Need a survey?

Consider the following questions to better assist the surveyor in giving you a quicker, more accurate estimate before meeting you at the property:

  1. Does a bank or mortgage company need it for closing?

  2. Does your Home Owner’s Association (HOA) need it because you are constructing a fence or shed on your property?

  3. Are you building a fence around your property and need to know your property lines so you don’t encroach on your neighbor?

  4. Are you and your neighbors arguing or just unsure of your common boundary line?

  5. Are you wanting to divide your property to sell or give to family?

  6. Are you working with an Architect or Contractor who needs a survey to show all the buildings, sheds, driveways, utilities, fences, trees, etc., and/or the contours of your property for design purposes?

  7. Is the bank requesting a Flood Elevation Certificate to determine if you are in a Flood Zone?

  1. Lot Survey (Mortgage Certificate/Closing Survey)

  2. Boundary Survey to locate or reset your property corners

  3. Property Line Staking to show your property line as it actually runs along the ground

  4. Boundary Survey – Land Division to divide your property

  5. Topographic Survey for road design, drainage, construction, etc.

  6. Flood Elevation Certificate for Flood Zone determination

  1. In what County and City are you located?

  2. Are you in a Subdivision?

  3. Are you in a rural area?

  4. Do you have any previous surveys of the property?

  1. What are the current field conditions and season or time of year?

  2. What is the size and shape of the property

  3. Are there woods on the property, and if so, is it thickly wooded or thin?

  4. Is it a standard subdivision lot, and is it more or less than 1 acre?

  5. Is the property 1-3 acres, 3-5 acres, 5-10 acres, 10-20 acres, or 20+ acres?

Land Surveyors are professionals with academic qualifications, technical expertise, interpretative ability, and management skills to practice the discipline of surveying for the benefit of society. They make precise measurements to determine the size and boundaries of a piece of property. They do this by gathering information about boundaries, which is necessary to help determine where roads or buildings will be constructed, settle property line disputes, and ultimately create maps or plats of said property. The maps and land descriptions created by land surveyors are usually considered legally binding.
The method of survey used is dependent on the project demands as well as the type of survey being performed. Conventional surveying uses a total station, data collector, and prism and rod to survey the property and its improvements. Advancements in technology have provided state-of-the-art equipment such as Robotic Total Stations and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that allows the survey to be accurately and efficiently completed by a one-man crew as opposed to two or more people. Most recently, Aerial Surveying via Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or Drones, has become a popular method of gathering data for topographic and as-built surveys, but still works together with conventional survey methods for ground control.
The cost of land surveys can vary greatly depending on several factors. Generally, the most important piece of information needed to give you the best estimate is the size of the property (preferably in acres). Other important factors to consider are the type of survey needed, time frame desired for completion, property location, type of land, and the availability of previous surveys. Survey costs can vary from site to site. These factors and other questions to consider are listed in greater detail within the FAQ section that are worth looking at if you are needing a survey. (See “Need a Survey?”)
It is important to note that an overall estimate of the total work involved to complete your survey varies from site to site. An estimate is for estimation purposes only, and is not a guarantee of cost for services, nor is it a quote for a fixed, binding fee. Estimates are based on current information from client about the project requirements. Actual cost may change once project elements are finalized or negotiated. Clients are notified of any changes in cost prior to them being incurred.
Yes. If you were unable to negotiate a satisfactory fee with the original firm that you selected and you have chosen to move on from negotiations with the original firm, you can contact Clinkscales Land Surveying, LLC, choose our firm based on our qualifications, and then enter into fee negotiations for your project
No. That is bidding and/or supplanting and Clinkscales Land Surveying, LLC does not knowingly engage in bidding and/or supplanting.
Yes! Clinkscales Land Surveying, LLC has an “A” rating with the BBB. View our rating on the BBB website here: Clinkscales Land Surveying, LLC.
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Types of Surveys

A boundary survey is a process carried out by a Professional Land Surveyor to determine property lines and define true property corners of a parcel of land described in a deed through interpretation of evidence found in the field; typically, surveyors will say “Monuments over Measurements”. It also indicates the extent of any easements or encroachments and may show the limitations imposed on the property by state or local regulations. A boundary survey will typically require multiple trips to your property. This is the survey that you need if you are putting up a fence, having a boundary line dispute, or are going to court over your property boundary lines. This survey is not required for settlement purposes.
A Mortgage Certificate, also referred to as a Lot Survey, Loan Survey, or Closing Survey, is the term used to describe a type of survey required by the lender to provide financing before selling an individual piece of property. The purpose of a mortgage survey is to show any improvements or encroachments on a piece of land. In some cases, depending on the state, county, municipality, bank, HOA, etc., a Lot Survey may be substituted with a Location Drawing. Even if you have a previous survey of the property, the lender may still request a new survey depending on the age and type of previous survey, especially if there have been improvements made to the property by you or an adjoining property owner.
These surveys are required by title companies, lenders, and some county permit departments. If you are securing a loan or in some cases if you need a permit for a simple addition, sun room, or deck, this survey may suffice, however if the addition is to include a bathroom, kitchen, or substantially increase the size of the home, the county may require additional surveying and engineering work. This survey does not identify property lines. Typically, however, depending on the location, an actual boundary or lot survey is preferred over a location drawing.
Topographic Surveys are used to identify and map the contours of the ground and existing features on the surface of the earth or slightly above or below the earth's surface (i.e. trees, buildings, streets, walkways, manholes, utility poles, retaining walls, etc.). If the purpose of the survey is to serve as a base map for the design of a residence or building of some type, or design a road or driveway, it may be necessary to show perimeter boundary lines and the lines of easements on or crossing the property being surveyed, in order for a designer to accurately show zoning and other agency required setbacks. Topographic Surveys require "bench marks" to which ground contours are related, information regarding surface and underground utilities, determination of required setbacks, etc.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Elevation Certificate (EC) is an administrative tool of the NFIP which is used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance rate, or support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR). Before FEMA can issue a LOMA or LOMR to remove a property and/or structure from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), the applicant will need an Elevation Certificate for the property.

Qualification Based Selection (QBS)

QBS is the selection of an engineer or land surveyor based on their qualifications to perform services on a project and not selection based primarily on fee (bidding).
No. Engineers and Land Surveyors are bound by Alabama Laws to participate in Qualification Based Selection (QBS) procedures for selection to provide services on a project whether it is Federal, State, local municipality or private.
The following are the simple steps to follow in choosing your consultant based on qualifications:
  1. Request or discuss qualifications with potential consulting firms. Do not discuss price or fee for the project at this time. Project goals, scope and other non-fee related items are acceptable to discuss with multiple consultants prior to obtaining a fee. (See “What qualifications should I base my selection on?” and “How do I determine the qualifications of a land surveying firm?”)

  2. Evaluate and choose a consultant that best meets your qualification criteria.

  3. Engage in contracting with the selected consultant to include obtaining a fee and negotiating fee if necessary. If you are unable to negotiate a reasonable and acceptable fee, you may then negotiate with the next most qualified firm, so on and so forth. (See “How does Clinkscales Land Surveying, LLC engage in fee negotiations?”)

No. Clinkscales Land Surveying, LLC cannot and will not knowingly provide you a bid on your project. Doing so would violate state law with repercussions of losing our individual professional licenses and our corporate authorizations. We can provide you with a Scope for Professional Services on your specific project in order to help you determine if our firm meets your desired qualifications for land surveying services. Upon being judged as the most-qualified to provide services for your project, we can then provide fee information and can negotiate that fee.
Clinkscales Land Surveying, LLC recommends that you make your selection based qualifications that are important to you for your project. Qualifications you may consider: experience, area of expertise, practices and procedures (RTK GPS, State Plane Coordinates, CADD, QA/QC procedures, etc.), project approach, client service, availability to perform services (schedule), professional liability insurance, etc.
Qualifications could be determined based on a formal statement of qualifications submittal, personal knowledge of the services provided, recommendations/referrals, or your own due diligence or research. Clinkscales Land Surveying, LLC will gladly answer any questions you may have regarding our qualifications in order to help assist you in your selection.

State of Alabama Administrative Code, Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 330-X-14, last amended January 2011:

330-X-14-.05 Practice. (Canon IV) The engineer or land surveyor shall endeavor to build a practice and professional reputation on the merit of his or her services as follows:

(f) The engineer or land surveyor shall not participate in procurement practices (bid submittals) which do not first determine the qualifications of the engineer or land surveyor prior to entering into fee negotiations for services being sought. An engineer or land surveyor having submitted a statement of qualification and performance data, and having first been judged as the qualified individual or firm to provide the services required for the proposed project, may proceed to negotiate a contract with a client and establish compensation or fees for the required services.
Should the engineer or land surveyor be unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with the client for any reason, the engineer or land surveyor shall withdraw from further consideration for the engineering or land surveying services. Another engineer or land surveyor may then be selected for negotiations of a contract for the services on the stated project.


330-X-14-.06 Ethics. (Canon V) The engineer or land surveyor shall contribute to the maintenance, integrity, independence and competency of the engineering or land surveying profession as follows:

(a) The engineer or land surveyor shall not:

14. Participate in procurement procedures for engineering or land surveying services either by providing bids or in requesting bids from other professional engineers or land surveyors where bidding is the primary consideration.


State of Alabama Law Regulating Practice of Engineering and Land Surveying, Code of Alabama 1975, Title 34, Chapter 11, Last Amended – August 1, 2009)

Additional information can be obtained from the Alabama State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Click the following link: Quality Based Selection (QBS) and follow Board Opinions to the Quality Based Selection document.
Standards of Practice for Surveying in the State of Alabama

Effective January 1, 2017

  1. Survey shall mean the orderly process of
    • Conducting research
    • Performing field measurements and observations
    • Applying mathematical and legal principles to determine, display or indicate land boundaries, land areas, and the position and characteristics of any natural or artificial features on or near the surface of the earth.

    It may be further defined according to the type of data obtained, to the methods and instruments used, and to the purpose(s) to be served. All surveys showing property boundary information must be in accordance with Rule 1.03. For purposes of this rule, types of surveys shall include, but not be limited to the following definitions:
    1. Property Boundary Survey shall mean a survey of property, the primary purpose of which includes, but is not limited to, determining the perimeters of the property being surveyed by establishing in the first instance original property lines, or by retracing the lines and corners of previously established property lines. A property boundary survey is a professional opinion on the physical location of property lines based on appropriate boundary law principles governed by the facts and evidence gathered and evaluated during the course of the survey. A property boundary survey may further include describing and locating fixed improvements, platting or dividing property and preparing descriptions of property. A property boundary survey includes the setting or recovery of corner monumentation. Any survey showing property lines where a property boundary survey was not performed shall have the following note: “THIS IS NOT A PROPERTY BOUNDARY SURVEY”.
    2. Record Survey or As-Built Survey shall mean a survey performed to obtain horizontal and/or vertical data so that the constructed improvements may be located and delineated. *Closing or Loan Survey shall mean a survey for the purpose of securing a mortgage loan on property. (*Definition removed from Standards of Practice effective 1/1/2017)
    3. Geodetic Survey shall mean a survey of areas and points affected by and taking into account the curvature of the earth.
    4. Control Survey shall mean a survey which provides horizontal or vertical position data for the support or control of subordinate surveying, mapping, or construction layout purposes.
    5. Topographic Survey shall mean a survey of the selected natural and selected man-made features of a part of the earth’s surface by remote sensing and/or ground measurements to determine horizontal and vertical spatial relations.
    6. Hydrographic Survey shall mean a survey having for its principle purpose the determination of data relating to bodies of water and which may consist of the determination of one or several of the following classes of data: depth of water and configuration of bottom, directions and force of current, heights and times and water stages, and location of fixed objects for survey and navigation purposes.
    7. Quantity Survey shall mean a survey for the purpose of obtaining measurements of quantity.
    8. Right-of-Way and Easement Survey shall mean a survey for the purpose of obtaining specific rights into property for public or private use.
    9. Specific Purpose Survey shall mean a survey performed for a specified purpose other than as defined above.
  2. Corner is a point on a boundary line at which two or more boundary lines meet or a change in direction on any given boundary line.
  3. Monument shall mean a man-made or natural object that is durable and occupies a defined position.
  4. Witness Monument shall mean any monument that does not occupy the same defined position as the corner itself, but whose relationship to the monument is established.
  5. Reference Point shall mean any defined position that is or can be established in relation to another defined position.
  6. Temporary Benchmark (TBM) shall mean a temporary (not permanent) point set whose elevation is relative to a stated datum.
  7. Benchmark shall mean a permanent material object, natural or artificial, bearing a marked point whose elevation is relative to a stated datum.
  8. Map, Plat, Drawing, or other similar titles shall mean any map used for the purpose of depicting the results of any survey as defined herein. Each map shall state the type of survey or surveys it depicts.
  9. Subdivision Map or Plat is a drawing used to depict new property being created under the laws of the State of Alabama and must first be surveyed in accordance with Rule 1.03 of these standards. See Alabama Code Section Sections 35-2-50 & 35-2-51.
  10. Standard of Care is defined as the duty of the land surveyor to use that degree of knowledge, skill and care ordinarily possessed and used by members of the land surveying profession, and to perform any services undertaken, as a land surveyor, in a manner that a reasonably prudent land surveyor would use under the same or similar circumstances.

For a complete copy of the Standards of Practice for Surveying in the State of Alabama, please visit