Top Three (3) Common Mistakes Surveyors Make

What to do if your surveyor made mistake? What do Surveyors do when they make mistakes?

Common Mistakes Surveyors Make

A building can’t be just any random shape. It needs to have a foundation, structure, and useable space on the inside.

But before you get to build your new dream house or office space, you’ll need a map of where all this new property is going to go from the once-busy surveyor! And sometimes mistakes happen.

Maybe there was a sudden change in plans or maybe your land melted into your neighbor’s land (very common in Florida!). Regardless of what the reason is for your sudden surveyor change, you’re going to need a plan B if you don’t want to start all over again.

Land surveyors are licensed professionals who have received extensive training. That doesn’t mean they don’t make blunders now and then.

Land surveying is a highly technical process that involves a thorough understanding of mathematics, technology, and specialized equipment. Of course, there is always the possibility of human error.

When the human factor is involved, no matter how great a person is at his or her work, there will always be a mistake or two.

Clients, on the other hand, may not always be that understanding. Civil engineers, building businesses, business owners, homeowners, contractors, and a plethora of other third-party entities rely on land surveyors.

When errors cause project delays or costly repairs, the land surveyor frequently bears the brunt of the blame.

Common Mistakes Surveyors Make

Surveyors are human and can make mistakes. That’s just a fact and something you’ll have to accept. If the surveyor made a mistake on your drawing, then it’s now your responsibility to fix it.

What kind of mistake could be made?


A miscalculation of property borders is one of the most prevalent surveyor errors. This is frequently the result of disorganization or a simple mistake. Occasionally, it’s due to a flaw in the technology, causing it to broadcast inaccuracies.

Errors like these result in erroneous mapping, which frequently fails to show property easements or other borders.

Even a minor issue like this might be expensive. If a house or building is built in the wrong place and the error isn’t detected until late in the construction phase, the consequences can cost thousands of dollars.

Land surveyors can avoid blunders like these in a variety of methods, including:

  • Documenting each step of the survey process in writing and making sure that it is dated and signed
  • Using original, certified maps as baselines
  • Using high-quality surveying equipment, such as GPS systems

Miscommunication Between the Client and the Surveyor

Surveyors deal with clients from a wide range of sectors. While some of these clients, such as architects and engineers, may grasp a surveyor’s job and results, others may struggle to understand what all of that data means.

For example, a homeowner who consults with a land surveyor before having his or her home built may be unaware that a swimming pool is not feasible in his or her yard. These homeowners may be unaware of what an easement is or how it would affect their access to their property.

Taking Too Long

It’s not uncommon for clients to complain about surveyor delays. As time goes by, the amount of property that needs to be ascertained can grow, which can lead to delays. But if the client thinks it’s too long, then it’s usually for a good reason.

Sometimes problems have a way of evolving even when there isn’t a lot of time left before construction starts. Careful planning and timely progress can avoid such delays.

What to do if your surveyor made mistake

Many individuals rely on a surveyor’s report to determine the condition of a residential property when purchasing it.

You may be entitled to sue the surveyor for the following:

  • If the surveyor fails to perform to the required standard, the surveyor may be in violation of the contract.

Under common law, the surveyor would also have owed you a duty of care. Their job has to be conducted to the level expected of a reasonably competent surveyor using reasonable care and skill.

  • If the surveyor’s service did not meet this standard, he or she may be considered negligent.

Surveyors can provide a variety of reports at varying prices, ranging from basic studies that merely indicate important flaws to thorough structural surveys.

As a result, there may be flaws that a complete structural survey would detect but a basic report would not. If your surveyor misses something, they may not be negligent or in breach of contract if it was not within the scope of your chosen survey to highlight the issue.

What you can Claim for

Possible claims include:

A decrease in the value of the property: This is the standard remedy, which is effectively the difference between the value of the property with the defect and its value without the fault at the time of acquisition.

You will require professional evidence from an independent surveyor to assess the decrease in value.

The costs of the repair work required to correct the fault: In certain circumstances, the courts may mandate that the costs of repairs be paid rather than the loss in value. This usually happens when the repair costs are less than the decline in value.

Extraction costs: If you can demonstrate that major faults were overlooked and that you would not have purchased the property if you had known about them, you may be able to resell it and recover your losses.

This can include resale solicitors’ and estate agents’ fees, relocation charges, and (to the degree necessary to sell the house) repair expenditures.

Health hazard: If you depend on the report to determine the status of the property and incur an injury as a result of it being erroneous or incomplete, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Unexpected costs: This can include the expense of alternate housing while the work is being done as well as the cost of furniture storage.

Discomfort and inconvenience: If you specifically requested that a surveyor check for anything (for example, aircraft noise) and they failed to do so, resulting in you having to live with pain, you may be able to make a claim for such difficulties.

Damages of Other Types: Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to claim damages for pain and suffering as well as emotional distress. You also may be able to secure compensation for both past and future losses.

What do Surveyors do when they make mistakes?

Surveyors are aware that, despite their absolute best efforts, mistakes can be made. Oftentimes, these mistakes can be lethal to a project and cost the client thousands of dollars.

A surveyor will usually make a report explaining the error and what steps need to be taken to correct it.

Steps  taken by the surveyor when they make mistakes

  1. First and foremost, the surveyor will offer his or her sincere apologies.
  2. The surveyor will make a full report of the error and the corrective measures needed to ensure the mistake is not repeated in future projects.
  3. The surveyor will provide a full audit trail of the work done. This allows other surveyors to see what has happened, what investigation has been done, and where concerns have arisen, such as with existing surveys.
  4. The surveyor will make sure that the correct action is taken and any other necessary work has been done.

Responsibility of the client

When a client realizes an error has been made by the surveyor they are expected to:

  1. Get in touch with the surveyor immediately to discuss the problem.
  2. Take steps to resolve the error immediately and prevent further occurrences.
  3. Stay in contact with the surveyor until it is assured that the error has been resolved.
  4. The client should be able to communicate clearly and articulately about their concerns and expectations so that the surveyor will be able to fully understand what exactly needs to be done.

How to resolve surveyor errors

The client’s role when a surveyor makes an error is essentially to ensure that the problem is fixed, fairly and quickly.

You can help move things along by:

  1. Notifying the surveyor of any specific concerns you may have about what has been done and how it has been done.
  2. Making sure you understand what actions may be taken to rectify the situation before selecting a contractor or other party to do any work on site.
  3. Checking the surveyor’s report to see whether or not it is complete. If not, ask that it be amended immediately.
  4. Checking the final report to see if it is accurate and what else needs to be added to ensure full details are given.
  5. Checking the final document before signing and ensuring any notes are present or marked clearly so that they can be read and understood at a later time.
  6. Discussing the final report and making sure you are happy with it before signing anything or making any final payment.
  7. Checking your records to see whether or not the surveyor has signed any confidentiality agreements so that they understand what they can and cannot do.

Responsibility of the Surveyor

When a surveyor makes an error, they are expected to:

  1. Keep in contact with the client regularly to discuss progress on any outstanding work that needs to be performed.
  2. Provide a full audit trail of the work done. This means that they will inform you of anything they’ve done when it was done, and give you a record of why certain things were done or not as well as who did what and when it happened.
  3. Provide evidence of their own qualifications and competence in the industry to confirm that they are capable of performing the work in question.
  4. Use the best available modern equipment for testing their own work as well as the surveyor who inspected it personally.
  5. Follow through with any recommendations and complete all necessary work according to the surveyor’s recommendations.
  6. Keep an eye on property maintenance and keep any necessary insurance in place to avoid personal or financial loss, such as for property damage or potential liability for personal injury and other damages.
  7. Ensure that all structures are up to code and in accordance with local building standards and regulations, including zoning laws and minimum property standards.
  8. Provide an independent survey report on the property at regular intervals so that any maintenance and repairs can be completed quickly and efficiently.
  9. Clearly communicate with the client when a problem comes up. For example, if there is a sink left open or a loose floor board, you will want to be able to ask them about it and make sure that it is fixed or dealt with as soon as possible.

In Summary

There are a number of strategies that can help you to protect yourself against the chances of getting into a surveyor dispute, as well as steps you can take to minimize the chance of having your home or business damaged.

Check and double check that every portion of the survey report is correct and accurate. Get counsel or an arbitrator if you feel there is an error in the survey report.

Explain clearly what problems you have found with the work done and ask to see evidence that they will be dealt with properly.


Do I have to represent myself in a surveyor dispute?

You do not have to represent yourself in a surveyor dispute. If you know what you want to say, you may be able to negotiate with the surveyor.

You should go into the meeting prepared as best as possible and armed with as much information as possible about what happened and what you want. Always consider that if there is an error or problem, it will not just be your problem anymore, but someone else’s too.

What happens when a surveyor makes a mistake?

You can contact the seller and request that the fence or other infringing structure be removed. This can be a simple remedy at times, but it can also be highly hard.

To make the alteration, the seller may need to contact neighbors. If the problem is a utility easement, you can request a variance.

Can land surveyors make mistakes?

The short answer is yes. Land surveyors have to work closely with people in the industry, such as engineers and architects, to ensure their reports are accurate. That said, mistakes can happen, especially when the surveyor is not familiar with the area where they are working.

How do I claim against a surveyor?

To make a claim for professional negligence, you must demonstrate that your surveyor breached that duty or contract and that you suffered financial damage as a result of that breach. To offer compelling evidence of breach and damage, an expert report from a highly certified surveyor is frequently required.

How do I check a surveyor’s report?

You can request an independent audit by a highly certified professional. The surveyor will then use their own skills and experience to review the findings in the report and make any necessary changes or corrections.

What is my role in a surveyor dispute?

As the client, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the work performed is done accurately, according to your standards, and not causing damage to your property. The surveyor may be found negligent if you were not sufficiently protected against harm.

What can I do if a surveyor devalues house?

Land surveyors who provide reports for the valuation of property and surface rights will, in some cases, use a process known as “subjective value appraisal”.  This is where the surveyor assesses personal factors, such as location and condition of a property.

If you feel that your property has been devalued because of these factors and you are unhappy with the valuation, you can request to have the report reassessed by another surveyor.

How accurate are surveyors?

Professional-grade GPS devices for surveyors cost thousands of dollars and are often accurate to within a centimeter. The majority of consumer-level GPS systems have an accuracy of 15 or 20 feet.

How much do surveys cost?

The cost of professional land surveys is approximately $400 to $700 per hour depending on the size of your property.

However, this cost will vary widely depending on the size of the project and the complexity. The cost of licensing an individual land surveyor varies widely.

Can you sue a surveyor for negligence?

Surveyors have a responsibility to their clients. As a result, if their irresponsible acts or omissions cause you to incur loss, you may be able to sue for compensation.

You have the right to sue your building surveyor for monetary compensation (damages) to compensate for the loss of value of your property.

Where can I get a surveyor?

Most realtor’s will be able to provide you with a list of surveyors that they trust to do high quality work. There are also numerous directories of surveyors or associations you can join to connect with and get recommendations from other business owners.

What happens if 2 surveyors disagree?

If two surveyors disagree on the same issue, then that issue must be regarded as not agreed. In this situation, it would be appropriate to have an independent expert arbitrator get involved to clarify each party’s position.

Is a surveyor necessary if I am buying an apartment?

If you are purchasing an apartment or other building, a surveyor is not necessarily required. If a surveyor does the inspection of the property, it may be more difficult to get any problems with the building fixed.

If you are concerned at all about the condition of the building, you may want to hire your own independent expert to check it out for you.

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