Surveying Services - The Degree of Difference

Contact A Surveyor     Subdivision of Land     A Career in Surveying

Contact A Surveyor

The importance and numerous benefits of consulting a surveyor

Contact a surveyor when:

Buying or selling

Before purchasing or selling land it is wise to contact a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor.  Only a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor is qualified to define the physical boundaries of land.   Indeed, the certificates of title issued to landowners are based upon accurate surveys conducted by Licensed Cadastral Surveyors.

Licensed Cadastral Surveyors are qualified to investigate and advise you concerning a wide range of easements, rights and encumbrances which may attach to your land or land in which you are interested.
Your surveyor can help you avoid costly encroachment disputes by replacing missing pegs and determining whether the boundary pegs you have found for your property are properly positioned.
Unit titles permit individuals to secure title to a portion of a building.   This system is dependent on the preparation by surveyors of plans which illustrate the ownership of flats, carports or garages and areas of common property.   Such plans, when deposited in the office of the District Land Registrar, provide the basis for readily negotiable title documents providing evidence of ownership.

If you have plans to build, contact a surveyor before design commences to obtain accurate site information and levels.   Your surveyor will ensure your building or fence is constructed in the right place, does not encroach on another person's land and is level and takes the shape you intended.


It should be noted that building encroachment disputes may result where a surveyor has not been consulted to redefine the boundaries of your land prior to construction.   Such disputes often lead to considerable litigation expense and ill-will between neighbours.   Where encroachment has already occurred your surveyor can help rectify the problem.

The training and experience of your surveyor may be of considerable assistance to your other professional advisors at all stages in the development of a building concept, preparation of feasibility studies and the obtaining of statutory consents.

Your surveyor will prepare all plans necessary for obtaining required easements, including rights-of-way and drainage easements as well as definition of height restrictions and restrictive covenants.

Development and conservation

Surveyors are well qualified to advise you on all aspects of land development, including utilisation of difficult building sites.   In recognition of their specialised training and unique involvement with land matters, land surveyors have become principal advisors to the land development industry in New Zealand.

Surveyors make an important contribution at all phases of development from preliminary survey through concept formulation, planning, design and construction to preparation of final legal plans.
Surveyors utilise these skills for a range of conservation and recreational projects as well as industrial, commercial and residential developments.

Surveyors are indispensable members of the development team for large projects and are frequently the logical choice for the role of project manager.


The involvement of a surveyor is essential for all engineering projects whether they be large or small.   The following highlights some of the indispensable services of surveyors on typical engineering projects:

At the concept stage, surveyors prepare preliminary plans for discussion and concept development.

At the design stage, surveyors conduct detailed and precise surveys upon which the project design is based.

At the construction stage, surveyors set out the precise location of all construction work to a critically high standard of accuracy.

Throughout the project, surveyors continuously monitor all measurements and the positioning of the structure under construction to avoid the need to expensive remedial measures.   This type of survey work requires not only skill in measurement, but also the resourcefulness and experience provided by professionally qualified surveyors.

Engineering and design surveys

Surveyors undertake detailed engineering surveys and design for road construction, tunnels, storm water and sewer drainage, water supply reticulation and general site investigations for engineering works.

Structural works

With the aid of modern optical and electronic instruments, a surveyor can assist on major structural works and high-rise buildings.   Matters relating to definition of boundaries, setting out of the foundations, control of steel fabrication, site construction and building verticality, site drainage, services, access, design and preparation of plans should be referred to a surveyor.   Subsequently, the surveyor will monitor deformation and settling of large structures and ground formations.   Most large-scale engineering projects utilise a surveyor when a basis of accurate measurement is required in the planning stages and when precise control is essential during the construction of works.   Your surveyor will also ensure precise alignment and leveling of large machinery such as rolling mills, lathes, extrusion plants and saw mills.


A surveyor can provide assistance on roading drainage requirements, carriageway width, location, orientation and shape and streets and footpath design within subdivisions.   Knowledge of both rural and urban roading requirements are within the surveyors capabilities.

Surveyors are typically involved in the design and planning of railway routes and motorway development.
Surveyors have an important role to play in airport runway construction control and the precise positioning of runway lights and other landing navigational aids.


The most economic layout of services can be planned in consultation with a surveyor: location of water mains and water connections, sewer services or septic tanks, storm water drainage, power, telephone and gas services.   Surveyors prepare working drawings for such projects and are able to supervise the works and administer the contract.   A surveyor is familiar with the provisions of relevant legislation and district schemes, and is fully capable of preparing plans within the framework of these controlling enactments.

Prospecting and mining

Apart from their legal function in preparing maps and plans required for the issue of mining privileges, surveyors are able to provide a variety of other specialist and supervisory services to the mining industry including

Within the petrochemical industry surveyors provide expert service in surveying of pipeline reticulation of petroleum and natural gas products including such services as

- Route location
- Demarcation of routes
- Negotiation of routes
- Easement surveys
- Survey of pipe locations
- Recording of positions

Farming, forestry and horticulture

In addition to their expertise in land measurement, boundary determination and title documentation, surveyors are well qualified to counsel clients on land use matters relating to the agricultural, horticultural, forestry and fishing industries:

Your surveyor has specialised skills to advise on land assessment and setting out fences, water supply, dams, culverts and bridges where location or level is critical.   Undertaking mapping projects, and classification and management of land is also within the scope of a surveyors skills.

A service of great value to rural clients provided by the surveying profession is that of aerial surveys.   Among the numerous uses of photo interpretation are


As a professional experienced in all phases of urban subdivision development, your surveyor is the logical person to organise and coordinate all aspects of the project.   Land development teams headed by surveyors may include input from some or all of the following experts: architect, landscape architect, civil engineer, geotechnical expert, geologist, solicitor, financial advisor, planner, valuer, soils scientist and property manager.


A surveyor must complete a four year Bachelor of Surveying degree and two years post-graduate practical experience before being eligible for registration under the Surveyors Act.   Upon registration, the surveyor becomes a member of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors which promotes high ethical standards and maintains firm regulation of professional responsibility.

Subdivision of Land

The use of a Surveyor is most important in subdividing your land.

A subdivision takes place when existing parcels or blocks of land are divided into smaller parcels, when a building is divided into parts for sale or long term lease, or when an existing boundary is altered. The full definition is set out in Section 218 of the Resource Management Act.

The process of subdivision is an important part of providing for a growing community.
In New Zealand only Licensed Cadastral Surveyors are legally permitted to undertake the subdivision of land or the marking of a boundary.   Their years of training make surveyors the true “land professionals.”

Contact your surveyor first

A Surveyor can guide you through the entire process of subdivision, managing the project and coordinating the work of other professionals.

The subdivision process
The application

A subdivision requires the consent of the local authority under the Resource Management Act.   While any person may submit a Resource Consent application, surveyors are familiar with the requirements of the District Plan in your area. Engaging a surveyor could avoid costly delays or lengthy consultation with the local authority.

The local authority has 20 working days to consider an application once it has all the required information.   The use of a surveyor usually ensures that all the information needed by the local authority is contained in the application, thus avoiding processing delays.

An application that complies with the District Plan will receive consent, which may be subject to conditions.   Your surveyor is the best person to advise you of likely conditions, check that any conditions imposed are reasonable and valid, and submit any appeals.

The Formal Survey

After the local authority has granted consent to the application for subdivision, a formal survey must be carried out by a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor.   To proceed, the surveyor you engage to carry out the survey must have a copy of the application and the local authority consent.

The surveyor will obtain all the relevant data, including survey plans, certificates of title and any other pertinent legal instruments to enable the survey to be completed.   At the site the surveyor undertakes the field work.   The first task is the location of old survey marks that may be on site or remote from the survey.   Highly accurate survey equipment is used to provide precise measurements to connect the old marks to the new survey work.   These measurements confirm an exact match with adjacent properties.

Once the surveyor is satisfied that the survey is correct, the final boundary marks are placed and a plan is drawn of the survey.   This plan will form part of the official survey record of New Zealand.

Formal Approval

The survey plan is submitted to the local authority for formal approval under the Resource Management Act.   By now you, as applicant, should have complied with any conditions that may have been part of the subdivision consent.   If you have still to comply with the conditions, the formal approval of the plan may be delayed, or you will have to enter into an arrangement with the local authority to complete them.

After the plan has been formally approved by the local authority, it has to be signed by the registered owners.   It can now be lodged with Land Information New Zealand for issue of title.

Plan Examination and Approval

Land Information New Zealand will review the plans and rule on any conflicts reported by the survey, before approving the plan for the issue of title.   The work of Accredited Surveyors is approved immediately.

The Issue of Title

The plan is submitted to the District Land Registrar who will sign and deposit it only after all legal requirements have been met.   Titles can then be issued to the new owners.

Parallel Processing

For faster processing, Land Information New Zealand now simultaneously examines the plan and deposit documents if they are lodged together.   This procedure requires consultation between your surveyor and solicitor.

A Career in Surveying

What is Surveying and what do they do

Surveyors - Opening up your World

The well-being of Planet Earth is shaping up as the major concern of the 21st Century...

Our future is dependent on how well we learn to manage our most basic resource: the planet beneath our feet.
The question is: how do we make decisions about managing an entire planet?

Before you can make any decision you need information ...

And that's where surveying comes in ...

Surveying is the science of land measurement - identifying its size, features and boundaries on any scale, from the entire Planet to someone's backyard.

At heart it is about ensuring the orderly development of human society by resolving issues of land use and development.

It's a mix of art and science that puts surveyors at the leading edge of events.

For over a century New Zealand surveyors have been so highly regarded they have been in demand all around the world.

And as we search for ever new ways to manage the resources of the planet surveyors will continue to be found at the forefront of development, whether on land, at sea, above or beneath, the Earth's surface.

The Surveyor's Role

Land surveying spans everything from astronomy to the positioning of telephone cables in your local street ... It is a practical science that is giving surveyors a central place in defining the shape of the world in the 21st century.

Wherever you go in New Zealand a surveyor has been in the area before you. You've probably seen a trig station on a hilltop or noticed a surveyor looking through an instrument on top of a tripod.   Surveyors measure the shape and dimensions of land in cities, towns, the countryside, remote bush areas, at sea, from the air, and underground.   Surveyors are trained in all aspects of their profession, but you may choose to specialise.

The things you'll need if you'd like a career in surveying

What sort of person should you be?

For more information please visit
NZ Institute of Surveyors
Otago University Department of Surveying
Industry Training Organisation
Land Information NZ
New Zealand Geographic Place-Names Database

Prepared by the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors