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How much does it cost to hire a land surveyor?

#Buying a property #Selling a real estate property

Last update : 2022-05-31 08:39:51

In Quebec, a land surveyor is a public officer who is an expert in property boundaries and geomatics. This type of expert has the exclusive right to all surveying operations affecting private or public land ownership as well as related cartography, geodesy and photogrammetry work.

If your plan is to put a piece of real estate up for sale, you will have to hire a land surveyor to provide you with a location certificate, which is an important document in a real estate transaction. However, the role of a land surveyor is not limited to creating location certificates.  Indeed, demarcation, certification of rental spaces, staking, siting, as well as cadastral operations are other types of acts that only a land surveyor, member of the Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec (OAGQ) is authorized to carry out.  

Looking to hire a land surveyor for your real estate or home renovation project? Find out the costs associated with surveying work.

land surveyor at work

What is the role of the land surveyor?

The land surveyor is responsible for drawing up survey plans and delineating properties. Their main task is to plan, develop and create plans, methods and techniques that will be used to carry out official surveys (measurements).

The role of a land surveyor consists of analyzing, recording and displaying the data and results obtained using a GIS (geographic information system) in order to ensure the accuracy, veracity and the quality of the information that is collected. Subsequently, the expert is responsible for drafting the survey expertise reports as well as the official documents requested by clients.

The land surveyor may also be called upon to act as a consultant during the realization of various public works(construction of roads, paths, highways, parking lots, parks, public buildings) or private projects (building constructions, private parking lots, industries, private roads or property developments, etc.).

Also, it is common to hire a land surveyor as an expert in legal disputes or legal proceedings concerning a property (expropriation, purchase of land, a conflict between neighbours).

Land surveyor creating plans

Services related to land surveying

  • Demarcation: permanently defining the limit between two neighbouring houses;
  • Technical description: describing the boundaries of a parcel of land that is subject to special rights;
  • Cadastral operations: representing a property on a geographical plan and identifying it by a distinct lot number;
  • Picketing: giving a professional opinion on the boundaries of a lot;
  • Certification of rental spaces: defining the exact areas for rental spaces in a building;
  • Implantation: locating the location of a future construction on a site;
  • Spatial planning: assisting municipalities in their need for mapping and analysis of geospatial data.

Source: Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec (OAGQ)

Land surveying: what is the price of a location certificate?

The Government of Quebec defines the location certificate as "a document intended for the owner, the notary, the lawyer, the creditor or the buyer which will be used during the real estate transaction. The location certificate includes a report and a plan in which the land surveyor expresses their opinion on the situation and the current condition of a property in relation to the titles, the cadastre, the occupation, as well as the laws and regulations that may affect it. ”

In most cases, a purchase offer stipulates that the seller must provide the buyer with a location certificate that demonstrates the current situation of the property, so it is up to the owner to bear the cost. This document describes the situation of the building on a given date, so the notary may advise you to get a new certificate if the one you have in your possession is already a few years old.

suburban houses

The Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec (OAGQ) has established a 2022 Guide of suggested rates for land surveyors (the prices are featured at the end of this article). This guide has been published for informational purposes only and serves as a reference for members in order to define fair and reasonable fees. This guide sets the price of a location certificate for a single-family house in an urban setting at $ 1,405, excluding taxes.

According to the Association professionnelle des notaires du Québec (APNQ), the location certificate is a highly important document that can affect the value of the property or block expansion or development projects. It is therefore essential to know the terms before proceeding with the transaction.

Here are some questions that must be answered by a location certificate:

  • What is the cadastral identification of the building?
  • Are there any encroachments?
  • Is the building subject to easements? If so, where are they applied?
  • Does the building comply with municipal regulations, particularly with regard to zoning?
  • Is the building partially or totally located in a mapped flood zone, in a riparian protection strip or in a landslide area?

Source: the Association professionnelle des notaires du Québec (APNQ)

Summary of the average fees charged by a land surveyor


Type of service Price*
Location certificate (single-family house in an urban environment)


Layout and location certificate (single-family home)


Layout and location certificate (semi-detached house) including one certificate per unit


Staking and staking certificate (isolated case - investigation excluded)


Serial staking including the staking certificate (investigation excluded): 


First location



Each additonal adjacent location


Registration (if required, land survey excluded)


First lot created


Each additional lot created


Technical description (field survey excluded)


First plot


Each additional plot (same minute)


Source: Suggested fee schedule - Order of land surveyors of Quebec (OAGQ)
* Suggested prices exclude applicable taxes

Hiring a land surveyor in Quebec

Each land surveyor is required to join the Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec (OAGQ). This organization ensures the protection of the public through professional inspection, continuing education and discipline. Most of all, it determines the standards of practice and the regulations which guide the members in their professional activities.

The bachelor's degree in geomatics offered by Université Laval is the only Quebec school program that allows you to obtain a license to practice within the profession. Once the university studies are completed, the candidate for the profession must follow a professional internship and pass the admission exams of the Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec in order to obtain his license to practice and the reserved title.

Each land surveyor must have:

  • Good math calculation skills;
  • An interest and skills in science, research and technical drawing;
  • A very good ability to understand plans and specifications;
  • A strong sense of observation.

Backyard porch

How to choose a good land surveyor?

Before you choose your land surveyor, it would be relevant to compare 3 to 4 quotes to determine the expert with whom you plan to collaborate. Among the qualities of a land surveyor are:

  • Respect of deadlines: allows the owner to have the necessary documents in time for the sale of their property or for the start of renovations, if necessary. The project deadline is therefore an important aspect to discuss with the expert even before accepting their quote.
  • Years of Experience: As with most professions, the cost of hiring a land surveyor will be directly related to their years of experience.
  • Knowledge of the territory: choose an expert who is perfectly familiar with the regulations relating to the use of the territory and the limits that define it.
  • Clarity of the quote: it is important to obtain a clear and detailed quote in order to be able to compare the bidders. The land surveyor should be able to provide you with a price list so that you can estimate the costs yourself.
  • Curiosity: before presenting a quote, the land surveyor should ask you certain questions relating to the location of the land, the extent of the property, the presence of natural constraints, etc.
  • Transparency, thoroughness and attention to detail.

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