Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a land surveyor?

The Association of Manitoba Land Surveyors is a professional, self-governing body, which receives its direction from The Land Surveyors Act of Manitoba. The land surveying profession regulates the practice of land surveying for the protection of the public. Land surveyors are the only persons in Manitoba, recognized by law, to provide an expert opinion on the location of property boundaries and the position of items in relation to these boundaries. The land surveyor plays a quasi-judicial role when formulating his/her opinion. This opinion is usually based on locating survey evidence in the field with measurements, and researching documentary evidence in the form of survey plans, certificates of title/deeds and field notes of surveyors.

How much does a survey cost?

The cost of a survey is dependent upon the legal description of the property. The legal description is how your property is described on your deed or Certificate of Title.  This legal description dictates how the land surveyor will have to survey your lot. The type of survey will also have an impact on the cost of the survey.  There are many different types of surveys, depending on your needs, and some take longer to complete than others. The location of your property also plays a role in determining the cost of the survey. If the survey is close to the surveyor's office, travel costs will be a minimum. If the project site is a great distance from the surveyor's office, the fee to survey the property will be more to cover the additional time and travel expenses to the site. To determine what type of survey you may need and the cost of surveying your property, give us a call with your legal description and civic address and we will gladly provide you with a cost estimate.

What is a Building Location Certificate (BLC)?

A Building Location Certificate or BLC is a legal document prepared by a Manitoba Land Surveyor, which shows the dimensions of the property and the location of buildings and other structures on a particular property relative to the property boundaries.  This document reports on any encroachments onto or from adjoining properties.  Survey monuments are NOT placed at the corners of the property unless specifically requested. Except for the Certificate of Title or the Deed to a property, the Building Location Certificate is the most important document to guarantee the ownership of your property.  It protects you, as a purchaser, by warning you of any restrictions in the physical extent of the property.

Why be concerned with Zoning?

Many cities, municipalities and government agencies  have restrictions on the location of buildings and other structures, such as decks, within a property.  The BLC provides the required information for the authority to determine if the property complies with the applicable zoning by-laws.  It may be discovered that the addition on your house is too close to the property line and may have to be removed or that due to your deck height, it is located too close to the property line and now has to be removed or altered.

For more on zoning, contact your local zoning officials:  Click here

Why do I need a Building Location Certificate to Secure a Mortgage?

Many lending institutions require an up to date BLC before granting a mortgage.  This is to ensure that their investment, as well as your own, is protected.  Should the financial institution have to foreclose on the mortgage, at some point in the future, this document provides the financial institution with confirmation that the house being purchased is in fact on the correct property.  The mortgage is registered against your Certificate of Title, but if the house you purchased does not match the legal description of the Certificate of Title, the financial institution could in theory be foreclosing on a vacant piece of land.    When you purchase a home, usually most of the value of the property is in the house and not in the land.  Therefore, if the financial institution had to foreclose on the mortgage, they want to know that they could sell the house to recoup their money.  

The BLC also provides the lending institution with information about encroachments or other problems that may be encountered in the event of a foreclosure.  The problems may cost considerable amounts of money to rectify, therefore it makes sense for the lending institutions to know this information prior to financing a purchase.

This also applies to the home purchaser.  An encroachment from a neighbour onto your property may restrict your full use and enjoyment of the property.  An encroachment from your property onto a neighbour's property may lead to an expense and much effort to remove it.  Realizing these things at the outset may influence your decision to purchase a home or piece of property, or at least eliminate any surprises later.  

Many people spend hundreds of dollars to have a home inspection company send someone to a home and prepare a report about the house prior to agreeing to the purchase.  People often write this into their "offer to purchase" as a condition that the home inspection meets their satisfaction.  This is because people realize that they are not experts at plumbing, electrical, or foundations and therefore hire experts to provide them with the information about the property that they can not see or understand.

You can think of a Land Surveyor in the same light when he prepares a BLC for a potential purchaser of a property.  The land surveyor is providing you with valuable information about a property prior to agreeing to purchase it.  Should the property have problems such as wall encroachments, fence encroachments, eave encroachments or many other problems that are uncovered every day by land surveyors, these things may end up costing money to rectify and may influence your decision to buy a property.

What is an Easement?

Easements are the right of one person or entity to use a piece of land of another.  Some properties are affected by easements, which can restrict the use of the property.  A neighbour may have an easement over your property to gain access to his or her property.  Similarly, a utility company may have an easement for an underground utility line or have an easement over a portion of your land in which they plan to bury a utility line.  These easements may restrict your building any structures on the land, over the easement areas, curtailing your plan to build a garage in the future.

Why do I need a Lot Grade Design?

Lot grade designs are usually required as part of an application for a building permit for new construction of a building on a property or during any renovations. Lot grade designs may also be requested for demolition permits. The primary purpose of a lot grade design is to ensure proper land drainage. This usually involves completing an elevation survey or geodetic survey of the property and portions of neighbouring properties to ensure land drainage does not adversely affect the properties.  

Do you have a surveying related question? 

Call us, and we will gladly answer all of your questions regarding anything from small residential to large commercial properties. 1-204-284-5999 or toll free 1-800-665-6609