Workshop Program: Best Practices For Acquiring Land Surveying Services


Many different types of professionals depend on land surveyors to accomplish their work. These professionals include civil engineers, architects, and those involved in commercial real estate. Often these professionals obtain these services with a poor understanding of exactly what a land surveyor does and why they need land surveying services on a project. This lack of understanding can lead to increased risk and expense for the project.

In this workshop we help you obtain the understanding you need to make the most effective acquisition of land surveying services for your next project. During the workshop we discuss the common services land surveyors provide and explain how a land surveyor is different from a typical contractor. We also examine the sources of risk that are part of any land surveying project, explain how these risks can impact your project and the land surveyor, and show ways you can properly reduce and manage this risk.

Morning Session

The morning session is 3.5 hours long. In the morning session, we explain what a land surveyor is and the basic types of services a land surveyor provides. We also explain the types of risk a land surveyor needs to manage in their business, and how this impacts your project.

Afternoon Session

The aternoon session is 3.5 hours long. In the afternoon session, we explain how to find a land surveyor for your next project. We conclude by teaching you how to manage your land surveyor effectively once they are under contract.

What You Will Learn

  1. How land surveyors are different from construction contractors.
  2. Why land surveyors don’t like to compete on low-bid.
  3. How quality and cost can vary from surveyor to surveyor, and why this happens.
  4. The types of risk in a land survey, and how these risks impact your project.
  5. How you and your land surveyor can manage risk in a scope-of-services.
  6. How you and your land surveyor can manage risk with project phasing.
  7. Legal requirements your land surveyor needs to meet on every survey.
  8. How to write effective RFPS and RFQs for land surveying services.
  9. Mistakes to avoid once you have a land surveyor under contract.

Teacher Bio

Landon has practiced as a licensed land surveyor in Central California and Western Nevada for 15 years. He specializes in providing surveying services to support the design and maintenance of large public works. These public works include dams, levees, canals, pipelines, roads, and railroads. 

Landon regularly works with civil engineers, architects, land attorneys, local governments, large agricultural land owners and commercial real estate professionals.

Landon Blake Business Portrait

Workshop Outline

Part 1: What is a land surveyor?

  1. What is a land surveyor?
  2. How are land surveyors and construction contractors different?
  3. The basic types of services a land surveyor provides.
  4. Land surveyors and low-bid selection.
  5. Aren’t all land surveyors the same? (This is like shopping for socks…right?)

Part 2: Understanding and managing risk in land surveys.

  1. The types of risk in a survey.
  2. Your survey related risks as a project designer or project owner.
  3. Managing risk in the scope-of-services.
  4. Legal requirements land surveyors have to meet on every survey.

Part 3: Finding a land surveyor for your project.

  1. Avoiding common mistakes in your land surveying request for proposal.
  2. Designing an effective surveying services request-for-qualifications.
  3. Determining the selection criteria and process.
  4. Be nice to the losers.

Part 4: Managing your land surveyor once under contract.

  1. Monitoring your surveyors performance.
  2. Determining survey milestones.
  3. Checking on quality.
  4. Ensuring regular communication.
  5. An honest conversation about change orders.
  6. 5 ways to avoid alienating your land surveyor.

Part 5: Extra stuff.

  1. The cost/accuracy tradeoff.
  2. Simple things aren’t always simple (or easy).
  3. Protect your sub-consultant.
  4. Common problem areas.

Workshop Questions

The workshop will answer these questions:

  1. What is a land surveyor?
  2. How are land surveyors different from contractors?
  3. Why doesn’t my land surveyor want to submit a “bid” for my project?
  4. What is a “record-of-survey” and why am I being asked to pay for one?
  5. Why does my land surveyor want to charge me extra to provide control for construction?
  6. Why can’t my surveyor just show the property lines?
  7. What are common mistakes made in surveying RFPs?
  8. How do I manage an effective RFQ process for land surveying services?
  9. How do I minimize change orders from my land surveyor?
  10. Why does my survey cost so much?

Workshop Exercises

The workshop will include the following exercises:

  1. Preparing a scope-of-services and mapping limits for a topographic survey.
  2. Phasing surveys on a land development project.
  3. Preparing a sample survey RFQ.

Workshop Links

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Professional Development Hours

You should be able to count 3.5 hours of professional development for the morning session of the workshop and 3.5 hours for the afternoon session of the workshop. This is a total of 7 hours for both sessions. (Please check with your licensing board or certifying authority on the eligibility of this workshop for your specific continuing education requirements.) If you attend both sessions and pay for the afternoon session, we will send you an attendance certificate for both the morning and afternoon session.

Take This Training As An Online Course

This training is offered as an online course for individuals and groups. Certification of course completion is available. If you would like to take this training as an online course, or would like us to offer an online course to your team, please reach out to Landon Blake by e-mail.

Customize This Training For Your Organization

Redefined Horizons can customize this training to meet the specific needs of your organization. We can add or remove topics, craft examples from your practice, and design systems to measure team member learning. If you are interested in customizing this training for your organization, please reach out to Landon Blake by e-mail.

Related Workshops

Landon teaches several other workshops on business for land surveyors and civil engineers. These workshops include:

Learn about these and other workshops on the Redefined Horizons Talks and Workshops web page.

Host This Workshop

Would you like to host this workshop at your organization or in your community? Redefined Horizons teaches workshops across the Western United States. If you are interested in hosting this talk, please contact Landon Blake by e-mail.

We can offer the course at a discount for members of your organization or support a local scholarship of your choice if you host the workshop.