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If you’re buying a property with the intention of developing or significantly renovating, you need to know about land surveying.

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You’ve probably seen surveyors in the field as you drive to work. They’re the ones in hard hats who’re often looking through telescopic machines set on tripods – gazing to the horizon or concentrating on a height staff being held by their apprentice.

Land surveyors actually work on a diverse variety of projects from planning and design of new or existing infrastructure, land and building development, construction (buildings, roads, bridges, sports fields, farming, etc.), to monitoring and environmental measuring.

They’re experts in determining land size and measurements, as well as topographic heights. The surveyor gives advice and provides information to guide the work of engineers, architects, town planners, geologists and developers. They also work with all levels of government as well as service authorities such as water, sewer and power authorities.

Surveyors are often the first people on any construction or development site, measuring and mapping the land. Their measurements are then used by architects to understand and make the most of the landscape when designing, and engineers to plan structures accurately and safely – ensuring buildings not only fit with the landscape but are able to be constructed.

Their work forms the foundational information upon which many of plans are created to ensure the form and function of projects meet the brief.

Why do renovators and developers need their land surveyed?

Accurately understanding the dimension and topography of any site is key to ensuring what you plan to achieve will comply with building guidelines, town plans and the end goal of your project.

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For example, if your structural renovation or development project requires constructing new rooms or additional dwellings after subdividing a block, you need to understand whether everything will fit on the site. You must also ensure you adhere to all town planning codes, like the wall distance from property’s boundary line.

In addition, if you’re proposing to build, renovate, develop, subdivide, or change the land use, a planning permit might be required. These are lodged with the relevant local government department and are assessed against the land zoning, permitted land uses, overlays, municipal strategic statements and various other planning documents. To make your case, a professional survey is going to be mandatory.

It’s important to understand there are a whole host of different zones that allow for different land uses to be conducted. There also may be overlays such as wildfire, heritage, vegetation protection on the land as well as particular local provisions such as minimum and maximum land size for subdivision, building heights and plot ratio that you need to know. Having your boundary lines and topographic heights accurately measured on a plan ensures you can address and accommodate all of these issues while still completing the project you plan.