Compass Surveying specializes in preparing ALTA / NSPS Land Title Surveys (ALTA Surveys) for the purchase, sale or financing of commercial and industrial property, multi-family residential developments and large tracts of vacant land and performs several hundred ALTA Surveys each year.

At Compass, all field and office work is carefully performed by us in accordance with the 2016 ALTA / NSPS Land Title Survey Standards and Specifications.

What is an ALTA Survey?

An ALTA Survey is the “Gold Standard” of land surveys, performed to nationally recognized standards, as adopted by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS).

ALTA Surveys not only delineate the property boundary, but also include the location of all above ground improvements on the property, including buildings, structures, fences, parking facilities and roadways, along with the location of all access, utility and other easements of record falling within the property, as identified in the current title commitment.

Why is an ALTA Survey Needed?

ALTA Surveys are required by the title company when they are asked to issue extended coverage over the “standard survey exception”. Typical wording for this exception is: “Claims of parties in possession, boundary line disputes, overlaps, encroachments and any other matters not shown by the public records which would be disclosed by an accurate survey and inspection of the property.”

Once the title company receives an acceptable ALTA / NSPS Land Title Survey, it will waive the standard survey exception and identify the specific items as disclosed by the survey, in their title commitment.

Compass performs the following steps in the preparation of their ALTA Surveys:

  • RESEARCH – We perform extensive research of public and private survey records, including recorded subdivisions, deeds, and easement documents for the subject property as well as adjoining properties.
  • FIELD WORK – Under the direct supervision of a professional land surveyor, our experienced field technicians perform a diligent search for property corners, locating and measuring all monumentation on site as well as adjoining properties, including additional boundary evidence such as fences and improvements. Also, all site improvements such as buildings, walks, drives, parking, and visible utilities are field located and mapped.
  • BOUNDARY RESOLUTION – Our expert professional land surveyors, each with over 30 years of land surveying experience, sort through all measurements, weigh all evidence and develop a defensible opinion as to the location of the boundary lines, applying boundary law principles to arrive at the location that represents the land boundary as established by the original surveyor.
  • SET PROPERTY CORNERS – Under the direction of a professional land surveyor, our experienced field technicians return to the site to set missing property corners and mark existing ones. Fences and improvements near these locations are located and measured.
  • ANALYZE TITLE COMMITMENT – Our expert professional land surveyors, each with over 30 years of land surveying experience, review and analyze all legal descriptions, subdivision plats, roadway dedications and easement documents per the title commitment, identifying those that affect the property and those that do not.
  • PREPARE PLAT – Our experienced CAD technicians, under the direction of our expert professional land surveyors, produce a detailed plat showing the record and measured land boundary, all site improvements, off-site neighboring improvements within 5 feet of property boundary lines, all site improvements and all survey-related encumbrances as disclosed by the title commitment. In addition, all Table A items, as per the agreement, are shown on the survey. The plat is certified to the parties as designated by the client in accordance with the 2016 Standards.

What Determines the Fee for an ALTA Survey?

ALTA Survey fees are determined by the following factors:

  • Complexity of the legal description
    • Is it a metes and bounds or “sectionalized” description?
    • Are there multiple land parcels?
  • Size of Property
    • Is the property one acre or 100 acres?
  • Location
    • Is the property over 20 miles away?
  • Site conditions
    • Is the property a swamp?
    • Is the property heavily wooded?
    • Is the property under construction?
  • Weather conditions
    • Are there snow piles?
  • Number of Table A items
    • Did you include only those items needed?
  • Expedited time frames
    • Was enough time allowed to perform the survey?
  • Construction
    • Was there recent roadway construction or utility construction?

We can provide you with a lump sum fee or “not to exceed” budget for your project.

Our usual delivery time frame is 3-4 weeks from authorization, however, we can expedite our work to accommodate your schedule.

ALTA Surveys for Land Development

ALTA Surveys are also used in conjunction with topographic surveys to create an accurate and comprehensive base map, showing all natural and man-made features along with property lines, restrictions, easements, and existing elevations, contours and drainage. This “comprehensive existing conditions” survey is used by civil engineers and architects for the site design for proposed land development projects.

The importance of an ALTA Survey for land development projects cannot be overstated and eliminates the risks associated with inaccurate property line locations and unforeseen easements that can adversely impact project budgets and schedules.

How to Order an ALTA / NSPS Land Title Survey

The following information is needed to order an ALTA Survey:

  • Your timeframe or schedule
  • Optional Table A items as required by the terms of the real estate sales contract
  • The parties to whom the ALTA Survey will be certified
  • A copy of the current title commitment, including survey-related Schedule B documents (if you don’t have a title commitment, we can help you procure one – just ask us how)

Contact one of our expert professional land surveyors to discuss your land survey project or needs or view some of our recent projects here.

Why Choose Compass

  • Over three decades of diverse land surveying experience
  • Unparalleled reputation for accurate, high quality survey work
  • Trusted land boundary consultant for attorneys and title companies
  • Outsource partner for civil engineers
  • Both public and private sector experience
  • Known for meeting demanding schedules and deadlines
  • Lump sum or not to exceed pricing for every project
Call us at (630) 820-9100 or email us today to discuss your next project.

Compass performed ALTA Surveys for Forrestal Village, a 325 acre redevelopment project in North Chicago, IL

Compass performed an ALTA Survey for the Nalco Company Headquarters in Naperville, IL

Compass performed surveys for all phases of the Baha’i House of Worship rehabilitation, Wilmette, IL

Compass performed surveys for Annie Swift Hall at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL