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What is the role of a land surveyor?

#Real estate in Quebec

Last update : 2023-05-15 13:16:13

Realtors, mortgage brokers, and notaries: these experts are known for their ability to guide you through the process of selling or buying a home. But did you know that a land surveyor also plays a major role in property transactions?

In fact, the role of a land surveyor is not only limited to providing assistance in the construction of roads and infrastructure. Their knowledge can also be used to check if your property (or the one you wish to buy) is in good standing. If you want to become a homeowner, their observations could influence your purchase decision.

What is the role of a land surveyor in real estate?

A land surveyor is an expert specialized in the digital processing of geographic data and property delimitation.

In Quebec, all operations related to surveying are exclusively reserved for members of this profession. Land surveyors must take prior training and join the Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec (OAGQ) in order to offer their services. The Bachelor of Science in Geomatics at Université Laval is the only program in the province that allows you to obtain a license to practice in this field.

The role of a land surveyor when buying a house in quebec

You can use a land surveyor in the case of a residential construction project to ensure that the proposed work respects property lines. Their expert opinion can also be useful during a legal conflict or a dispute concerning a property (expropriation, conflict between neighbours, etc.).

In the context of a property transaction, the land surveyor is responsible for ensuring that the building and its accompanying land comply with town/city regulations. They are also the only experts who can do the physical validation of the property in accordance with municipal standards.

What are the services of a land surveyor?

A land surveyor holds several positions within their field of expertise. Among other things, they carry out all operations related to the surveying of public or private land properties, in addition to the following tasks:

  • Geodesy;
  • Topometry;
  • Photogrammetry;
  • Boundary marking: the operation of permanently and irrevocably fixing the dividing line of two contiguous pieces of land using markers;
  • Staking: all the operations carried out by a land surveyor for the purpose of specifying their view on the boundaries of a property by means of benchmarks;
  • Technical descriptions;
  • Cadastral operations: the cadastre (land registry) is a State register for representing and identifying land holdings on plans by assigning numbers to them;
  • Implantation: all operations carried out in order to decipher the exact location of a future construction;
  • Subdivision and land use planning.

Their involvement in the property transaction is directly connected to the production of a fundamental document in the sale process – the location certificate.

The location certificate: land suveyors measuring dimensions

The location certificate

The analyses required for the production of the location certificate are numerous. The land surveyor must check the state of the residence as well as any legal aspects that could possibly impede the enjoyment of proprietary rights.

They conduct a land survey by measuring the dimensions, angles, and area of the property. They observe and then note the position of the house and the presence of outbuildings and other marks of occupation (hedges, fences, sheds, swimming pools, etc.).

They must also check:

  • The cadastral identification of the property;
  • If there are any easements or a right of way;
  • If the property encroaches on that of the neighbour or vice versa;
  • If the dwelling is located in a risk zone or in a shoreline protection zone;
  • If the property complies with municipal by-laws.

Once all the data has been collected, the land surveyor gathers it in a report, which will then be sent to their client. A draftsman also sketches a plan in accordance with the observations noted by the expert. The report and plan are the two key components of the location certificate.

The land surveyor in a property transaction

Although there is no specific point in time at which to call in a land surveyor, the location certificate that they produce must be checked by a notary at least 20 days before the signing of the bill of sale.

However, the buyer is advised to request expert services as soon as they start to consider putting their property up for sale. By having the document prepared early in the sale process, it will avoid unnecessary delays in the ownership transfer.

How to calculate the cost of a land surveyor?

How much does it cost to hire a land surveyor?

The OAGQ's ‘guide détaillé des tarifs suggérés 2023’ (detailed guide to suggested rates 2023) offers an approximation of the price of a land surveyor's services. Nevertheless, each expert is free to determine their own fees, which may be higher or lower than the suggested rates.

Upon your request, the land surveyor can provide you with an estimate of the costs for their services.

You can also check out our article How much does it cost to hire a land surveyor? , for more information.

What is the land surveyor's salary?

According to a SOM survey conducted in 2022, the average annual salary of a land surveyor in Quebec was, in 2021, $116,050, all job categories combined. For professionals at the start of their career (0 to 4 years of practice), the average annual salary was more like $70,000.

How do I choose a land surveyor?

Choosing the right expert can make all the difference when it comes to producing a location certificate. Several criteria can help you determine which land surveyor is best suited to work with you on your building project.

We recommend that you consider the territory in which your property is located and the territory in which the expert usually works. Look for an expert who already knows the specifications and regulations of your region.

These characteristics are also a good indicator of quality among land surveyors:

  • Several years of experience;
  • Compliance with deadlines;
  • Clarity of submissions;
  • Transparency, thoroughness and attention to detail.

To help you with your research, don’t hesitate to count on us! We’ll put you in touch with 3 qualified experts who best match your needs. 

Are you looking for a land surveyor? can help you find a land surveyor. When you tell us about your project, we put you in touch with qualified resources for FREE. Simply fill out our form ( it only takes a few minutes ) and we will connect you with professionals.

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