Using a boundary completed by others
From a business standpoint, I am being asked to use a completed boundary survey recently done by another surveyor in which the client has now asked our firm to plat the property. They would like me to use the existing boundary survey as the basis for plat since they have already paid for this service. Having the original surveyor complete the platting process is not an option. How have others handled this?
If you use it, you own it.
1. You have to satisfy yourself that you agree with the boundary depicted by the other surveyor. You're entitled to be paid for what it takes to be satisfied.
2. I'd want a complete explanation why the other surveyor can't do the platting. Maybe I wouldn't want this client after getting the explanation.
As my wife likes to tell the kids - don't borrow trouble. You'll earn plenty on your own.
I have been in this situation several times due to a multitude of fast moving real estate, dead surveyors, cheap-skate clients and property that has lain fallow for a number of years due to economic conditions. Like Tim V. says: If you use it, you own it. Maybe you can use the original boundary, maybe you can't.
But that doesn't necessarily indicate that the original survey is junk. Verification of a boundary is just part of the platting process, no matter which surveyor performed it originally.
Around here the biggest problem I've seen is clients that feel your fees for platting should be somewhat less since they have a recent survey. I hope you explained your fees and the mechanics of the platting process to them.
This is easier if the survey you are following is a signed and sealed public record. As in a recording state. But like Tim and Paden have said, you must verify. That doesn't mean redoing the whole thing. And it doesn't mean quibbling over hundreths.
I do this sort of thing fairly regularly. Some body does a boundary and topo. A building is designed -typically with zero, or near-zero, lot line setbacks. I'm hired to stake the building. I have to verify the boundary before staking. I tell the client that I'm "establishing control" for his project. Then I do what I must.
First off you have to meet with the prior surveyor, with or without the client. Make sure he is aware of the client's intentions. Find out if he is OK with it. It is your responsibility to ask if he has been paid in full. If not, ask why. Whatever he is still owed is a basis to figure out what you will be owed when you to are gone. Do not be afraid to ask what he will share as to his work. Personally I would be more interested in his field book data than his CAD file.
Sometimes you are happy to see clients go, I know I have been. Having worked hard to get it right, I would not want the next guy get it wrong, because that looks badly for me. So I have shared notes, field work books etc. However one client so aggravated me, that he got only what he had paid for and maps and data that was shared with me from other firms was returned 100% directly to those firms. As far as I can tell from observation they built that project completely per my Preliminary Approved Plans, except for the fence around the detention pond. He did not want to put in the fence as I designed it and that was where we separated. Not just that , he did not want to pay for a correct second survey because the survey that he paid for before was the surveyor who agreed to seal for the application did not agree with the Filed Map monuments on three sides. It took me a few years to pay off the surveyor that helped me figure out that mess. I was uncertain if there were problems from the beginning so all designed lots to have enough area allowance for irregularities. You should only learn the hard way once, if not at all.
Paul in PA