Subdivision Development: What Surveyors Need to Know

Posted by Team - 04 November, 2015


A new subdivision can be a fantastic, economically friendly addition to any city. A subdivision reconstructs the land, dividing it into smaller parts to organize the space for development and/or sale. Most often, subdivisions become housing areas, with apartment buildings and cul-de-sacs, parks, and other suburban facilities.

A lot of work goes into its development; the developer must follow local government construction regulations, and he must consider the physical area for certain specifications, such as erosion or wetland protection. Here are a few things surveyors need to start a subdivision development project.

Have a Plan

The first, and arguably most important, component a surveyor should have is a well-thought-out plan. All development details should be laid out clearly in advance for everyone involved. Without a plan, your development project might fail before it ever begins.

There are many factors to consider. For starters, look at the available locations for the project. Which one will give you the most room to work with, the best design layout, or the most safety for the people who will call it home? If the land is too steep or rocky, subject to erosion, or too close to a wetland area, it is likely not the best choice for development. If the available land has some of these factors, but is otherwise workable (or the only good option), check with your local government for special regulations you’ll need to be aware of before moving forward. 

Consider the layout of the streets and water systems, as well. Streets should not be too tight or too wide, and traffic regulations for the area need to be followed. People should be able to transport themselves safely through the area in multiple ways, whether they're walking, driving, biking, or busing. Traffic lights should be well lit at all times and properly spaced throughout the roads, while street lights should provide sufficient illumination at night. The water system, including fire hydrants, should be available and functioning to everyone and connected to a wastewater treatment facility.

It also helps to make a schedule for your development plan. Keep a list of what needs to be done as well as an estimated timeline, and mark off the tasks as they're completed. It'll be easier to keep track of where you might be falling behind so you can make adjustments.

Experience Is Key

Years of college study and projects make a good basis for a career as a land surveyor and developer. For a successful livelihood in this field, however, experience can be just as important as higher education. if not more so. 

Working in land development can be unpredictable. Geographic features can change or hamper development. Bad weather conditions can bring plans to a halt, creating safety issues and extending the schedule. Clients can request changes that throw a wrench into your plans, and people can make mistakes. Studying these types of situations can't truly prepare you for them; they require quick thinking and a tenacity that only real-life experience can give you. 

All student land surveyors should spend time working as a field assistant for another professional before graduating. In doing so, they can observe how experienced surveyors handle sudden difficult situations, without throwing themselves under the bus. They’ll be able to apply their studies to field work and receive extra training not found in schoolbooks. 

Make Sure You Have Site Permits

Ensuring you have the necessary paperwork for site permits can be time-consuming, but you won’t be able to finish the project successfully without them. The exact number and specifications of site permits needed for development differ from state to state, so check with your local government during the early planning stage.

If possible, assign the job of getting the permits to a few trusted individuals in your employ. That way, you can focus on more important details while staying on the right side of the law.

Property Lien Guide

Topics: Surveying

Recent Posts

What are the Features of a Title Plant?

read more

What You Need to Know About Texas Public Records

read more

How to Eliminate Issues Locating Child Support Liens

read more