subjecttocontract wrote:1. The plan you are relying on is almost certainly not going to be suitable to take measurements from.
If the plans have dimensions then surely these are OK to use ?
Not necessarily. Assuming you are referring to figured dimensions, as opposed to scaling off the plan, any one or more of the following (as well as other things) may apply:
(a) The measurements may not have been taken accurately. The effect will be different according to exactly what was measured.
(b) A plan showing figured dimensions and insufficient fixed points only tells part of the story. To take a simple example to emphasise the point: Imagine a large field with a building right in the middle of it. The intention is to sell a four sided plot of land with the opposite sides being of equal length and one of the boundaries is to be one of the walls of the building. A plan is drawn showing only the building and the plot. The dimensions of each side of the plot are indicated, but there is no further information. You may think you know where the land is, but you only know where one side is, because there are an infinite number of positions in which the other three sides can be placed. What you need to know is the angles or the precise position of the corners opposite the wall by showing their distance from a fixed point such as the corner of the field.
We can take this a stage further. Let's assume that a plan was drawn up showing everything that was needed so that a surveyor with the plan in his hand can accurately plot the land on the ground. A house is built in the middle of the plot, but when fences are put up on the three open sides they are not put up in the correct position, but each one is of the length shown on the plan. This leaves us with a nicely drawn plan and three boundaries that do not correspond with the plan. We fast forward fifty years. There is a boundary dispute. A surveyor measures up and finds the discrepancy. By this time the history is forgotten. What is not known is whether the fences were put up and then the plot inaccurately measured, or the plot measured and then the fences inaccurately sited. The plan now has limited value in determining the position of the fenced boundaries mainly because after the lapse of time the fences have come to represent the boundaries. Of course if the fences had been erected in the correct position the plan would be of immense value as it would confirm that the fences were in the right place. The plan would also have been of value fifty years ago if a surveyor had been on site to supervise the positioning of the fences.
(c) You may not know if the measurements were taken on the ground or in the air. The steeper the gradient of the land and the longer the distance measured, the more critical this is.
(d) Many conveyance plans are "as we meant to build it" and not "as we in fact built it".
(e) If your land is registered it is the title plan that shows what you own and these rarely have figured dimensions on them. Any plan attached to a pre-registration deed is no longer part of the title to your land. The register is the title and replaces the "old deeds". Measuring from the figured dimensions of a pre-registration deed is a futile exercise. In fact, if a plan included in the deeds submitted with an application for first registration does not quite coincide with the OS plan the LR "corrects" the position and registers the property according to the OS plan, and not the plan on the deeds.
subjecttocontract wrote:2. You probably don't know how to measure land properly.
So, how would you go about measuring land 'properly' ?
No idea as I am not a surveyor. I am not saying that a non-professional cannot measure his property and come up with the correct figures, especially if the land is flat. However, I doubt a person can take measurements in the air without at least some training.
subjecttocontract wrote:3. If you start to measure your boundaries you will start to believe things you have no business believing, for example that you know exactly where your boundaries are.
Not necessarily if its done properly, with care and accuracy then most people should be able to manage it.
The sort of thing that can happen is this:
(a) You are scaling from a plan that is a copy and copies are rarely to scale.
(b) The approximate scale is 1:1250 and this is difficult to scale from accurately.
(c) The distances you scale from the plan are distances in the air, but you assume that they are distances on the ground.
(d) You want to measure from the back of the house to the rear fence. You do not realise that the rear of the house has been extended and that the extension is not shown on the plan you have scaled from.
(e) If you want your garden to be longer you may, without necessarily intending to deceive, measure it longer. You will make little allowances that will be in your favour.
You can see how easy it is to come to believe something you should not believe. And all the measuring may be a waste of time because even if your measurements are accurate, the boundary may have moved anyway!
subjecttocontract wrote:6. Disputes over boundaries enrich lawyers and surveyors - you don't want to do that as they are already rich enough.
.....and a satisfactory ending to a dispute makes you feel really good and might well be worth the toil & trouble.
In my experience in practice boundary disputes rarely end satisfactorily. They are most likely to end satisfactorily if the encroachment is recent and substantial. The problem that lawyers have with boundary disputes is that there is little law in them and few conclusive documents to rely on. The problem with boundary disputes that surveyors have is that they are usually being asked to determine the position of a line without sufficient information.