Anyone who wants to buy a plot of land where the ownership situation is not exactly clear must have a survey carried out. The neighbors must also participate in this – the result is determined at the so-called boundary meeting. In addition, builders must have surveys performed at different points in the construction process. Learn all about land surveying, building surveying and associated costs, and ways to save money in this article.
the essentials in brief
- Surveys need to be performed at different points in the construction process: at the time of land purchase, as part of the building application, at the start of construction, and during the building survey.
- Costs can be saved with regard to the different surveying activities, because in certain cases the construction control survey and the building survey can be carried out together. It should also be negotiated exactly who will bear the costs. Ideally, the previous owner will pay the full cost of the property survey.
- The cadastral office is the master of the scaled registration of land and real estate. The cadastral map (also called real estate map or cadastral map) is the crucial document that ensures the ownership of land. Therefore, officially, every land survey is also an official matter according to fixed legal requirements. They are carried out by the publicly appointed surveyors (ÖbVI) of the officially recognized surveying offices.
When are surveys performed?
Surveys must be performed in the subsequent phases of the construction process:
- Surveying during the purchase of land
- Surveying for the building application (official site plan)
- Surveying at the start of construction – the construction control measurement
- Surveying during construction completion – the building survey
Surveying during the purchase of land
When buying parts of a plot of land (parcelling), surveying is necessary in any case. When purchasing undivided land, a land survey is not necessarily required. But here, too, a survey may be necessary or advisable.
When should a survey be done when buying undivided land?
- You want legal certainty about whether the specified limits are correct. Also talk to the neighbors: is there any doubt about the boundary line?
- If boundary signs are damaged or not complete. The boundary points should be compared with the representation on the parcel map.
- If the previous owner is not clear about the location of all boundary signs. It happens that they are overbuilt, for example, by fences or overgrown shrubs.
- If the property has not been surveyed with modern geodesy in the past. Information about it can be found in the cadastre.
Boundary determination of existing boundary points
Boundary determination is the official procedure of establishing existing and new boundary points and boundaries of a parcel of land. A boundary determination results in a recording in the real estate cadastre.
Land survey costs
The cost of a land survey can range from several hundred to around 5000 euros or more and depends on a number of input values on the basis of which the calculation is performed. They result from the surveying fee regulations for the publicly appointed surveyors (ÖbVI) of the respective federal states:
- Standard land value (average price per square meter)
- Area of the parcel
- Number of parcels to be changed or formed
- Number of boundary points required
- Land value (value of undeveloped land)
Below you will find exemplary cost statements for the various surveying activities in Baden-Würtemberg:
Land surveying: parcelling of a plot of land
Input values: standard land value: 250 € per square meter, boundary formation by two boundary points (straight line)
Formation of the parcel 1508 €
Marking of the boundary points 180 €
19 % sales tax 320 €
35% continuation fee for the cadastral office € 527
Total cost: 2535 €(thereof 2008 € for the ÖbVI and 527 € for the responsible surveying office)
Input values: standard land value: € 250, number of boundary points to be determined incl. Marking out: 3
Basic amount 150 €
Boundary points determination 120 €
Boundary points marking 120 €
250 € multiplied by 2.25 (land value factor) = 562 €
19% VAT on 712€ = 135€
Total cost 1087 €
Surveying Official site plan
Based on the construction costs of the building and the fee schedule for architects and engineers.
Input values: building project single-family house 132250 €, digital data of the real estate cadastre are available, the building plot is level, so that no topographic surveys are necessary.
Total costs (incl. 19 % VAT) 670 €
Building measurement is based on construction costs and number of buildings.
Input values: single-family house with garage, construction costs 320000 €
Building shots 300 €
19 % sales tax 57 €
35 % Continuation fee for the real estate office € 105
Total cost: 462 €
A similar amount can be expected for the construction control measurement.
Who pays for the land survey?
The costs incurred for the land survey must be negotiated between the buyer and the seller. It is not uncommon for buyers as interested parties to pay for the cost of surveying alone. However, there are also solutions where both bear the costs or the seller bears the costs alone. In any case, it is advisable to reach agreements on this and to record them clearly in the purchase contract.
Measure the plot yourself? Is it possible?
The short answer is no. As a property owner, you must submit an application for surveying to a publicly appointed surveyor (ÖbVI) or directly to the responsible land registry or surveying office. These independent surveyors then carry out the survey as part of a boundary appointment.
Application for the measurement of a land plot
Thus, in order to carry out a property survey, a corresponding application must be submitted to an officially recognized surveying office. This request can be made only by the owner of the land or can be made with the express permission of the owner. Note that even after the purchase agreement is signed, ownership does not change until it is entered in the land register, which can take up to six months. Here you can learn more about the land register and the land charge.
Boundary restoration of existing boundary points
In the case of boundary reconstruction, an official decision is made as to whether an established parcel boundary actually corresponds to the evidence in the real estate cadastre, i.e. that it has been transferred into the locality in accordance with the information in the cadastre.
The border appointment
In the course of surveying, the so-called boundary establishment is presented to all parties involved in the boundary appointment. The following persons are present at the boundary meeting: the owner / if applicable. Buyer of the property and the owners of all adjacent properties. The meeting is recorded in minutes. All parties must recognize the boundary line. Any challenges to the boundary line must be made known here. In case of mutual acceptance, the demarcation of the established property boundary shall be executed by placing visible boundary signs.
Following the boundary appointment, the surveying documents are submitted to the competent cadastral authority (surveying office). These will be reviewed subject to a four-week objection period. If the inspection is positive, the determined boundary lines are transferred to the cadastre and entered in the land register accordingly.
Marking of established boundary signs
Demarcation is the official procedure of marking visible boundary points. Once the boundary points have been marked out, there is permanent certainty about the course of the boundaries of a plot of land.
Surveying for the building application
An official site plan is required for the building application. On the basis of the Official Site Plan, the building permit procedure is carried out. The publicly appointed surveyor (ÖbVI) prepares the official site plan on the basis of his own surveys and the documents from the real estate cadastre. All facts important for the building project (e.g. dimensions, alignment) are certified, taking into account the conditions of the property (e.g. elevations, pipelines, extent of neighboring buildings, distances).
Surveying at the start of construction – the construction control measurement
After the start of construction, proof of compliance with the floor area and height specified in the building permit must be provided to the building supervisory authority within two weeks. The builder provides this proof by means of a construction control measurement.
The publicly appointed surveyor (ÖbVI) also carries out the construction control measurement. By the way, such a control measurement can save from additional costs, which can occur due to possible errors, and is therefore to be understood primarily as a safeguard for the builder.
What is shown on the official site plan?
The Official Site Plan includes information on boundary lines, topography, ground elevations, setback areas, easements, and all existing overhead and underground utilities. Also recorded there are provisions from the development plan as well as designations listed in the land register (e.g. information on owners) for the respective property and those of the neighbors. Thus, all important information about the building plot can be found here, so that an assessment of the building project can be made with regard to the properties of the plot. Learn more about the development plan here. Here you can learn more about the distance areas.
Surveying during construction completion – the building survey
Upon completion of the building project, the building owner must have the building surveyed by the publicly appointed surveyor (ÖbVI). This procedure guarantees the up-to-dateness and continuation of the official real estate map.
Tip: Carry out building control and building measurement at the same time!
In some cases there is a possibility to perform building control measurement and building survey together, so you can save costs. However, this is only possible if the floor plan in its final form is already sufficiently recognizable in the two-week period to be observed for the construction control measurement. For the building survey can be made in sufficient form on the floor slab or basement.