We have a boundary issue with a new development next door. What can we do?
Property Clinic: The onus is on the developer to verify the boundary location prior to making an application
‘Your geomatics surveyor will survey the site and prepare a survey map accordingly.’ Photograph: iStock
We have a boundary dispute following a nearby development (which has planning issues). We are contending where the boundary is whilst they say otherwise. I read about a Ground Truth Survey. Should we get one done and what would it cost approximately?
It is unfortunate that the boundary between your respective properties was not determined and marked out on site at, or before, the design stage of the development.
The ground truth survey you refer to is a survey carried out on site by geomatics surveyors with conventional surveying instruments. Its purpose is to accurately and definitively measure and map the various physical features on the site and to use the map produced to verify the accuracy of corresponding information obtained by remote sensing methods such as aerial photography and satellite imagery.
You have not indicated the extent of the boundary in question, or the nature of the available information or site details, on which you are basing your interpretation of the boundary. You mention that the development has planning issues. If you have evidence that the development has encroached on your property you should liaise with the planning authority as the developer does not appear to have complied with the requirements of the planning application by producing evidence of your consent to include a portion of your property in the development. The onus is on the developer to verify the location of the boundary between the respective properties prior to making the application.
Your best option may be to engage a chartered geomatics surveyor, outline the issues of concern and provide him/her with any relevant documentation in your possession. The deed and deed map are the key documents which determine the extent of your property and therefore the location of your boundary. If the title to your property is registered, your Land Registry map may be of use to the surveyor, but it should be noted that its boundaries are not conclusive.
Your geomatics surveyor will survey the site and prepare a survey map accordingly. He/she will use the survey, your deed map and other relevant information, including information obtained by remote sensing, if available and useful, to determine the location of the boundary to your property and will show this boundary on the map prepared from their survey. Part of the surveyor’s brief will be to mark out this boundary on the site. If requested, your surveyor will liaise with the developer and seek agreement on the boundary as marked out. If the developer refuses to accept the surveyor’s findings you should seek legal advice and present your solicitor with the surveyor’s map which should have the boundary clearly delineated.
From the information provided it would not be possible to estimate the cost of the survey. Factors including the extent of the boundary, the amount of features details to be surveyed, accessibility to the various features, processing of data and preparation of the map, research and interpretation of documentation including deed and deed map, determination of the boundary line on the final map and marking out the boundary line on the site, are all variable factors in terms of time and/or complexity and are therefore the primary determinants of cost.
If requested, your geomatics surveyors will provide you with an estimation of cost when he/she has been initially briefed on the nature and extent of the site. Irrespective of whether it is a relatively small area, requiring an input of hours rather than days, or a more complex project, you are likely to require the assistance of a geomatics surveyor in order to interpret the information, deal effectively with the developer and to ensure that, if you require legal advice, you will have a professionally prepared boundary map that will inform your solicitor and enable him/her to give you better and definitive advice.
Patrick Shine is a chartered geomatics surveyor, a chartered civil engineer and a member of SCSI, scsi.ie