Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Know Your Boundaries

This is a very grey area in the world of the Chartered Surveyor, what are your boundaries? - I am talking about the fences, ditches, walls or posts around your property, or in some cases the imaginary line which has become a distant memory over the years of change.

First Steps.......  

There are a number of sources of information, and often a Solicitor is the first call.  Unfortunately this is when the money really starts to disappear, read up on the subject first and consult a wealth of material that is out there:-

www.rics.org this will direct you to the consumer guide for boundary disputes
www.landregistry.gov.uk - this is the primary source for finding your title documents, and the best item to read is Practice Guide 40

Important Points of Consideration


Before you go and put you foot in the neighbours' door claiming adverse possession or boundary encroachment based on a glance over your title documents, and your knowledge of the boundaries, there are certain points to consider:-

1) The red line on your filed title plan is only an general indication of where your boundary should fall.  It is a 'General Boundary' and there is no way to quantify the degree of variation between this red line and the fence running through your back garden.  It is best considered as a starting point for locating your boundary.  As a rule if thumb if there is a boundary feature in the rough area of the red line on your plan it probably is the boundary.

2) The boundary on your field title plan is know as your legal boundary, however the boundary running through your garden is the physical boundary.  In an ideal world these would be as one, but in reality this is almost never the case.

3) When considering the position of a boundary even the worlds best Chartered Surveyors (dare I say us?) are reliant on preexisting information to base their findings.  This is a very grey area as many title documents were prepared on older Ordnance Survey digital mapping which is constantly being updated, therefore your Surveyor will have to bring the existing title documents onto the latest mapping, this process will inherently introduce a degree of error which cannot be avoided.  As a general rule of thumb Ordnance Survey mapping is accurate to around 0.5m (but it is getting better) so you cannot simple assume this to be correct and ask it to be set out then act surprised when it doesn't agree with the true position on the ground.

4) How important is that final 10mm??  Most boundary disputes are driven by psychological factors such as greed and principle.  Often people try to claim land which at the point of purchase they may not even known they legally owned, but on closer inspection of their filed tiled plan they discover that they may be entitled to a little bit more instead of accepting the 'sold as scene' philosophy!

5) It is really worth a dispute with your neighbours over what is really a trivial issue in the big scheme of things.

6) As a Chartered Surveyors the position of your boundary will not cause us to lose sleep, whilst we may be comissioned by one party in reality our only concern is getting the boundary right even if that is in disagreement with our client.  It may seem unprofessional but we really don't care where the boundary falls - it is just a line to us.

7) The initial transfer document in the creation on of a title will in general be the definitive document of comparison even if it is disagrees with the final field plan.  Plans do get drawn wrongly as a result of operator error, changes to the base mapping, even the quality of the original document.

8) Dimensions are the Chartered Surveyors curse.  A dimension is all well and good, but it is only as good as the mapping it is based upon, and knowledge of the point it was measured from.  Times change, features change, but the dimension is still based on a long distant concrete post.

Life is short, and whilst we are ever thankful for the work boundaries generates, do you really want to waste time and effort over a small amount of land?

#boundarydispute #landregistry


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Vague ramblings of a distracted Surveyor!

Odds & Sods - the ideas which haven't (or haven't yet) evolved into blogs!


The Law of Diminshing Returns - Many months ago I started a list of possible blog subjects, and this was one of them.  Unfortunately I have no idea what this might have meant.  Clearly a moment of clarity, or inspiration, whilst waiting from my daughter to come out of ballet listening to the inane chatting of mothers waiting for their daughters.  However on Friday I was back sitting in the cloakroom listening to the chatter when inspiration hit again..... The law of diminishing returns - at what point will the level of detail you are providing out weigh the time spent in obtaining that information.  Case in point, we spent hours breaking out way into this site, and gained the grand total of 15 points - was it really worth it?  The client seemed impressed so I guess it was worth it, but in hindsight a level top and bottom would have given the same result - but you never know what you might find buried in undergrowth.


All in a name - having spent an excessive amount of time on construction sites over the years you hear a wide variety of terms to connect to different industries.  Carpenters generally respond to Chippie, Electricians are Sparkies, Bricklayers are the Brickies, Plasterers are Spreads.  Now I'm stumped any ideas for Plumbers, Engineers or Surveyors??  Try and kept it polite.


Then & Now - When I first started in this career a mobile phone was something the MD had but no one else could get close to, life was so much quieter and days were more productive.  Now everyone has a mobile phone, and are willing to use it far to easily.  I may be getting old but there was a time when you have to solve your own problems on site, now the first step is to phone the office!.....this might turn into a full on moaning blog one day about changes in the industry since my first day!  This idea only came as a result of a day in Petham (Canterbury) which appears to be a mobile phone black spot or heaven.

Surveyors Claim to Fame - Surely there must be more references to Surveyors in popular culture through the music, movies, TV & books.  I can think of only a few, and some of those are only passing moments:-


  1. The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill (Hugh Grant) - OK they were Cartographers but lets not split hairs here!  Haven't seem it myself though, but perhaps I should have!
  2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Harrison Ford) - There was even an earlier theodolite in the hands of Indiana Jones, but again not a Surveyor.
  3. Seven Years in Tibet (Brad Pitt) - Again that early theodolite was out again
  4. The English Patient (Ralph Finnes)
  5. Far & Away (Tom Cruise) - land prospecting in America
  6. The Great Escape (Nigel Stock) - Wouldn't have got far in that tunnel without one!
  7. The X-Files (David Duchovney) - Vague recollections of an episode from my youth, ok very vague!
I'm sure there are more films, but perhaps people could enlighten me!

Please stay in touch with R L Surveys though the wonders of social media at FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.  Alternatively we are always at the end of the phone line on 01233 800109.







Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Thames Path Challenge 2014


A bright crisp Saturday morning, and thousands of nutters are descending onto a small park just north of Putney Bridge, the reason..........they have all given up their weekend to walk, run or jog for charity.  Walking on behalf of the Alzheimers Society, in a moment of weakness I had signed up for the 100km (approximately 80km further than I had walked previously in any one go!).  In the months leading up to the event I had managed to build up my walking to 40km in one go (although never made it home without a lift - due to time not fatigue!), but this was a completely different scale!


We set off into the sunshine at 7:20 in the morning after the worlds most expensive taxi ride from Wandsworth to Putney Bridge (we must have been wearing our 'mug' look!).  The walk was going to take in some of the sights of London - obviously the Thames, but Kew Gardens, Hampton Court, Staines (ok might be stretch this a little now), Runnymede, & finally Henley-On-Thames (very steep High Street here!).  ALl this doe mean that people looking to sell their houses in Henley-On-Thames can say they are within walking distance of central London!


The Relief
The Anticipation
So what were the highs (& lows).  The biggest high was rounding the last corner to see the finish & a well deserved drink/sit down!  Although somewhat of an anticlimax as we were finishing at around 2am in the pitch dark so there was hardly anyone around, we had not really seen another walk for the best part of 2-3 hours at this time.  For the previous half hour the finish line had been in sight, but the menaders of the river had kept it just out of reach!  By far the lowest low was around 77km when ever part of the body ached, the blister on the feet we starting to appear, and sitting down was not an option!  Once sitting there was no chance of getting back up.  There was also the moment I walked into an electric fence in the dark to avoid climbing over a stile - that will serve me right!

The Reward
 Over the course of 100km (yes I know it only says 99.83km!!!) you rack up a fair few stats but the main one was 18hrs 58 mins 21secs of walking time in a 22 hour period is not bad going

What next?  Well that was almost a year ago now so time to start thinking about the next stupid thing to do!!