A feature and levels survey gives an overarching view of the property and provides details that only an experienced surveyor knows to include.
What is a features and levels survey?
- Locates the levels over the site
- Identifies existing buildings
- Highlights natural features
- Combined with title survey to show easements
A features and levels survey locates levels of the land such as natural features and hills, as well as existing buildings and adjoining buildings, outhouses, driveways and retaining walls.
By accurately pinpointing existing buildings and including their dimensions on the property plans, the surveyor ensures architects can make decisions about future buildings and avoid errors during the construction phase.
It is important to know all the natural features and levels on the site because these can have a big impact during building and can be costly to account for at a later stage if they aren’t included.
A surveyor can provide an architect a complete picture of the site when a features and levels survey is combined with a title boundary survey to show the property’s easements. These easements are often valuable because they can be included in the building envelope if they don’t use gas or electric services.
Why you could need an F&L survey
- Helps complete the picture of the property
- Enables an architect to design within the parameters
- Case study: The wrong design
- Case study: Costly driveway error
By providing a complete picture of the property, the surveyor is not only helping avoid costly problems during the building stage but is also highlighting possible improvements such as the ability to use non-serviced easements.
Because the architect knows all the features and levels of the site, they can combine this with their knowledge of overlooking, height and setback rules specific to that block of land. They can create the perfect building envelope to start the design work.
The information collected in the survey helps prevents errors. In one case study there was no features and levels survey completed and when it came time to mark out the new building there were errors on the plan. This meant the plans had to be reissued by the architect and approved again by the building surveyor.
In another example, the width of available space for a boundary driveway was guessed and, in order to complete the battle axe subdivision, part of an existing building had to be cut back at high cost to the developer. Accurately measuring a property can also mean the difference between approved to build three townhouses instead of two.
What is the next step?
- Speak to a surveyor about your plans
- Once you have survey, engage an architect
- Understand the planning regulations involved
- Do your research
Engaging a surveyor at the beginning of the planning process is often essential for many developments.
Once the surveying work is complete, an architect can be hired and offered a complete picture of the property. While the architect will know the planning regulations and restrictions for the area, it’s important to do the research and have a clear understanding yourself.
Putting in the effort early in the process to know the property and know the regulations can save time and money in the future.