Frequently asked questions

Sometimes, it can be hard to know exactly what kind of survey or service you need. We’ve put together some of our most common questions and answers here to set you up for success. Got further questions or need clarification on something? Get in touch with our friendly team.

Do you need to come to my property in order to provide me with a quote?

In most cases, no. However, if the site or the job is particularly complicated, we will arrange a site meeting with you to ensure the most cost-effective quote.

Do I need to be at home when you do the survey?

Generally, no. Usually we only need to be on the outside of your house when completing the survey. You will be notified if we need to come inside. If you have a dog, you will need to safely secure it before we arrive.

What is an Identification (Ident) Survey?

An Identification (Ident) Survey identifies the position of existing buildings, fences, and other improvements on a parcel of land as well as any easements and encumbrances that may exist on the Certificate of Title. An Ident provides peace of mind when buying a property. The legal principle of Caveat Emptor (i.e. let the buyer beware) applies to all property transactions and an Identification Survey can help you identify any problems that may arise in the future. Only a Registered Surveyor can carry out an Identification Survey. Remember, the fee for an Identification Survey generally represents less than 0.1% of the purchase price of your home, a small cost to ensure a worry-free transaction during one of the biggest purchases you may ever make.

Do you need to come inside my house when completing the survey?

No, in the case of detail and level surveys, set-outs, identifications surveys etc., we do not need to gain access to the inside of your property. In the instance where we are completing an internal survey or a survey of a party wall in a terrace or semi-detached dwelling, then we will need to come inside but a suitable time will be arranged with you before coming to site.

I am buying a property and I am concerned that the garage is over the boundary. What should I do?

You should engage a Registered Surveyor to undertake an Identification Survey (Ident) before purchasing any property. Most solicitors should obtain an Ident as a matter of course. This will identify any problems with the Title and the position of the buildings on the Property i.e. the Ident will confirm whether your garage is over the boundary.

I am building right on the boundary, do I need to get a survey done?

Absolutely. It is an absolute necessity to engage a Registered Surveyor when building on, or near, the boundary. The ramifications of building over the boundary or within the approved offsets may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to remedy and may result in a demolition order. Engaging a Surveyor to perform any set-out works reduces any concerns in regards to building in close proximity to the boundary

Is my fence the boundary?

No. Only a Registered Surveyor can indicate the position of your boundary by placing survey marks at the corners of your property.

My neighbour says the fence is in the wrong place and wants to replace it. What should I do?

Initially, you should engage a Registered Surveyor to mark the boundaries in order for the new fence to be built in the correct location and to confirm the position of the existing fence in relation to the boundaries. Then you can negotiate with your neighbour in regards to the type and cost of the new fence. Some fences may also need Council approval. There is Legislation in place (the Dividing Fences Act 1991 (NSW)) which is designed to assist in the negotiation process and give direction in terms of distribution of costs, carrying out the work and resolving disputes.

What is the difference between a DA and a CDC?

A DA (Development Application) refers to the process where Development Consent is required from Council in order to build something on your property e.g. a new house, an extension or a deck. In some instances where strict, pre-determined criteria are met and the property is in the appropriate area and land-use zones, a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) may be obtained from either the Council or an accredited private Certifier. Complying Development is designed to fast track low-impact forms of development that meet pre-determined criteria. The CDC application must be determined within 1 week. It is important at the quoting stage that you inform us if your development is going through the DA process or as a CDC.

How do I know if a CDC Development can be carried out on my property?

To check on your property’s eligibility for a CDC, you can order a Section 149 Planning Certificate from your appropriate Council. The Sec 149 Certificate confirms the zoning and applicable rules for development of your property as well as State and Local Planning Controls.

I have been told I need a topographical survey/detail survey/level survey/contour survey/site plan, what does this mean?

They all describe the same type of survey – a Detail and Level Survey. They are usually done for design and assessment purposes. They are often requested by the Architect or Designer before they commence drawing plans for renovations or improvements. A CMS Surveyors Detail and Level Survey will show information including location of existing buildings, the levels of the land, location of features including trees, rock ledges, adjoining buildings and other improvements on the subject property. The amount of work required to complete the survey (and subsequently, the quotation for the survey) can vary depending upon the terrain of the property and the proposed site works. CMS Surveyors are renowned for the quality and amount of detail in our surveys, an example of which is below.

What is a Construction Certificate?

A Construction Certificate (CC) must be obtained before the commencement of any building works. It can either be issued by Council or an accredited private Certifier. The issuer of the CC verifies that the proposed works comply with the Development Consent, appropriate Australian Standards, Council’s policies and the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The Certifier will also carry out all necessary inspections throughout the build. The general timing is that after you have DA approval and all construction documentation finalised, the CC is then obtained.

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