Four Points Surveying Engineering, Steamboat Springs, CO

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Improvement Location Certificate (ILC Surveys)

These certificates are typically used in order for mortgage and/or title companies to have some assurance that the improvements to a property are not encroaching into an easement or beyond the property lines. Easements of public record are shown graphically, which may delineate areas of land that belong to the property owner, but in which other parties; such as utility companies, may have limited rights.


Improvement Location Certificates are certified by a licensed surveyor for the benefit of mortgage companies and title insurance companies, but are not surveys in the strict sense of the word. Before a mortgage or title insurance is issued, the interested parties want to have some assurance that the improvements on the subject property do not encroach onto adjoining properties, and that neighboring improvements do not encroach onto the subject property. In most cases an Improvement Location Certificate will be sufficient to show the relationship (location) of the structures (improvements) to the deed lines as described in the legal description. Distances from the major structures to the nearest deed lines will be shown. This information can show encroachments onto other properties or into areas reserved for easements.


The dimensions shown usually have a tolerance indicating that the measurements are not exact. The field methods employed for an Improvement Location Certificate are often not sufficient to precisely locate the deed line. If it is concluded that encroachments may exist but cannot be ascertained by the preparation of an Improvement Location Certificate, a note suggesting the preparation of a monumented land survey or land survey plat, to determine property line location, may be included. Since the majority of properties clearly have no encroachments, the Improvement Location Certificate provides a way of meeting the needs of the mortgage company and title company without the expense of a monumented land survey. However, the certificate does state that the ILC is not to be relied upon for the establishment of fences, buildings, or other future improvements.


Improvement Survey Plat

An improvement survey plat is simply a land survey plat with additional information. All property corners will be found or set with permanent monuments and evidence used in establishing the property corners will be shown on the survey. The survey also shows the location of all structures (improvements) situated on the subject parcel, easements, visible encroachments, and any fences, hedges, or walls on or within five feet of both sides of all boundaries of the subject parcel. In addition, the improvement survey plat must show the location on the subject parcel of all visible utilities and underground utilities for which there is visible surface evidence. It may also show the location of easements, underground utilities for which record evidence (such as a legal description) is available from the county clerk and recorder, or for which information is available from the appropriate utility company. Topographic contours are an optional item and can be added upon request.


Land Survey Plat

The land survey plat includes several items as set forth in the Colorado Revised Statutes 38-51-106. These items include a scale drawing of the boundaries of the parcel, all dimensions necessary to establish the boundary in the field, a description of all monuments - both found and set- which mark the boundaries of the property, a description of all control monuments used in conducting the survey, a basis of the bearings used, and any conflicting boundary evidence. The land survey plat will also include a statement by the surveyor that the survey was performed either by him or under his direct responsibility, supervision, and checking.


The land survey plat is a map of a monumented land survey, which is deposited in the public office designated by the county commissioners. One of the purposes of recording this information is to provide survey data for subsequent land surveys. It also makes the results of the monumented land survey a matter of public record, which may help to protect your interests in the property. When a Monumented Land Survey is performed on a parcel located within a platted subdivision over twenty years old or on a parcel of unplatted land, Colorado Revised Statutes require the preparation of a recordable mylar of the land survey plat in conjunction with a monumented land survey.


ALTA / ASCM Survey

An ALTA survey is a boundary survey prepared to a set of minimum standards that have been jointly prepared and adopted by the ALTA/ACSM. Additionally, an ALTA survey shows improvements, easements, rights-ofway, and other elements impacting the ownership of land. An ALTA Survey is often prepared for commercial properties, as it will provide the title company with the information required to insure the title to the land and improvements to the high degree that a commercial development may require. In addition to the minimum standards set forth, a table of optional elements is included in the ALTA/ACSM standards. A careful review of the elements from the optional "Table A" is helpful in delineating a clear scope of the land surveyor's services.


A current title commitment is required before an ALTA Survey can be completed. The surveyor will refer to the

title commitment for the legal description of the property and for the legal description of any encumbrances

(exceptions). Areas of ownership, improvements and encumbrances will be shown graphically. If the survey discovers any encroachments, they should be shown graphically, and a note indicating the nature of the encroachment may also be added.


The certification language of the ALTA Survey should include the names of the affected parties; including as appropriate the buyer, seller, title company, and lender. The surveyor must work in close association with the title insurance company, as the surveyor and the title company are relying on each other’s work to show the matters affecting the ownership of the land and improvements in a comprehensive manner.


Condominium Maps


Condominium maps are maps prepared by a surveyor with the intent of dividing a building into individual units that can be bought and sold. This is similar to a subdivision plat, which takes a large piece of land and divides it into lots, rights-of-way and other elements; however, a subdivision plat divides parcels of land, while a condominium map divides a building. The building is generally divided into two categories:

  • 1. General Common Elements
  • 2. Limited Common Elements


General Common Elements are areas of common ownership, such as hallways and staircases. Limited Common Elements are areas available for private ownership, such as a particular unit or parking space. The surveyor's role in the condominium map is to prepare a map that shows, graphically and with dimensions, the areas and volumes (airspace) of the General Common Elements and the Limited Common Elements. The Condominium Map is filed with the subdivision plats at the appropriate county office. Condominiums are often subject to state statutory requirements and may be subject to a local review process as well.



Topographic Maps


A topographic map ('topo') is a site map showing the topographic features of a site by way of contour lines.


Topographic features include ditches, roadways, drainage patterns, location of rock outcroppings, vegetation and other natural features. The map may also include artificial features such as buildings, utility locations,detention ponds and other features which would affect  engineering design on the site.


The topographic map is prepared by gathering horizontal and vertical information in the form of XYZ coordinates. For smaller sites, the information may be gathered by traditional survey methods using a robotic instrument or GPS. For sites over fifty acres, it may be more cost-effective and produce better results to use aerial mapping methods. A topographic map is often requested by engineers, architects or building contractors who need to know information about overall site grade and elevations. This information may be used to determine placement of site improvements, estimate the volume of dirt to be moved, or for many other construction and development purposes.

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