LSAW - WA LSAW - Land Surveyors' Association of Washington
Land Surveyors' Association of Washington
Professional Surveyors


Protect your investment by retaining the services of a Professional Land Surveyor prior to the planning and design of your development.

What can a professional land surveyor do for you?

Your land surveyor renders a highly technical and complex service. This work is the foundation upon which your project is built. In cases of controversy, a land surveyor may appear in court on your behalf as an expert witness or provide written legal opinions on why a dispute about a boundary exists.

Many land surveyors act on behalf of clients at public hearings and meetings when city or county permit approval is required for developments. They may also participate with other consultants in the preparation of feasibility reports for complex projects.

Members of LSAW adhere to a strong Code of Ethics and are committed to the highest standards in protecting the interests of the public while establishing and evaluating land boundaries and laying out construction improvements.

Who can perform a land survey?

In the State of Washington only a licensed Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) can perform a land survey. The field of surveying requires expertise in real property law, public records research, evaluation of historical survey evidence, mathematics, statistics, measurement systems, planning regulations and current computer technologies. The Professional Land Surveyor is a highly specialized individual, whose education, experience, and competence have been rigorously examined and who has been licensed by the State of Washington to practice land surveying.

Survey Types

Boundary Survey

A survey made for the purpose of establishing or reestablishing property boundary lines upon the ground or to obtain data for making a map showing boundary lines.

Topographic Survey

A graphic representation of physical features of the land depicting natural and man-made features, such as fences, buildings, utilities, hills, valleys, streams, lakes and roads.

Subdivision Survey

A survey made for the purpose of dividing a tract of land into smaller parcels, showing monumentation and survey data on a map, in conformance with governing agencies.

Construction Survey

Construction staking to establish the correct location of proposed structures shown on engineering design plans for constructing roads, pipelines, buildings and other improvements.

ALTA /ACSM Land Title Survey

A survey for the purpose of supplying a title company and lender with the information necessary for issuing American Land Title Association or Extended Coverage Title Insurance.

When is a survey advisable?

  • A survey should be performed when any of the following situations arise:
  • The title to land is to be transferred and the land is not clearly defined by plat, description or location on the ground.
  • Land is to be divided by land contract, will, deed, court order or desire of the owner.
  • Land is to be improved by the construction of buildings, roads, fences, lakes, etc.
  • There is a boundary dispute between you and your neighbor, or you believe someone is encroaching upon your land.
  • There is a reason to believe the description, plat or location of any property line or corner is incorrect.

How much should a survey cost?

The cost of a survey depends on many factors, such as the type of survey needed, the time required to perform the survey and the preparation of necessary plats and descriptions.

It is not uncommon for a professional surveyor to furnish a client with a range depending upon the variables described below. A surveyor should be selected based upon competency, reputation, education and experience. Some variables which affect the cost of a land survey are:

Terrain & Accessibility

A level, open field is much easier to survey than a wooded, hilly tract of land.

Time of Year

Dense vegetation in summer often restricts the line of sight. Snow in winter may conceal field evidence.

Size & Shape

An irregularly shaped tract of land has more corners and a longer perimeter than a square containing the same area.

Field Evidence

The presence of existing survey monuments in the area aid the surveyor, and their absence makes the survey more difficult.


Often the legal description of the property to be surveyed or those of the neighboring properties may be too vague, incomplete, contradictory or mathematically inaccurate.