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New Legislation Affecting Surveyors Signed into Law

Tuesday, May 15, 2018   (1 Comments)
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The Indiana Society of Professional Land Surveyors promoted a bill in the 2018 session that passed through the legislature and was signed by Governor Holcomb. The 2018 Senate Enrolled Act 197 will become law on July 1. It addresses three issues relating to surveyors and the practice of surveying.


First, it amends IC 32-19-2-2 and 32-19-3-1, which address State Plane Coordinates in Indiana and, in particular, their use in property descriptions.


These sections were written in the 1980s and needed to be amended to reflect modern survey thought and practice. The new law now recognizes not just the state plane coordinate system, but any “coordinate system published by an agency of the federal government or of the state.” It also specifically acknowledges the Indiana Geospatial Coordinate System.  


SEA 197 also does away with the requirement to run a survey from first or second order geodetic control monuments. In modern practice, with GNSS, Virtual Reference Systems and CORS, practices such as that are simply outdated.


IC 32-19-3-2 provided that a purchaser or mortgagee did not have to rely on a description using state plane coordinates. This section was repealed.


Second, SEA 197 amends IC 36-2-12-10 and 36-2-12-14 which address Legal Surveys and appeals to Legal Surveys.


The new law eliminates some contradictory language relating to notifications by clearly requiring notification by registered or certified mail. Current law allows for no notification if all owners of adjoining lands consent in writing to the survey. In addition, in IC 36-2-12-14, the appeals process mentions “notice by publication” even though, confusingly, such notification is not allowed under the legal survey process itself. SEA 197 eliminates the possibility of notice by publication. 


Finally, the wording in IC 36-2-12-10 has been corrected to require that the survey be “entered” (not “recorded”) in the county surveyor’s legal survey record book. A legal survey will, however, still need to be recorded in the Recorder’s Office pursuant to Rule 12 865 IAC 1-12-12(a)(2).


Lastly, and most significantly, SEA 197 adds section IC 25-21.5-9-9 to the surveyor’s registration act.


This new section requires that if a surveyor prepares a new description as a part of a retracement or original boundary survey (except for lots in new subdivisions), the caption of that description must contain certain information identifying that survey. The information required includes the surveyor’s name and registration number, the date of the certification, the date of the last revision (if any), any project number and the name of the survey company.


To support this new requirement, two other sections were added to IC 25-21.5-1 providing definitions for original and retracement boundary surveys. These definitions come from the definitions in Rule 12. 


These new sections will help future surveyors meet their universally recognized obligation to “Follow in the Footsteps” of the original surveyor by providing the necessary information for them to confidently do so.


Taken together, the sections of SEA 197 will help better protect the public by ensuring that (1) surveyors will be allowed to practice using the most cost effective, technologically-advanced methods, (2) adjoiners will have proper notification of legal surveys that may affect their property lines, and (3) surveyors will be armed with the necessary information to retrace property lines correctly and with fewer conflicts in the future.


Thanks to the ISPLS Legislative Committee, including Senator Blake Doriot, for their support and guidance, and to Jason Coyle for volunteering to testify in committee.


Bill T. Davies says...
Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019
In my decades of surveying, I have found that lawyers (especially lawyers at title companies) will drastically change our legal descriptions and omit or change information at will. I have my doubts that these attorneys will leave in our survey related information, they have rarely included it in the past, ie removing reference to monuments, surveys, deeds etc.

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