ALTA Survey

ALTA Surveys | Utilities

Sep. 19 2019 - Burk Cornelius, PLS

Since the adoption of the 2016 ALTA/NSPS Minimum Standard Detail Requirements, one of the most confusing changes is Optional Table A Item 11. I will try to clarify some of the more common misconceptions on this issue. Most clients want/need some aspect of utilities to be shown on a survey.

2016 ALTA/NSPS Standards

All previous versions of the ALTA Standards prior to the 2016 version have had 2 options for Table A item 11, (a) or (b). The 2 choices were mutually exclusive; you chose one or the other. Not both. Table A Item 11(b) INCLUDED everything in 11(a) plus additional requirements.

Table A

In the 2016 version of the ALTA Standards, Table A Item 11(a) was moved to the base standards (section 5.E. iv).  It is now included as part of every ALTA/NSPS Land Title survey.

  1. Evidence on or above the surface of the surveyed property observed in the process of conducting the fieldwork, which evidence may indicate utilities located on, over or beneath the surveyed property. Examples of such evidence include pipeline markers, manholes, valves, meters, transformers, pedestals, clean-outs, utility poles, overhead lines and guy wires.

This change leaves only Table A Item 11(b) as an optional requirement. Only now it is just called simply Item 11. Confusing? Yes, it is.

Table A Item 11 specifies additional requirements above and beyond observed evidence. It requires researching plans from utility companies as well as calling 811 utility locate service. These additional requirements take more time and usually cost more because of the additional records research involved and the fact that 811 utility locate services don’t always respond in a timely manner and the surveyor may have to return to the site to identify any markings 811 might have made.

  1. Location of utilities existing on or serving the surveyed property as determined by:
  • observed evidence collected pursuant to Section 5.E.iv.
  • evidence from plans requested by the surveyor and obtained from utility companies, or provided by client (with reference as to the sources of information), and
  • markings requested by the surveyor pursuant to an 811 utility locate or similar request

Unfortunately, because clients have been used to selecting some sort of Table A item 11 for the last 17 years, they continue to select Table A item 11 thinking that they need it in order to have utilities shown on the survey. This is not the case. In fact, it is my opinion that unless the client is planning new construction or improvements on site, they do not need Table A Item 11. Section 5.E.iv will give them everything they need at no additional cost to them.

ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Questions? Let's Talk.

Always consult with us regarding this or any other Optional Table A Items being requested.

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