overview of what is involved. However, you shouldn't be surprised if the price changes once your chosen surveyor has accurately measured the job and quantified its scope.

surveyor theodoliteimage © Valeria Fursa

What Affects The Price?

Three primary factors can influence a survey's price. As these points are highly variable, getting an accurate quote requires knowing the details involved.

     1. The type of survey to be performed: There are many types of survey, and each type requires different knowledge, tools, and analysis. This is arguably the most variable part of survey pricing, as each class will vary in cost depending on its scope.

     2. Travel time: These are the indirect costs involved, and because surveying has to be done in person, you will be charged for travel time. In other words, the further the land surveyor must travel, the higher the cost will be.

     3. Research time: this can take almost as long as the physical survey and must also be considered. The amount of research needed will depend on how large or small the job is.

What Is The Role Of A Land Surveyor?

A land surveyor is a professional who manages the measurement and mapping of the boundaries of plots of land. They also provide feedback about how to use these measurements or maps for purposes such as site development, construction, and agriculture. They can be freelance or work for a dedicated surveying company, and their rates will not be affected based on this.

Land Survey Types

There are various types of land surveys, and the purpose of each is different. Some are designed to give a general overview of a given area, while others are used for specific purposes. 

American Land Title Association (ALTA) 

If you are purchasing an investment property or home, an ALTA survey is usually performed. Often required by title companies and lenders before financing can be approved, the mortgage survey is also called a mortgage survey. Most lenders will not be willing to lend you the money if this type of survey is not performed.

land surveyor image © Scott Blake


The perimeter of a property must be determined before a property is purchased, improved, or built on. An accurate boundary survey is essential to preconstruction due diligence. Boundary surveys provide an exact outline of a property's perimeter according to the legal description of the site. These can also be used for dispute resolution purposes.


Unlike boundary surveys, location surveys include improvements to the site. There are measurements of the distance between revisions and property lines and the size and location of the improvements. This information is usually gathered when a zoning permit is applied for, as it can expedite the process.


Separating land parcels into smaller ones is called subdivision surveying. The process of subdividing property is called subdivision. Generally, they are used to sell individual lots of land, although they may be made for other purposes.


Surveys combining boundary and topographic data are known as site plans. During new construction or property improvements, site plans are utilized. According to the governing authority for the site, a site plan may be as detailed or as simplistic as it wants to be, but often the more precise, the better. Depending on the municipality, site plans may also be required before granting a permit. 


The purpose of construction surveying is to provide points of reference and indicators that will aid in the development of new structures like roads and buildings. These markers are generally staked out as per the project's chosen reference frame.


The compilation of coordinates and altitude data for a specific survey region is known as a topographic survey. This information may be used to produce spot height maps, contour maps, or more sophisticated terrain models for the area studied. These are useful for mapping a piece of land before construction commences, which makes planning easier.

How To Hire A Land Surveyor

Now that you understand the types of surveys and what affects a surveyor's price, you probably wonder how to hire one? If so, the best bet is to find surveying companies in your local area as this will dramatically cut down on the cost of travel. However, some other steps you should take include:

     - Consult your family and friends for references.

     - Get in touch with local and state organizations of professional land surveyors.

     - Visit the municipal offices in your area to ask about registered surveyors in the area.

     - Make the process as smooth as possible by preparing as much information as possible.

     - Get an accurate quote by explaining what you need in detail.

Surveying is an indispensable part of any construction project. By surveying the land, the construction team can ensure that the project is built on stable ground, making it more likely to remain intact for the long term. 

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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