Surveying Terminology

Navigating the world of property surveying can be overwhelming, particularly due to the specialised terminology used by industry professionals. To ensure a more simplified and informed experience, it is crucial for property owners to familiarise themselves with the key surveying terms and phrases. Understanding these concepts will allow you to effectively communicate with surveyors, make well-informed decisions, and manage your property with confidence.

In this property owner's glossary, we simplify and explain common surveying terminology, equipping you with the basic knowledge required to better comprehend surveying services and related processes. Our glossary covers a wide range of terms in an easy-to-understand manner, providing clear explanations and practical examples. By demystifying these key terms, you will gain valuable insights into the work of professional surveyors, laying the groundwork for successful property management and surveying experiences.

Demystifying Key Surveying Terminology: A Property Owner’s Glossary

1. Boundary Survey

A boundary survey is a detailed process by which a professional surveyor determines the accurate location of a property's boundary lines and corners. This type of survey is often carried out when purchasing a property, resolving boundary disputes, or planning construction work. Boundary surveys help property owners understand their property limits, ensure compliance with local laws and regulations, and avoid complications with adjacent property owners.

2. Building Survey

A building survey, also known as a structural survey, is a comprehensive inspection of a property's condition. It is designed to identify potential issues, such as structural defects, dampness, and pest infestations. Building surveys are performed by chartered surveyors who provide a detailed report, including actionable recommendations for repairing or maintaining the property. Property owners often undertake building surveys before purchasing a property, embarking on significant renovations, or assessing the overall condition and value of their home.

3. Cadastral Survey

A cadastral survey is a comprehensive way to document and define land ownership, involving the identification, measurement, and registration of land parcels and property boundaries. This type of survey is mainly used to create accurate property records for taxation purposes, land registration, and legal disputes. In the UK, the Land Registry maintains comprehensive cadastral information on properties.

4. Easement

An easement is a legal right granted to a property owner to use or access another person's property for a specific purpose. Some common easements include the right of way (allowing access across a neighbour's property) and the right to use utility installations (such as water, drainage, or power lines) crossing neighbouring land. It is crucial for property owners to be aware of existing easements on their property, as they can impact land use and potential future developments.

5. Encumbrance

An encumbrance is any legal claim or restriction that affects a property's use or ownership. These can include mortgages, leases, easements, and restrictive covenants. Encumbrances should be thoroughly investigated during the property purchase process, as they can negatively impact the property's value or limit how it can be developed or utilised.

6. Land Registry Compliant Plan

A Land Registry Compliant Plan is an accurate and detailed map that supports registration of a property with the Land Registry. It is used to define the property's boundaries, extents, and legal rights accurately. The plan must adhere to the Land Registry's strict requirements, including scale, accuracy, and formatting. Engaging a professional surveyor to create the plan will ensure compliance and avoid potential complications in the registration process.

7. Measured Survey

A measured survey is a detailed collection of measurements taken at a property or site, used to create accurate plans, elevations, and cross-sectional drawings. Measured surveys are often required for designing property extensions, conversions, and refurbishments. They can also be used in the preparation of building records or documentation for listed buildings. By employing a professional surveyor to conduct a measured survey, property owners can ensure that their plans and designs are based on accurate, up-to-date information.

8. Party Wall

A party wall is a shared wall between two properties, typically separating semi-detached or terraced houses. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 governs the management and operation of party walls in England and Wales, outlining the respective rights and responsibilities of each property owner. Property owners intending to carry out construction work on or near a party wall must follow specific procedures, including serving notice to neighbours and obtaining their consent. Professional party wall surveyors can help property owners understand and navigate their legal obligations under the Party Wall Act, ensuring compliance and minimising the risk of disputes.

9. Restrictive Covenant

A restrictive covenant is a legally-binding obligation imposed on a property, limiting its use or development in specific ways. These can include restrictions on building extensions or alterations, conducting certain businesses, or maintaining particular architectural features. It is essential to identify and understand any restrictive covenants affecting your property before planning any developments or renovations. Professional surveyors can advise on the implications and responsibilities related to restrictive covenants.

10. Topographical Survey

A topographical survey is a detailed assessment of a land's surface features and natural or man-made structures. It includes measurements of elevations, slopes, and contours, along with the identification and location of existing buildings, roads, pathways, and utilities. Topographical surveys are often employed in the planning and design stages of construction projects or land development. Professional surveyors use specialised techniques and equipment, such as GPS and total stations, to produce accurate and detailed topographical plans.

By becoming familiar with these key surveying terms and phrases, you will gain a better understanding of the property surveying process and its importance in successful property management. Armed with this knowledge, you can communicate more effectively with professional surveyors and make informed decisions about your property's surveying needs.

Empower Your Property Management with Expert Surveyors

Having a solid understanding of surveying terminology can significantly benefit property owners as they navigate the world of property surveying and management. Familiarity with these essential terms and concepts enables you to make well-informed decisions, collaborate effectively with industry professionals, and achieve successful outcomes for your property. At Icon Surveyors, our team of experienced and knowledgeable experts is committed to helping clients comprehend and manage the complexities of property surveying processes.

Take control of your surveying needs with confidence by reaching out to Icon Surveyors today. We offer a wide range of professional surveying services, including building surveys, boundary surveys, and party wall surveying. Our team of certified surveyors in East London is more than happy to answer any queries and guide you through any surveying process, ensuring that your property management journey is smooth, informed, and successful.

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We are a team of party wall surveying experts based throughout London and the surrounding areas. Here, we share informative property survey blogs created by industry experts.



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