One of the most important documents for sustainable development in property acquisition is survey plan. Omission of this vital document and inability of individuals, companies and government to engage surveyors before, during and after physical project executions are responsible for low level of development in the country. Dayo Ayeyemi writes
Many individuals and business owners have got their fingers burnt in the process of acquiring land for development due to non engagement of surveyors.
As simple as a survey plan may look, experts believe that anyone who ignores it during transactions does so at his peril.
Survey plan is required during building plan approval processes, issuance of certificate of occupancy and mortgage transactions.
Besides, practitioners said that most developed nations of the world were the best surveyed nations, pointing out that no nation could experience sustainable development without a survey.
Speaking with New Telegraph about the importance of survey plans to home builders, property investors, government and the economy in general, Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Lagos State branch, Mr, Adesina Adeleke, defined surveying as a “body of knowledge which deals with the determination of position of points and features above, on or beneath the earth surface as well as their graphical representation on a chosen mathematical surface.”
He explained that property survey was important to home builders and investors for the purpose of locating, describing, measuring and presenting in form of plans or maps, the boundaries and corners of a parcel of land.
“Property survey is also called the cadastral or legal survey. The product of this survey is the first document required for any title registration,” he said.
According to him, it might also include mapping of topography of parcel of land, location of buildings, natural and man-made features or other improvements upon the parcel.
He added that survey also determined boundary between two properties.
Most boundaries, he said, were created by written documents that contained specific descriptions, adding that property rights might also be established by unwritten means such as long time physical occupation.
According to him, surveyor will be the one to research these factors and how they affect boundaries of individual’s property.
On when property buyers consult surveyors, Adeleke said they should do it when they intended to invest in land or property
Also, before intending homeowners purchase their land or property, he said it was surveyors that would help them to conduct the necessary search and give professional advice as regards the status of the land, whether the land is within or outside government’s acquisition.
He said: “You can also consult a surveyor after you have purchased the land. He will carry out accurate measurements of the property and produce a survey plan. This is an important instrument for the perfection of your title document.
“It may also be necessary when you want to dispose, sell or give out all or part of your property.”
Adeleke explained that in case of dispute or conflicts arising from encroachment or incursion into any property, it made it absolute necessary to consult a surveyor.
“In addition, you must consult your surveyor when you cannot locate your land again,” he said.
On cost of hiring a surveyor, Adeleke said that every good thing did not come cheap, adding that a surveyor fee was computed based on indices of location of property, type of survey required, time, logistic, personnel, material needed and equipment cost.
Adeleke said that surveyors also prepared deed plan of property and lodge a copy in the record section of the office of the Surveyor General to ensure it is available for public inspection .
In case of dispute, he said surveyors could also appear in court as expert witness concerning real property ownership or location, saying a survey plan would verify for buyer the size and extent of the property
When applying for mortgage or refinancing of property, he pointed out that financial institution usually required a survey plan with a map, surveyor’s title report, or possibly a flood certificate.
He added that survey would be needed when verifying acreage for tax assessment.
Publicity Secretary, Lagos branch of NIS, Adedeji Sebiotimo, said that survey plan remained a legal document used to obtain building approval and certificate of occupancy (C-of-O).
According to him, architects would also need survey plans to determine size, dimention and boundary of parcel of land before building design.
He said: “Surveyors produce information that are of integrity , reliable, robust for the use of social economic planning and land use planning.
“If you want to construct roads, you need the services of surveyors to provide information on the topography, soil and boundaries. In conducting census, surveyors’ information is very critical.”
Chairman, Lagos Branch of Association of Private Practicing Surveyors of Nigeria, Mr. Olufemi Odetunmibi, called for increased patronage of surveying professionals for sustainable development in the country.
According to him, any property owner without a survey plan stood to lose everything, adding that without a survey plan, he would not be able to build in a civilized environment that required building plans and approvals.
“Without a survey plan, you cannot know the location and size of your plot or property,” he said.
To affirm ownership on any property, Odetumibi said is by Certificate of Occupancy, which can not be issued without a survey plan.
Odetumibi said: “Your survey plan is attached to your title. Whether your land is freehold or government’s allocation, you cannot get your title without a survey plan that depicts its location. Survey plan is critical to property ownership.”
Besides, he said that in the area of transfer of ownership of property, it became impossible to do the deal without a survey plan.
On nation building, Odetumibi described surveying as the bedrock of all meaningful development.
He said: “You measure growth when there is development, and whether it is in agriculture, real estate and manufacturing sectors, the foundation is surveying.
“If we want economy to grow, survey has to be accommodated in its rightful place.”
If survey is accommodated in the area of construction, he said there would be judicious spending on infrastructure.
He linked Nigeria’s low level of development to non usage of surveyors and survey data.
Prospective homeowners and investors need to protect their investments by engaging the services of surveyors in every stage of property acquisition.