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        Section 3.E. – The Measurement Standards               poles which must be located and shown if they are on or within
                                                               ten feet of the perimeter boundary off the surveyed property.
          A long-standing concern over the Relative Positional Precision
        (RPP) measurement standard and exactly how it was defined has   As an aside, attention is drawn here to the almost universally
        been addressed in the 2021 Standards. The concern had to do   overlooked requirement to show the extent of any potentially
        essentially with the question of “with respect to what?” This has   encroaching utility pole cross-members.
        been addressed in 2021 by referencing the term “local accuracy”
        and by expressing another manner in which RPP could be cal-  Section 6 – Plat or Map
        culated (viz., “using the full covariance matrix of the coordinate
        inverse between any given pair of points’).              Two of the most significant changes to Section 6 occur in sub-
                                                               section C.ii. where two problematic issues have been addressed.
          This is not to suggest that a minimally-constrained least
        squares adjustment is inadequate in estimating the RPP, but to   First, some surveyors have encountered lenders who demand
        simply shore up the definition with a more solid, statistically-  that they list all of the items shown in Schedule BII of the title
        based definition.                                      commitment on the face of their surveys, whether those items
                                                               are survey-related or not. Such requests are, in this writer’s opin-
          In another change to the measurement standard, the applica-  ion, ridiculous (this is a survey after all and it addresses survey-
        tion of RPP – which previously included the relationship of the   related issues). To tamp down on such requests, Section 6.C.ii.
        monument or witness marking any corner of the property to  now calls for a “summary of all rights of way, easements and
        the monuments or witnesses marking any other corner of the   other survey-related matters…” (emphasis added).
        property – has been limited to only the relationships between
        adjacent monuments or witnesses.                         Second, the ALTA/nSPS Standards have always strived to
                                                               make certain that the requirements placed on the professional
        Section 4 – Records Research                           surveyor while undertaking an ALTA/nSPS Land  Title Survey
                                                               are rooted in factual, objective observations. That has been the
          Although this section appears on the red-lined  version to   reason for the avoidance of the word “affects” in the Standards
        have undergone a major rewrite, the order of the included items   when discussing the impact that an easement may have on the
        was merely rearranged for clarity; the actual content changed   surveyed property.
        very little. This becomes obvious if the “clean” version of the 2021
        Standards is reviewed.                                   Whether an easement “affects” a property is dependent not
                                                               only on where the easement plots, but also on the legal effect of
        Section 5 – Fieldwork                                  the easement. For example, if the person who granted the ease-
                                                               ment in 1920 was a not the owner of the property encumbered
          Section 5 underwent very few changes except for subsections
        C and e where several notable modifications were made. That be-  at the time, that grant is not even valid. Surveyors do not rou-
                                                               tinely confirm the chain of title related to an easement and nei-
        ing said, however, there is an addition to the introductory com-  ther do title companies. An easement could plot on a property,
        ments that clarifies that the precision with which the features in   but have no legal or title effect because it was not a valid grant
        Section 5 are to be located does not apply to the precision of the   in the first place.
        boundary, which is addressed separately in Section 3.e.
                                                                 however, lenders and others often focus on the word “affects,”
          In a major change, subsections 5.e.ii. and iii. now include util-
        ity locate markings as evidence of easements. Related to that,   so Section 6.C.ii. now suggests that surveyors may want to note
                                                               whether an easement “affects” the surveyed property based on
        subsection 5.e.iv. likewise includes them as evidence of utilities.   the description contained in the record document. In this way,
        The requirement also says to identify the source of the markings   the word “affects” is qualified as being based only on an objec-
        and include a note if the course is unknown.
                                                               tive assessment of where the easement plots pursuant to the
          Section 5.C.ii. has always called for the locations of features   granting instrument.
        within 5 feet of the perimeter boundary to be located. And Table
        A item 11 has called for utility poles within ten feet of the pe-  In addition to several other revisions, a new subsection viii. has
        rimeter boundary to be located and shown. But when locating   been added to Section 6.C. to outline the surveyor’s responsibility
        and showing utility features on the property became manda-  when he or she discovers an easement that is not listed in Sched-
        tory with the 2016 Standards, the ten foot requirement on utility   ule BII of the title commitment. After a lengthy discussion of the
        poles was inadvertently not included in Section 5.e.iv. This has   issue in one of the Joint ALTA/nSPS Committee meetings, it was
        been corrected in 2021.                                decided that in the event of such a conundrum, the surveyor must
                                                               notify the title company of the discovery and, unless the insurer
          The result is the that all utility features on the surveyed prop-  can provide evidence that the easement has been terminated, the
        erty or within five feet of the perimeter boundary of the surveyed  surveyor must show or explain its existence on the face of the plat
        property are to be located and shown, except in the case of utility  or map with a note that the title company has been notified.

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