How Zoning Works: Surveys

Normally, a survey is required when you are building a new construction project. A soil report is required when you are building a free standing new construction project. A wastewater permit is needed for almost any building permit.

  1. The purpose of the survey is to provide the exact location of the existing property lines and the position of all the structures inside the property lines. At the time of this printing, the city of Denver still has overlapping requirements for surveys. To do it right, a survey is required for most cases.
    1. The main difference between a surveyor and another professional is that surveyors have the right equipment. Fences and other markers normally occur on property lines but it’s not uncommon for these items to be more than a foot off.
    2. Surveys help determine the exact location of setbacks, addition attachments, and so on. The type of survey needed is called a “boundary survey”.
    3. As an inspection requirement, a surveyor must locate the side lot setback distance from the concrete forms to insure that the foundation does not encroach.
    4. Also, the survey shows the vertical position of the property corners and the front bulk plane relative to a city-wide system of “elevations”. For instance if the front corner of the lot is 99′, then we know that the front corner of your lot is 1′ below the standard 100′ located at a central point in Denver.
    5. It’s nice to have this information but the real issue is to establish the base plane (or the foot) of the bulk plane. You’d be surprised at how many disputes are resolved because the exact numerical position of a neighboring bulk plane is known. This is determined by taking an average between the two corners.
    6. As another inspection requirement, after the framing stage, an inspector verifies that the project doesn’t penetrate through the bulk plane. Theoretically, this is enough time to make changes if needed. Obviously, this process is more accurate if you start with a survey.
    7. Surveys normally cost between $500 and $800.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the above.

Steve Culbertson