ALTA Survey | ALTA Survey Birmingham
ALTA Survey Standards
Birmingham Alabama ALTA Title Survey are completed based on the “Minimum Standard Detail Requirements and Accuracy Standards For ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys.” The ALTA standards were developed and are revised on a regular basis by a combination of Title industry and Surveying industry professionals. The latest version of this document is the 2016 revision.
An ALTA Title Survey is generally similar to a boundary or lot survey on any other piece of property. But, the ALTA survey goes a little farther in the requirements on the land surveyor as he/she carries out the field survey and the the ALTA survey drawing back in the office.
Uses of an ALTA Survey – Commercial Property
ALTA Title Surveys are normally used on commercial or multi-family residential sites or also when either the lender or owner is in another state or jurisdiction. The ALTA standards are a “national standard” for surveying, that are intended to yield a consistent survey no matter what state the work is done in. This makes the survey easier to review by any Title Company. While most States have surveying standards, they vary widely from one state to the other. So, the ALTA standard is used to cut down on this variation.
Without a completed ALTA Survey on a parcel, Title Insurers will not normally insure title for survey related matters that might have been found had the survey been completed for the transaction. This will be called a Title Exception to the Title Policy.
ALTA Survey Costs
Since ALTA Surveys take more time and effort, these surveys typically cost more than a survey done according to a particular state standard. It should be pointed out that if the state standard is more restrictive on a certain point, then the most restrictive standard is required on the survey. I see ALTA surveys priced from 50% to 200% more than a comparable boundary survey. This depends on the items checked in “Table A – Optional Survey Responsibilities and Specifications.” This table adds additional or specific tasks to the surveyor’s scope of work. One item that is usually included with most all ALTA survey requests is Item #1, monuments placed. Most state standards probably include this and, in my opinion, all surveys should, but the ALTA survey leaves this optional unless the item is checked on Table A. This is also one of those items that most state survey standards include.
In regard to this, one of the things I appreciate is that the client is “supposed to” not only fill out this Table A but also to furnish title documents to the surveyor BEFORE he starts the survey. In practice we rarely get the title documents until we issue the first draft of the survey. At that time the documents are sent to us and we are asked to revise the survey and show them. While this is not the way its planned, at least we have the chance to review the documents before issuing the final version of the survey.
“ALTA” in ALTA Title Survey stands for American Land Title Association
So, if you have a commercial parcel or a large multi-family residential complex, you should consider asking for the ALTA survey standards to be used. You should also probably do this if you are considering the purchase or development of a parcel outside your state. Most of the banks will require this if you ask for a loan on this type property, but I recommend this even if the bank doesn’t require it.