4B — October 26 - November 8, 2018 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


O wners , D evelopers & M anagers

t’s never easy to narrow down a short list of fre- quently asked questions. By Daniel J. Caldwell, Stout & Caldwell, LLC Civil Engineering & Land Surveying: Just a few of the frequently asked questions faced everyday I Do I need a What can be built on this site and how big?

Enlisting the services of a professional civil engineer for what’s commonly referred to as a conceptual plan is step one. In general, this begins with a broad evaluation and review as much existing site data as is available, includ- ing tax maps and prior sur- veys that show the property boundaries, topography, wet- lands and other such details. Consideration is also given to parking allotment, ingress and egress access, circulation, trash location, utilities and even surrounding properties. Once complete, the concep- tual plan is put to good use by all involved – the develop- ment, the township, the architect and especially the commercial real estate profes- sional marketing the property. What type of survey is required? While it is taboo to answer a question with another ques- tion, when it comes to knowing what type of land survey is needed, it all depends on its purpose. There are a number surveys common in the world of real estate – boundary, to- pography and ALTA are prob- ably the top three. A boundary survey, as the name implies, simply defines a property’s precise boundary lines and often includes the location of any easements, en- croachments or improvements. The addition of topographical data, or the elevations and contours of the land described, complements the boundary detail. The topographic sur- vey highlights any manmade and natural structures on the land. From trees, slopes and streams to buildings, utility poles and manholes, it speci- fies where different features are located. Simply defined, an ALTA survey is a boundary survey plus a lot more. It expands be- yond a standard state-dictated boundary survey and requires surveyors to collect and docu- ment data from a combination of records and fieldwork to support title company and real property insurance require- ments. These more detailed survey standards are national and include a multi-part, multi-dimensional process based on a TABLE A. Since no two “deals” are the same, it can be hard to general- ize. Land development most of- ten requires a boundary survey continued on page 7B

current review of site activities digs deep to identify potential or existing environmental health hazards or liabilities. Such unknown contami- nants may include under- ground storage tanks, asbes- tos and lead-based paint, to name a few. An ESA is an economical way to protect buy- ers and limit their liability. This ASTM procedure is also required by lender banks and creditors as it helps determine if there are any environmen- tal risks that could affect the property value or borrower's finances.

Phase I Environmental? The short answer, yes. The more important question is why. In essence, a Phase I En- vironmental Site Assessment (ESA) is a matter of protec- tion for those buying and/or developing a property. Proper due diligence is always rec- ommended and important to avoid costly, time-consuming issues further along in the process. Also referred to as a Prelimi- nary Site Assessment or Level One Environmental Site As- sessment, this historical and

“What is a conceptual plan?” A question asked almost every day and probably more than a few times. In essence, a con- ceptual plan results from the premise of “thinking before acting” and the basic func- tion of management whether a simple grocery list or in the case of real estate, a large development project such as a newmixed use or multi-family site. First is the question of zon- ing. Is it zoned Residential, Commercial, Industrial or?

That’s why someweb site FAQ pages go on and on and on. This ho l ds t rue in the world of civil engi- neering and su r v e y i ng .

Daniel J. Caldwell

There are so many yet a few do stand out as realtors and developers are faced with new projects and opportunities. Here are just three…

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