6 Risks To Assess With A Land Survey

Construction & Contractors Blog

Land surveying is a useful tool for assessing the risks on a property. Many parties have an interest in knowing the risks of a piece of land, including owners, buyers, financing companies, insurers, and government agencies. You can assess these six risks with a survey.

Subsidence or Uplift 

The ground can move up or down much faster than you might expect, even in one lifetime. Heavy loads can compact the soil, an especially common problem several years after the construction of a new building. Groundwater withdrawal also can cause the soil to subside. The same applies to natural resource extraction, especially oil and gas operations.

Some regions experience earth movements due to tectonic activity or volcanoes. There are also regions where glacial changes can cause shifts. Notably, this happens even in regions that haven't had glaciers for thousands of years.

Coastal Erosion

Water will change the edges of a property significantly. Although storms and hurricanes along oceans, seas, and large lakes do the most damage, even tranquil ponds and streams can promote erosion.

Slope Stability

Hills and mountainsides can have unstable slopes. Land surveying allows you to get a sense of what the slope is. You can then conduct soil testing. With knowledge of both the slope and the soil content, you can then determine how risky a specific slope might be. If necessary, you can try to mitigate the risk by erecting retaining walls, building terraces, or amending the soil. In some locations, it may also be possible to preemptively precipitate a soil collapse as a mitigation measure.


Determining if there is a floodplain on a property is important. Foremost, you'll want to avoid building in the floodplain if at all possible. Also, knowing where a floodplain is on a property will help you decide whether the location is insurable. Likewise, you may need to acquire insurance through a federal program if a private company won't insure buildings in the plain.


Knowing the lay of the land will give you a better idea of how well a wildfire might move through a property. Land surveying can also establish where the tree line is. You can then build a structure away from the tree line or fallen trees to achieve a safe distance. This will significantly mitigate the fire risk on the property.

Emergency Access

Finally, you should survey the location to determine if there is sufficient emergency access. If you determine that fire trucks can't get up the roads, for example, you may want to alter the roads by removing curves and steep slopes. Widening may also be necessary.

Contact land surveying services before your next project.


5 January 2023

And the Buildings Go Up

Have you ever driven past a large building that was still under construction? You may have stopped for a moment and admired the steel trusses and the heavy concrete blocks used to form and support such a large architectural creation. Here's a secret: construction workers do the same. Workers in this industry never cease to be amazed at what they can create from seemingly boring materials. Concrete turns into a school. Steel turns into a doctor's office. It really is incredible. You may not feel quite as amazed as you read about construction on this blog, but if you get at least a fraction of that wondered, amused feeling, we will be satisfied.