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Professional Land Surveyor - Questions & Answers

Please note that all the News Bulletins are in PDF format and you may have to page down/scroll down to go to the appropriate page, especially if you're using a download manager.

Condominium Questions

  • Gerald W. "Gary" Briant, P.L.S. #L-10699 "My interpretation of diagrammatic floor plans . . . is that the plat simply needs to show a width, length and height of the interior perimeter walls of each unit. . . I'm just looking for a way to calculate what the air space would be that [the] public is buying. . . In other words, the building itself is the monument"
  • Gerald W. "Gary" Briant, P.L.S. #L-10699 asked the Board for an interpretation of the requirement in Idaho Code Section 55-1504 which requires "showing elevations where multi-level or multi-story structures are diagrammed." Briant said "My interpretation of "showing elevations" is to show by either a section view with dimensions showing the height from finish floor to finish ceiling and if multi-story showing a relationship to each story finish floor from the first floor finished elevation. This could be done also with elevations of each finished floor and ceiling elevation or elevations if ceiling heights vary. Where the confusion comes in is there are some that feel that this section is referring to actual elevations from a known datum like NGVD 29 or NAVD 88 for each of these. I feel it is just dimensions to be able to calculate volume of space that the person is buying and that a known datum is unnecessary."
  • As a Professional Land Surveyor, what do I have to do on a Condominium project at a minimum?
  • General Work Issues

  • How does the Board interpret Responsible Charge?
  • Is it necessary to retain a PLS to conduct a field search for monuments prior to the preparation of construction documents or plans by an engineer?
  • Are Surveyors required to be selected under QBS? (or can Surveyors bid their work?)
  • If XYZ Survey Co has a job with John Doe to perform boundary work, can I offer John Doe a better deal and try to get that work?
  • What if I find a discrepancy in another Surveyor's work?
  • When performing a right-of-way acquisition survey for the Idaho Transportation Department which requires the subdivision of a section, is it necessary to monument a lost Public Land Survey Corner, the position of which is calculated and used in the survey?
  • John L. Dunn #L-10162 asked the Board: I frequently have requests from property owners to locate the corners of their property. When I fail to find the monument marking the corner, I will replace the missing monument. Assuming I am not the surveyor who platted the subdivision, this will result in a monument with a different cap than that noted on the recorded plat. Does this constitute a change in the public record that will require a record of survey map to properly document it?
  • Paving contractors are putting an overlay on the street and covering up survey monuments. Aren't they defacing or disturbing them and don't they have to replace them?
  • What is the requirement for showing corner record history on the record of survey map and on the CP&F forms?
  • Elevation Certificates- can engineers and surveyors sign and seal?
  • Do survey monuments have to be set as shown on the record of survey (ROS) as recorded, or can they be set after the record of survey is recorded?
  • Do easements and lease areas require monuments?
  • Do you need a PLS (or COA for company) to do aerial surveys with drones?
  • Easement Monumentation and Survey Requirements
  • Does the reconstruction of a monument require the establishment of accessories where none were established in the original survey?
  • I am a PLS who provides avalanche risk assessment services to local structural engineers, land owners and local government officials. My credentials to provide these services were questioned. Can I provide these services?
  • Have there been any recent guidance from the Idaho Department of Water Resources for permitting irrigation and drainage development in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?
  • ALTA Survey Questions

  • Is an ALTA/NSPS Land Title (ALTA) Survey a report or is it a boundary survey?
  • My client did not select Item 1 of Table ‘A’ when requesting an ALTA survey. This item requires the surveyor to set monuments at corners of the property where no monument exists. Does this mean I don’t have to set monuments?
  • What if a licensee prepares an ALTA survey that does not meet the ALTA minimum standards?
  • Seals

  • I've been asked as a Professional Land Surveyor to supply my work product electronically - how do I seal it?
  • George Yerion, P.L.S., #L-9858 wrote the Board and asked "Some surveyors prepare the Preliminary Road Plans showing horizontal and vertical alignments. Is that allowed according to the current definitions of surveying & engineering?"
  • George Yerion, P.L.S., #L-9858 wrote the Board and asked "Preliminary Plats are sometimes submitted by engineers and sometimes by surveyors. I don't recall that either the Preliminary Road Plans or the Preliminary Plats are ever sealed. The Planning and Zoning Commission uses those drawings to make policy decision[s] (i.e. subdivision and road approval). Should these preliminary drawings be sealed?"
  • Do I need to seal a legal description I prepare for a Client as a Professional Land Surveyor?
  • Is it acceptable to place the CFedS seal on state authority surveys and documents?
  • Records of Survey (ROS)

  • When a surveyor does "preliminary work" but does not place monuments in the field, is he or she required to file a Record of Survey?
  • John M. "Jack" Clark, P.L.S. #L-4732 asked "When the "preliminary work" is eventually used as the basis for the preparation of a legal description, is it necessary to file a record of survey?
  • Do I need to record a Record of Survey when I stake a drain field easement?
  • Continuing Professional Development Questions (for Land Surveying)

  • I am taking the Certified Federal Surveyor program. Does it count for PDHs and, if so, how many?
  • I'm required to take CFeds Continuing Education for maintenance of my CFeds status - does it count toward my Idaho requirement? How much?
  • Qualifications for Licensure by Comity

  • I have regarding the qualifications for taking the 2 hour State Specific LS exam in Idaho. I am currently a Licensed Surveyor in the states of Washington and Montana. I have over 11 years experience in surveying. I do not have a college degree, or any college credits. Is a college education a required qualification to take the exam?
  • Right of Entry

  • Numerous surveyors have posed a similar question to the Board related to the new trespass law. The paraphrased question reads:
    Idaho Code 6-202 (7)(b)(iii) and IC 18-7008 (6)(b)(iii) contain the following phrase: “Any licensed professional otherwise authorized to enter or remain on the real property during the course and scope of fulfilling his lawful duties.” [emphasis added]
    Does this allow surveyors right of entry while surveying?

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    Condominium Questions

    Gerald W. "Gary" Briant, P.L.S. #L-10699 "My interpretation of diagrammatic floor plans . . . is that the plat simply needs to show a width, length and height of the interior perimeter walls of each unit. . . I'm just looking for a way to calculate what the air space would be that [the] public is buying. . . In other words, the building itself is the monument"

    This was addressed in the Boards November 2007 Bulletin, page 5, where this appeared:
    Idaho Code Section 55-1504 (ii) requires "diagrammatic floor plans of the building or buildings built or to be built thereon in sufficient detail to identify each unit, its relative location and approximate dimensions, showing elevations where multi-level or multistory structures are diagrammed." Idaho Code Section 55-1509(a) states, in pertinent part, "In interpreting the declaration, plat or plats, and deeds, the existing physical boundaries of the unit as originally constructed or as reconstructed in lieu thereof shall be conclusively presumed to be its boundaries rather than the metes and bounds expressed or depicted in the declaration, plat or plats, or deed, regardless of settling lateral movement of the building and regardless of minor variance between boundaries shown in the declaration, plat or plats, or deed and the actual boundaries of units in the building." Briant comments "My interpretation of diagrammatic floor plans . . . is that the plat simply needs to show a width, length and height of the interior perimeter walls of each unit. . . I'm just looking for a way to calculate what the air space would be that [the] public is buying. . . In other words the building itself is the monument" The Board agreed and told Briant that the relative location and approximate dimensions of interior perimeter walls of each condominium unit are sufficient.(top)

    Gerald W. "Gary" Briant, P.L.S. #L-10699 asked the Board for an interpretation of the requirement in Idaho Code Section 55-1504 which requires "showing elevations where multi-level or multi-story structures are diagrammed." Briant said "My interpretation of "showing elevations" is to show by either a section view with dimensions showing the height from finish floor to finish ceiling and if multi-story showing a relationship to each story finish floor from the first floor finished elevation. This could be done also with elevations of each finished floor and ceiling elevation or elevations if ceiling heights vary. Where the confusion comes in is there are some that feel that this section is referring to actual elevations from a known datum like NGVD 29 or NAVD 88 for each of these. I feel it is just dimensions to be able to calculate volume of space that the person is buying and that a known datum is unnecessary."

    This was addressed in the Boards November 2007 Bulletin, page 5, where this appeared:
    Again, the Board agreed with Briant and told him that the elevations can be relative and need not be tied to a standard datum.(top)

    As a Professional Land Surveyor, what do I have to do on a Condominium project at a minimum?

    This was addressed in the Boards June 2008 Bulletin, page 3, where this appeared:
    BOARD EXPRESSES OPINION ON INVOLVEMENT OF SURVEYORS IN CONDOMINIUMS
    The Board reviewed an inquiry from Larry J. Hodge, P.E./L.S. in which he asked the Board "I'm wondering if you could enlighten me on how you think the surveying world, including the Board, has come to the conclusion that condo plats must be done by a PLS." The Board responded that it relies upon Idaho Code Section 55-1527 which states
    "55-1527. ZONING LAWS APPLIED WHERE NOT INCONSISTENT. Except where inconsistent with the provisions or purposes of this act, state and local laws relating to plats, recording, subdivisions or zoning shall apply to condominiums and to projects as herein defined."
    The Board also relied on Idaho Code Section 50-1309, which states, in pertinent part, "The professional land surveyor making the survey shall certify the correctness of said plat and he shall place his seal, signature and date on the plat."(top)

    General Work Issues

    How does the Board interpret Responsible Charge?

    The definition of "responsible charge" for professional engineers and professional land surveyors is found in Title 54, Chapter 12, Section 54-1202 (14) and is as follows:

    (14) "Responsible charge" means the control and direction of engineering work, or the control and direction of land surveying work, requiring initiative, professional skill, independent judgment and professional knowledge of the content of relevant documents during their preparation. Except as allowed under section 54-1223, Idaho Code, reviewing, or reviewing and correcting, documents after they have been prepared by others does not constitute the exercise of responsible charge.

    Other references in Title 54, Chapter 12 of the Idaho Code referring to the term "responsible charge" may be found in Idaho Code Sections 54-1202(10) & (11), 54-1204, 54-1215(3c) & (3d), and 54-1235(4). Idaho Code Section 54-1202 includes the definition of engineering and land surveying. 54-1204 refers to qualifications of members of the Board. Idaho Code Section 54-1235(4) deals with practice by business entities and defines who shall be and may not be the designated individual in "responsible charge" of professional engineering or professional land surveying for the business entity.(top)

    Is it necessary to retain a PLS to conduct a field search for monuments prior to the preparation of construction documents or plans by an engineer?

    The answer is yes. The requirements are in Chapter 55-1613. These requirements have existed in some form since 1978 and have been amended several times with the current version as it was revised in 2011. (top)

    Does the reconstruction of a monument require the establishment of accessories where none were established in the original survey?

    The short answer is yes. Accessories must be established or re-established in accordance with Idaho Code and the Manual of Surveying Instructions

    Idaho Code 55-1604. Filing requirements. A professional land surveyor shall complete, sign, and file with the county clerk and recorder of the county where the corner is situated, a written record of the establishment or restoration of a corner. This record shall be known as a "corner record" and such a filing shall be made for every public land survey corner and accessory to such corner which is established, reestablished, monumented, remonumented, restored, rehabilitated, perpetuated or used as control in any survey. The survey information shall be filed within ninety (90) days after the survey is completed, unless the corner and its accessories are substantially as described in an existing corner record filed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

    Idaho Code 55-1608. Professional Land Surveyor to Reconstruct Monuments. (1) In every case where a corner record of a survey corner is required to be filed or recorded under the provisions of this chapter, the professional land surveyor must reconstruct or rehabilitate the monument of such corner, and accessories to such corner.

    Idaho code 31-2709. Surveys must conform to United States manual. No surveys or resurveys hereafter made shall be considered legal evidence in any court within the state, except such surveys as are made in accordance with the United States manual of surveying instructions, the circular on restoration of lost or obliterated corners and subdivisions of sections, issued by the general land office, or by the authority of the United States, the state of Idaho, or by mutual consent of the parties.

    Based on 55-1604, Idaho Code, if a land surveyor finds accessories to a corner are missing or different, then a new corner record is required to be filed.

    Based on 55-1608, Idaho Code, if the conditions exist requiring a new corner record, then the land surveyor is required to rehabilitate the monument and accessories.

    Based on 31-2709, Idaho Code, Surveys must be conducted in accordance with the Manual and the circular on lost and obliterated corners to be accepted as evidence in Idaho Courts. In practice, this has generally been applied to all boundary surveys in Idaho.

    The 2009 Manual of Instructions contains the following statements regarding accessories:

    4-80. The surveyor cannot perform any more important service than that of establishing permanent evidence of the location of corners of a survey. Where the accessories cannot be employed, other means should be employed that will best serve the purpose.

    4-83 through 4-113 are under the heading, “Arrangement and Marking of Corner Accessories”. Each of the 31 sub-sections referenced gives the number of bearing trees required. The Manual uses the terms ‘bearing trees’ and ‘accessories’ almost interchangeably. It is apparent in 6-10 below that ‘bearing trees’ are one type of ‘accessory’.

    6-10. “Monuments” of the public land surveys have included the deposit of some durable memorial, a marked wooden stake or post, a marked stone, an iron post having an inscribed cap, a marked tablet set in solid rock or in a concrete block, a marked tree, a rock in place marked with a cross (X) at the exact corner point, and other special types of markers, some of which are more substantial; any of these is termed a “monument”. The several classes of accessories, such as bearing trees, bearing objects, reference monuments, mounds of stone, buried memorials and pits dug in the sod or soil are aids in identifying the corner position. In their broader significance the accessories are part of the corner monument’.

    6-11. An existent corner is one whose original position can be identified by substantial evidence of the monument or its accessories….

    6-17. An obliterated corner is an existent corner where, at the corner’s original position, there are no remaining traces of the monument or its accessories but whose position has been perpetuated….

    The statement of importance in 4-80 removes all doubt as to the requirement for accessories. The use of ‘cannot’ in the second sentence has one clear meaning. Surveys done in accordance with the Manual will employ accessories at the specified corners where possible. In cases where no permanent objects are available (or none can be established) within 3 chains, memorials such as encased magnets should be used. The number and arrangement of accessories is well described in 4-83 through 4-113 (inclusive). Again, the language throughout is affirmative and unequivocal.

    6-10 makes it clear that accessories are part of the monument.

    The definitions in 6-11 and 6-17 are repeated in the Circular on Restoration of Lost and Obliterated Corners. Both the Manual and Circular are referenced in IC 31-2709. This places accessories on par with the highest item in the order of calls. They are only impeached by the undisturbed original monument itself. This makes them critical to identifying the type of corner (lost, obliterated, etc.) and how we treat it.

    Our duty to ‘protect the public’ cannot be served without providing stability for corner locations. The clearest method to provide this stability for PLSS Corners is the employment of monuments and accessories in accordance with the Manual and the law.

    (top)

    I am a PLS who provides avalanche risk assessment services to local structural engineers, land owners and local government officials. My credentials to provide these services were questioned. Can I provide these services?

    Based on an investigation into the matter, there are four primary services you are providing. One service is the mapping and analysis of avalanches to determine the hazard paths. Another service is providing the forces known as impact pressures to structural engineers who use that data to design structures to withstand the forces of an avalanche. A third service is to advise local government officials on impending avalanche hazards to protect first responders and other members of the public from avalanche hazards. A fourth service is to train alpine and backcountry skiers and other recreationists to recognize and mitigate avalanche hazards. The Board considered the matter at the September and November meetings and determined that the first service – mapping and analysis of avalanches is the practice of either professional land surveying or professional engineering. The second service is the practice of professional engineering and not professional land surveying. The third and fourth service is neither the practice of land surveying nor the practice of engineering. All final documents prepared while providing services to clients or public officials that constitute the practice of professional engineering or professional land surveying must bear the seal, signature and date of the licensee. Expertise in avalanche risk assessment is a specialized field. Professional engineers and professional land surveyors that offer services in this field should obtain the training and mentoring necessary to achieve competency. Participatory professional membership in the American Avalanche Association is recommended for those who practice in this field. If a project is located in Idaho, documents prepared must be signed, sealed and dated by a person licensed in Idaho. (top)

    Have there been any recent guidance from the Idaho Department of Water Resources for permitting irrigation and drainage development in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?

    This guidance and related information is posted on our website at: https://idwr.idaho.gov/floods/

    The guidance may be of interest to many of your members who work with irrigation entities or floodplain development and permitting issues within local NFIP participating communities. A brief summary of the issue:

    In 2019, the State of Idaho, working through the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR), issued guidance on permitting low-to-no impact irrigation and drainage development within special flood hazard areas (SFHAs). The term “development” is defined broadly and similarly in both the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations and Idaho law. However, Idaho Code § 46-1021(1) states that “the term ‘development’ does not include the operation, cleaning, maintenance or repair of any ditch, canal, lateral, drain, diversion structure or other irrigation or drainage works.” Further, Idaho Code § 46-1022 specifies that local “floodplain zoning ordinances shall not regulate the operation, cleaning, maintenance or repair” of irrigation and drainage ditches and works. Federal law does not similarly exclude the operation, cleaning, maintenance, or repair (“OCMR”) of irrigation and drainage ditches and works from the definition of development activities. FEMA has advised the State of Idaho that its statutory definition of “development” is not consistent with Federal law, and that a blanket exclusion of OCMR related activities could result in some development activity going un-permitted. In response to this concern, Idaho issued NFIP Irrigation Guidance (Guidance) to clarify permitting requirements for irrigation and drainage development activities in SFHAs.
    A copy of the IDWR guidance and other pertinent information may be found at: https://idwr.idaho.gov/floods/ (top)

    Are Surveyors required to be selected under QBS? (or can Surveyors bid their work?)

    This was addressed in the Boards November 2007 Bulletin, page 5, where this appeared (as amended by the May 8, 2009 Rules):
    QUALIFICATION BASED SELECTION
    Idaho Code Section 67-2320 requires that all state agencies and political subdivisions of the state retain the services of engineers, land surveyors and several other professionals on the basis of qualifications followed by a negotiation of a scope of services and fee. This process is often call "Qualification Based Selection", or "QBS." Private sector consumers of professional services are not required to follow these guidelines. The Board's Rules of Professional Responsibility state that "A Licensee or Certificate Holder should seek professional employment or professional service work on the basis of qualifications and competence for proper accomplishment of the work assignment. On selections for professional engineering and land surveying services that are required pursuant to Idaho Code Section 67-2320, a licensee or certificate holder, in response to solicitations described in Idaho Code Section 67-2320(2)(a) shall not submit information that constitutes a bid for services requested." If a state agency or political subdivision of the state solicits proposals for engineering or land surveying work in a manner that is not in compliance with Idaho Code Section 67-2320, engineers or land surveyors should contact the QBS Facilitator's Council at (208) 321-1736 and they will contact the entity to educate them about the statute and QBS process.(top)

    If XYZ Survey Co has a job with John Doe to perform boundary work, can I offer John Doe a better deal and try to get that work?

    This was addressed in the Boards November 2007 Bulletin, page 6, where this appeared:
    SEEKING OR ACCEPTING WORK WHICH IS UNDER CONTRACT TO ANOTHER
    One of the most commonly asked questions about the Board's Rules of Professional Responsibility relates to Rule IDAPA 10.01.02.009.03, "Assignment On Which Others Are Employed." A review of that Rule and its application seems in order to clarify its intent and application. Rule 009.03 states "A Registrant or Certificate Holder shall not knowingly seek or accept employment for professional services for an assignment which another Registrant or Certificate Holder is employed, or contracted to perform without the currently employed or contracted entity being informed in writing." Simply stated, the Rule says that you cannot pursue or accept work that another professional has a contract to perform unless you inform that other professional in writing. The issue of whether or not the currently contracted professional has been paid for their work is not within the jurisdiction of the Board to address. (top)

    What if I find a discrepancy in another Surveyor's work?

    Another question that is frequently addressed by the Board and staff deals with the discovery of a problem in the work of another professional. This is addressed in IDAPA 10.01.02.005.04 Obligation to Communicate Discovery of Discrepancy and IDAPA 10.01.02.005.06 Obligation to Affected Landowners. The rules, as revised in 2019, read as follows: IDAPA 10.01.02.005.04 Obligation to Communicate Discovery of Discrepancy
    "Except as provided in the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure 26(b)(4)(B), if a Licensee or Certificate Holder, during the course of his work, discovers a material discrepancy, error, or omission in the work of another Licensee or Certificate Holder, which may impact the health, property and welfare of the public, the discoverer shall make a reasonable effort to inform the Licensee or Certificate Holder whose work is believed to contain the discrepancy, error or omission. Such communication shall reference specific codes, standards or physical laws which are believed to be violated and identification of documents which are believed to contain the discrepancies. The Licensee or Certificate Holder whose work is believed to contain the discrepancy shall respond within twenty (20) calendar days to any question about his work raised by another Licensee or Certificate Holder. In the event a response is not received within twenty (20) days, the discoverer shall notify the License or Certificate Holder in writing, who shall have another twenty (20) days to respond. Failure to respond (with supportable evidence) on the part of the Licensee or Certificate Holder whose work is believed to contain the discrepancy shall be considered a violation of these rules and may subject the Licensee or Certificate Holder to disciplinary action by the Board. The discoverer must notify the Board in the event a response that does not answer the concerns of the discoverer is not obtained within the second twenty (20) days. A Licensee or Certificate Holder is exempt from this requirement is their client is an attorney and they are being treated as an expert witness. In this case the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure apply” (4-11-19)
    And IDAPA 10.01.02.005.06 Obligation to Affected Landowners
    “Land Surveyors have a duty to set monuments at the corners of their client’s property boundaries in compliance with 54-1227, Idaho Code. Per Subsection 005.04 above, land surveyors also have a duty to notify other licensees of a material discrepancy prior to setting monuments that represent a material discrepancy with a prior survey. If a monument is to be set at a location that represents a material discrepancy with an existing monument at any corner of record, land surveyors must also notify in writing all affected adjoining land owners and the Board prior to setting the new monument.” (4-11-19)
    The provisions are intended to outline a process that encourages resolution of discrepancies where possible. The most notable changes in 2019 is the addition of landowner notification and the return of the affirmative requirement to notify the board of unresolved discrepancies. Refer to the guidance letter at Legislative Education Letter for additional information. (top)

    When performing a right-of-way acquisition survey for the Idaho Transportation Department which requires the subdivision of a section, is it necessary to monument a lost Public Land Survey Corner, the position of which is calculated and used in the survey?

    The Board concluded that monumentation of the corner in question would be required. The Board cited the following sections of Idaho Code in coming that that conclusion. Emphasis is added, where appropriate, to the citation.
    55 1604. Filing requirements. A professional land surveyor shall complete, sign, and file with the county clerk and recorder of the county where the corner is situated, a written record of the establishment or restoration of a corner. This record shall be known as a "corner record" and such a filing shall be made for every public land survey corner and accessory to such corner which is established, reestablished, monumented, remonumented, restored, rehabilitated, perpetuated or used as control in any survey. The survey information shall be filed within ninety (90) days after the survey is completed, unless the corner and its accessories are substantially as described in an existing corner record filed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
    In lieu of filing as heretofore provided, corner records may be recorded by photographic process in those counties which have such facilities.
    55 1608. Professional land surveyor to reconstruct monuments. In every case where a corner record of a survey corner is required to be filed or recorded under the provisions of this chapter, the professional land surveyor must reconstruct or rehabilitate the monument of such corner, and accessories to such corner.
    Any monument set shall conform to the provisions of section 54 1227, Idaho Code. If the monument is set by a public officer, it shall be marked by an appropriate official designation.(top)

    John L. Dunn #L-10162 asked the Board: I frequently have requests from property owners to locate the corners of their property. When I fail to find the monument marking the corner, I will replace the missing monument. Assuming I am not the surveyor who platted the subdivision, this will result in a monument with a different cap than that noted on the recorded plat. Does this constitute a change in the public record that will require a record of survey map to properly document it?

    The Board has amended its previous opinion and concluded that a record of survey is required for replacement of a corner monument where the size, type or markings on a monument or cap differ from the record. The intent of the "material discrepancy" language in IC 55-1904 (1) ) is to preserve evidence. This evidence includes the pedigree of monuments purporting to mark corners.

    There are numerous other circumstances where material discrepancies exist. When you find a different monument than the latest record or a monument not of record you have found a ‘material discrepancy’. The same is true where the markings on a cap or monument are significantly different than in the record, such as a different surveyor or corner designation.

    The laws, rules and standard of care related to ‘material discrepancy’ change over time and include evidence other than measurements. The answers above reflect those changes and describe what is expected by the Board moving forward. For work completed prior to this amended opinion, the Board does not intend to discipline licensees for work performed in compliance with the previous opinion.

    What is the requirement for showing corner record history on the record of survey map and on the CP&F forms?

    The Board discussed how successively filed corner records can show the history of a corner and the monuments occupying the position of the corner and how the most recent corner record alone may not tell the whole story. In 2015, law and rule changes went into effect that now require only the MOST RECENT corner record instrument number to be shown on the Record of Survey map. However, a concurrent rule change now requires the use of a revised CP&F form which can be found at: CP_F_Form2015.pdf. On the revised form, the corner record history must now be shown including instrument numbers of previously recorded CP&F’s as required by the revised CP&F rule (https://adminrules.idaho.gov/rules/current/10/100103.pdf). All professional Land surveyors are required to use the revised form. The form can be modified to meet the local county specifications, but all the content in the revised form is required to be shown.

    Elevation Certificates -- can engineers and surveyors sign and seal?

    See 54-1202 (10) & (11)
    Prior to the amendment to the code in July, 2012, which added the words "or to certify elevation information", there was no mention of elevations in the code for either engineers or surveyors. The discussion regarding elevation certificates provided an opportunity to inject the 3rd dimension, elevations, into the code.
    Engineers went about their work designing and certifying plans for roads, sewers, water, grading and drainage, hydrologic studies and the determination of the base flood elevation (where FEMA did not have a published BFE and an engineer probably did the BFE for the mapping). All of these plans and studies required the engineer to certify elevations.
    Surveyors performed and certified topographic surveys, bench mark networks, elevations of buildings & radio towers, surveys for engineering design and FEMA elevation certificates. When surveyors stamped these drawings or reports, they were certifying elevations.
    Now that the code has been amended, what has changed in practice? Nothing!
    The amendment merely codified what was already being practiced. It does not encourage working beyond the area of expertise or allow anything that was not already being done. It does not tell an engineer to do surveys for FEMA elevation certificates, nor does it tell a surveyor to do hydrologic studies or road, drainage and sewer plans.
    (top)

    Do survey monuments have to be set as shown on the record of survey (ROS) as recorded, or can they be set after the record of survey is recorded?

    55-1904 & 1906 Idaho Code, require monuments to be set as shown on the ROS prior to recording the ROS(top)

    Do easements and lease areas require monuments?

    See Board Opinion on Easement Monumentation of March 10, 2016
    (top)

    Seals

    I've been asked as a Professional Land Surveyor to supply my work product electronically - how do I seal it?

    This was addressed in the Boards June 2008 Bulletin, page 3, where this appeared:
    BOARD EXPRESSES OPINION ON ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR GIS
    The Board reviewed an inquiry from John Root, P.L.S. in which he asked the Board questions and expressed concerns about Twin Falls County requesting an electronic copy of plats and Records of Survey for inclusion in the County Assessor's GIS system. His concern was over the requirement that final documents be sealed, signed and dated. The Board responded by quoting Idaho Code Section 54-1202(14) which defines "signature" as
    "(14) Signature. The term "signature" shall mean either: an original handwritten message identification containing the name of the person who applied it; or a digital signature which is an electronic authentication process attached to or logically associated with an electronic document. The digital signature must be unique to the person using it; must be capable of verification; must be under the sole control of the person using it; and must be linked to a document in such a manner that the digital signature is invalidated if any data in the document is changed."
    The Board said that one way to protect the work product would be to apply a digital signature, as defined above, to the document. That way, if it is altered, the digital signature would be invalidated. Digital signatures are available from commercial vendors.
    Further, Idaho Code Section 54-1215(3)I states
    "The seal, signature and date shall be placed on all original documents in such a manner that such seal, signature and date are reproduced when the original document is copied. The application of the registrant's seal, signature and date shall constitute certification that the work thereon was done by him or under his responsible charge. Each plan or drawing sheet shall be sealed and signed by the registrant or registrants responsible for each sheet. In the case of a business entity, each plan or drawing sheet shall be sealed and signed by the registrant or registrants involved. Copies of electronically produced documents, listed in paragraph (b) of this subsection, distributed for informational uses such as for bidding purposes or working copies, may be issued with the registrant's seal and a notice that the original document is on file with the registrant's signature and date. The words "Original Signed By:" and "Date Original Signed:" shall be placed adjacent to or across the seal on the electronic original. The storage location of the original document shall also be provided. Only the title page of reports, specifications and like documents need bear the seal, signature and date of the registrant." (Emphasis added)
    By following the steps shown bold and underlined above you will meet the requirement of having sealed and signed and dated a hard copy. If the document is altered, you have the opportunity to compare it to the original hard copy.
    Finally, you could ask for a written request from the public official who desires an electronic copy, then place a statement of intent on the document as to its intended use; for example, "For GIS Purposes Only" and "Not Intended to be a Final Work Product." (top)

    George Yerion, P.L.S., #L-9858 wrote the Board and asked "Some surveyors prepare the Preliminary Road Plans showing horizontal and vertical alignments. Is that allowed according to the current definitions of surveying & engineering?"

    This was addressed in the Boards June 2008 Bulletin, page 4, where this appeared:
    BOARD EXPRESSES OPINION ON STAMPING OF PRELIMINARY ROAD PLANS AND PRELIMINARY PLATS
    The current definition of land surveying relates only to boundaries, which would include the horizontal alignment, but not the vertical, which would fall in the realm of the licensed professional engineer. If prepared by an engineer or surveyor, preliminary road plans which include only horizontal alignment must be sealed and signed by either the surveyor or engineer, but if they contain both horizontal and vertical alignment they must be sealed, signed and dated by the engineer or both the surveyor and engineer.(top)

    George Yerion, P.L.S., #L-9858 wrote the Board and asked "Preliminary Plats are sometimes submitted by engineers and sometimes by surveyors. I don't recall that either the Preliminary Road Plans or the Preliminary Plats are ever sealed. The Planning and Zoning Commission uses those drawings to make policy decision[s] (i.e. subdivision and road approval). Should these preliminary drawings be sealed?"

    This was addressed in the Boards June 2008 Bulletin, page 4, where this appeared:
    BOARD EXPRESSES OPINION ON STAMPING OF PRELIMINARY ROAD PLANS AND PRELIMINARY PLATS
    Under Idaho Code Section 54-1215(3)(b), effective July 1, 2007, if prepared by a professional engineer or a professional land surveyor, Preliminary Plats and Preliminary Road Plans that are "intended to be relied upon to make policy decisions important to the life, health, property or fiscal interest of the public" must be sealed, signed and dated. (top)

    Do I need to seal a legal description I prepare for a Client as a Professional Land Surveyor?

    This was addressed in the Boards June 2008 Bulletin, page 5-7, and is too long to reproduce here. Just click on the link and scroll to page 5. (top)

    Is it acceptable to place the CFedS seal on state authority surveys and documents?

    Idaho laws and rules related to land surveying are silent on the use of seals indicating credentials, other than requiring truthful statements and certifications. The CFedS program standards include the following instructions:
    E. Proper use of the CFedS Seal
    1. The use of this seal is a means to identify that the document it is affixed to has been prepared by someone that has completed the CFedS Program training, has passed the examination and is current with their continuing education and renewal fee and has executed a survey as a CFedS (see Responsible Charge FAQ No. 18 above). The CFedS seal should be used in accordance with the following guidelines: (CFedS website, CFedS News Archives, December 18, 2008)

    a. The seal is only to be applied to documents which have been produced in accordance with standards found in the CFedS training, CFedS Program materials, and this Handbook;

    Under E. 1 a., the CFedS Surveyor may only apply the seal to products done to the standards of the program. The CFedS standards are as follows:
    • Bearings are determined with reference to the true meridian as defined by the axis of the earth’s rotation and bearings are stated in terms of angular measure referred to the true north;
    • A full description of recovered evidence is contained in the record;
    • Corners are monumented with magnetically detectable metal monuments with metal cap marked to uniquely identify the corner;
    • Procedures for accepting, rejecting and reestablishing corners, subdivision of sections, establishing corners, etc. are clearly documented in the record;
    • Surveys will be filed/recorded, as appropriate, in the BIA Land Title Record Office (LTRO) as well as state, county, township, parish, borough or Tribal office; and
    • The record contains a complete description of new monuments and accessories.

    Few land surveyors are reporting true mean bearings on our surveys or in our descriptions and reports. Rotating to match one meridian does not suffice. The true mean bearing of every course would need to be reported. While nothing prevents us from doing this it is unusual to see it in State authority surveys. In addition, the standards require clear documentation of the treatment of all found monuments and all survey decisions on corner location. Some surveyors provide a narrative on their maps, but many do not. Any record of survey bearing the CFedS seal would need notes or a narrative meeting the requirements listed.
    The Idaho Board of PE & PLS does not enforce the policies and standards of other agencies or organizations. The Rules of Professional Responsibility require licensees to be truthful in statements. That includes certifications that a particular set of standards has been met. The application of the CFedS seal is essentially such a certification.(top)

    Records of Survey (ROS)

    When a surveyor does "preliminary work" but does not place monuments in the field, is he or she required to file a Record of Survey?

    The answer comes from three (3) sections of Idaho Code: 55-1902(5), 55-1904 and 55-1908.
    The definition of a "land survey" in 55-1902 (5) is:
    "(5) "Land survey" means measuring the field location of corners that:
    (a) Determine the boundary or boundaries common to two (2) or more ownerships;
    (b) Retrace or establish land boundaries;
    (c) Retrace or establish boundary lines of public roads, streets, alleys or trails; or
    (d) Plat lands and subdivisions thereof."

    55-1904. RECORDS OF SURVEY − WHEN FILING REQUIRED applies to "land surveys".
    "...A record of survey shall be filed within ninety (90) days after completing any survey which:
    (1) Discloses a material discrepancy with previous surveys of record;
    (2) Establishes boundary lines and/or corners not previously existing or of record;
    (3) Results in the setting of monuments at corners of record which were not previously monumented;
    (4) Produces evidence or information which varies from, or is not contained in, surveys of record relating to the public land survey, lost public land corners or obliterated land survey corners; or
    (5) Results in the setting of monuments that conform to the requirements of section 54-1227, Idaho Code, at the corners of an easement or lease area."

    55-1908 WHEN A RECORD OF SURVEY NOT REQUIRED contains the parameters when recording a Record of Survey is not required.
    "...A record of survey is not required of any survey when:
    (1) It is of a preliminary nature;
    (2) A map is in preparation for recording or has been recorded under any other section of the Idaho Code, or pursuant to the laws of the United States;
    (3) A survey is performed for a mineral claim location, amendment or relocation; or
    (4) None of the conditions contained in section 55-1904, Idaho Code, exist and the principal purpose of the survey is to depict information other than the points of lines that define boundaries including, but not limited to, topographic surveys and construction surveys, staking and layout." Please refer to the Supplemental Information on Records of Surveys
    (top)

    John M. "Jack" Clark, P.L.S. #L-4732 asked "When the "preliminary work" is eventually used as the basis for the preparation of a legal description, is it necessary to file a record of survey?

    This was addressed in the Boards June 2008 Bulletin, page 8.
    The answer was modified by the 2011 changes to Idaho Code Title 55, Chapter 19 which defines a land survey as follows:
    ""Land survey" means measuring the field location of corners that:
    (a) Determine the boundary or boundaries common to two (2) or more ownerships;
    (b) Retrace or establish land boundaries;
    (c) Retrace or establish boundary lines of public roads, streets, alleys or trails; or
    (d) Plat lands and subdivisions thereof."

    (T)he preparation of a legal description on the basis of preliminary work, but not monumentation in the field, would constitute a "report," and under Idaho Code Section 54-1215 would be required to be sealed, signed and dated, but a "report" and a "survey" are not the same thing.
    Idaho Code Section 54-1227 was revised in 2011, which states, in pertinent part, "Every licensed professional land surveyor is hereby authorized to make land surveys and it shall be the duty of each licensed professional land surveyor, whenever making any such land survey that is not preliminary in nature, to set permanent and reliable magnetically detectable monuments at all unmonumented corners field located, the minimum size of which shall be one-half (1/2) inch in least dimension and two (2) feet long iron or steel rod unless special circumstances preclude use of such monument; and such monuments must be permanently marked with the license number of the professional land surveyor responsible for placing the monument. . . ."(top)

    Do I need to record a Record of Survey when I stake a drain field easement?

    The answer is yes. The requirements are in Idaho Code 55-1904. Sub-section (5) was added in the 2011 revision to the code and it says: "Results in the setting of monuments that conform to the requirements of 54-1227, Idaho Code, at the corners of an easement or lease area." (top)

    Continuing Professional Development Questions (for Land Surveying)

    I am taking the Certified Federal Surveyor program. Does it count for PDHs and, if so, how many?

    The Board took this question up at their November 16-18, 2009, Meeting in Boise and determined that they would allow 10 PDHs each for completing each of the of the seven modules (70 PDHs) and another 50 PDHs for completing the program by passing the final cumulative examination (70 PDHs + 50 PDHs = 120 PDHs total).(top)

    Qualifications for Licensure by Comity

    I have regarding the qualifications for taking the 2 hour State Specific LS exam in Idaho. I am currently a Licensed Surveyor in the states of Washington and Montana. I have over 11 years experience in surveying. I do not have a college degree, or any college credits. Is a college education a required qualification to take the exam?

    PLS licensing in Idaho. Idaho Code Section 54-1219 states "The board, upon application therefor and the payment of a fee of not to exceed a maximum of one hundred fifty dollars ($150), may issue a license as a professional engineer or professional land surveyor to any person who holds a license issued to the applicant by the proper authority of any state, territory or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or of a foreign country, provided that, in the opinion of the board, the applicant possesses the education, experience and examination credentials, or their equivalents, that were specified in the applicable licensing chapter in effect in this state at the time such license was issued, provided that a professional land surveyor applicant must successfully pass a land surveying examination as prepared and administered by the board, and provided such state, territory, possession or country will license, without examination and upon substantially the same condition, to applicants holding licenses issued by the board under this chapter. In the event the applicant has been licensed and has practiced as a professional engineer or professional land surveyor in another jurisdiction for a minimum of eight (8) years, has no outstanding disciplinary action, and is in good standing under a licensing system which, in the opinion of the board, maintains substantially equivalent professional standards as required under this chapter, the board may, in its discretion, waive the requirement for satisfaction of prescriptive credentials in education and examination."
    You do not state when you were first licensed, but for the past 20 years or so there have been three routes to licensure. The first is if you have a four year degree in surveying. The second is if you have at least 60 college semester credits, at least 15 of which are in surveying. The third requires you to present evidence, satisfactory to the Board, that you possess knowledge and skill similar to that obtained upon completion of an approved college level academic curriculum. While not impossible, the third is very difficult to accomplish.
    The last sentence of Idaho Code Section 54-1219 above provides an opportunity for the Board to waive the prescriptive requirements of education for an applicant who has been licensed for 8 years "under a licensing system which, in the opinion of the board, maintains substantially equivalent professional standards as required under this chapter." In the past the Board has not considered a system which does not require formal education to be one with substantially equivalent professional standards.

  • I'm required to take CFeds Continuing Education for maintenance of my CFeds status - does it count toward my Idaho requirement? How much?
    The continuing education for CFedS does not follow the standard definition of “Continuing Education Units”. The board reviewed the matter and has adopted a ratio of 1 CFedS continuing education credit equals 5 professional development hours. These hours should be logged as a workshop (activity type 4).

    top
  • Paving over Survey Monuments

    Paving contractors are putting an overlay on the street and covering up survey monuments. Aren't they defacing or disturbing them and don't they have to replace them?

    Paving over monuments with an overlay or chip seal does not disturb them as "disturb" is used in IC 55-1613, nor is it "defaced," "injured," or "removed" as used in IC 54-1234. Prior to a "rotomilling" operation or other construction, the monument should have been located by a PLS so it can be reestablished if it is "disturbed" as required under IC 55-1613.

    Drones

    Do you need a PLS (or COA for company) to do aerial surveys with drones?

    See the attached letter clarifying drone use Drone Use Letter

    Right of Entry

    Numerous surveyors have posed a similar question to the Board related to the new trespass law. The paraphrased question reads:
    Idaho Code 6-202 (7)(b)(iii) and IC 18-7008 (6)(b)(iii) contain the following phrase: “Any licensed professional otherwise authorized to enter or remain on the real property during the course and scope of fulfilling his lawful duties.” [emphasis added]
    Does this allow surveyors right of entry while surveying?

    The Board pursued a statute change during the 2018 legislative session. The former “Public Surveying Right of Entry” was amended to include all Idaho professional surveyors and their subordinates. There are notice requirements and limitations. See the guidance letter here: Legislative Education Letter.

    Easement Monumentation and Survey Requirements

    Easement Monumentation and Survey Requirements

    See the attached paper dated October 2018

    ALTA Survey Questions

    Is an ALTA Survey a report or is it a boundary survey?

    The short answer is it is both. The ALTA map product is a report requiring the signature and seal of the professional surveyor in responsible charge. In addition, the ALTA standards clearly require several elements of the map to be located with respect to the boundary of the subject property. The surveyor must also make several statements regarding the boundary that involve measuring the points and lines that define the parcel. It is not physically possible to perform an ALTA survey without performing a boundary survey. If any of the corners are not monumented, it is the duty of the professional surveyor under 54-1227 Idaho Code to monument the corner. If this or any other conditions in 55-1904 requiring a record of survey exist, the professional surveyor must file a record of survey.(top)

    My client did not select Item 1 of Table ‘A’ when requesting an ALTA survey. This item requires the surveyor to set monuments at corners of the property where no monument exists. Does this mean I don’t have to set monuments?

    No. Idaho Code 54-1227 reads as follows:
    54-1227. SURVEYS — AUTHORITY AND DUTIES OF PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYORS AND PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS. Every licensed professional land surveyor is hereby authorized to make land surveys and it shall be the duty of each licensed professional land surveyor, whenever making any professional boundary land survey as defined in section 54-1202, Idaho Code, that is not preliminary in nature, to set permanent and reliable magnetically detectable monuments at all unmonumented corners field located, the minimum size of which shall be … [emphasis added]
    The ALTA standards are clear where state or local laws are different, the more restrictive applies. Even without this statement in the standards, professional surveyors are required to understand and adhere to the laws, rules and standard of care for surveys in Idaho. (top)

    What if a licensee prepares an ALTA survey that does not meet the ALTA minimum standards?

    While the board does not enforce rules and standards set by private entities, the Rules of Professional Responsibility place several requirements on licensees. The pertinent rules read as follows: IDAPA 10.01.02.007 PUBLIC STATEMENTS.
    01. Reports, Statements or Testimony. A Licensee or certificate holder must not commit fraud, violate the standard of care, or engage in deceit or misconduct in professional reports, statements or testimony. Each licensee or certificate holder must include all relevant and pertinent information in such reports, statements or testimony and will express opinions in such reports, statements or testimony in accordance with the standard of care. (3-29-17)
    02. Opinions Based on Adequate Knowledge. A Licensee or Certificate Holder, when serving as an expert or technical witness before any court, commission or other tribunal, may express an opinion only when it is founded upon adequate knowledge of the facts in issue, upon a background of technical competence in the subject matter, and upon honest conviction of the accuracy and propriety of his testimony. (5-8-09)
    If the licensee prepares an ALTA Survey (or other professional product) that fails to meet the standard of care or is based on inadequate knowledge they are subject to discipline. That includes falsely or incorrectly certifying adherence to other standards.(top)