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We often are asked questions from people unfamiliar with the survey process. These are some of the most popular ones.

Prepared by a licensed land surveyor, surveys depict the horizontal measurement of a property, showing its location with reference to known monuments or points, dimensions and locations of any improvements (ie. houses, buildings or other structures). There are many types of surveys, including but not limited to topographic, boundary, ALTA/ACSM, utility location, and construction staking. Depending on the site and individual client needs, those in the market for a survey may need any combination of these.

Duration really depends on the complexity of the survey, however, the average timeline is usually a few weeks from beginning through to completion for a smaller scale residential project. While every case is different, the typical process of obtaining a survey from ALS is explained below.

Land surveying is considered the second oldest profession in the world, making it an integral part of the development process. To be a licensed land surveyor, skills in mathematics, physics, and cartography are required to complete precise work. Anyone who is developing property, either residential or commercial, needs a land survey to help plan and organize development by taking into account the shape of the land. It is also important from a legal standpoint and when establishing property ownership and defining boundaries. There are many reasons why someone would need a survey, however, some of the most common ones are as follows:

  • Buying/Selling: A land title is to be transferred and the property is not clearly defined by plat, description or location on the ground.
  • Subdivision: A property is to be divided by land contract, will, deed, court order, or desire of the owner.
  • Development: Plans for improvement by the construction of buildings, roads, fences, lakes, etc. are in the works.
  • Boundary Dispute: When there is a boundary dispute, or someone is encroaching on one’s property.
  • Discrepancy: There is a reason to believe the description, plat, or location of any property line or corner is incorrect. Also, when verifying that all improvements on the property are not conflicting, encroaching with building setbacks, easements, and or boundary lines.
  • Permitting: A lending institution or local municipality requires a land survey when refinancing as well as applying for a loan or a construction permit.

If you have more questions regarding the reasons for getting a survey, please check out the many services we offer on our website or contact us at 206.326.9912 or

Costs of surveys are extremely variable and highly dependent on the complexity of a survey. A survey’s complexity depends on several factors, such as the type of survey needed, the time required to perform the survey, and the preparation of necessary plats and descriptions. Some variables which affect the cost of a land survey are as follows:

  • Terrain & Accessibility: Terrain can affect the difficulty of traversing a plot, which affects the time and effort spent in the field. For example, a level, open lawn is much easier to survey than a wooded, hilly tract of land with trees/bushes blocking sightlines and changes in elevation affecting the ability to move between points efficiently. 
  • Weather/Time of Year:  The seasons can also influence how much time is spent on a survey. For example, dense vegetation in summer often restricts the line of sight, resulting in more time spent clearing sightlines, while snow in the winter may conceal field evidence, requiring more time spent searching for corners/physical markers. Additionally, fieldwork can only be done in daylight, so we have to take on less work in the winter months when light is limited, which may increase rates.
  • Size & Shape: An irregularly shaped tract of land has more corners and, therefore, a longer perimeter, taking more time to measure than a square/rectangular shaped lot of the same surface area. This affects the time spent in the field.
  • Pre-existing Evidence: The presence of iron rods, cornerstones, and other monuments in the survey area aid the surveyor, while their absence makes fieldwork more time consuming and difficult.
  • Deeds: Often, the legal descriptions of the plot in question (and neighboring properties) may be vague, incomplete, contradictory, or mathematically inaccurate. This results in more time spent deciphering boundaries.

To get in the estimate, reach out to us through or 206.326.9912 or fill out the following form:

Since our field team is a one to two-man operation, we limit project size to smaller-scale residential and commercial properties. The size we normally work ranges from smaller single-family home designations to multi-family properties. This being said, every site is unique, so feel free to contact us for more clarity on your situation. 

Because we normally only take smaller jobs, our turnaround time is quite fast and efficient. However, there are always exceptions and cases in which there may be delays (as explained above).

Given our size and transitory business model, we cannot justify a physical location, however we often meet with clients near our home base of Edmonds, WA, or over the phone/email. Our client base is all over northwest Washington. Currently, we are providing our services for both residential and smaller commercial projects in Kitsap, Skagit, San Juan, Island, and predominantly in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. This being said, rates may increase for parcels located further from us.