So you’ve been told you by your builder, architect or other building professional that you need to get a survey……..but what kind of survey? Let us try and de-mystify this part of the building process.

Detail and Level Survey

A Detail and Level Survey is often called a topographical survey, detail survey, level survey, site plan or contour survey and this is the most common survey that your builder, architect or designer may ask you to organise. It is because it is a way to gather all the information that will assist in the design of the building including identifying constraints and is usually a requirement from Council in the Development Application process, or the Certifier for the CDC process.


The Detail and Level Survey plan should, among others, include:

  • Location of existing buildings, driveways, pools, decks, visible services, trees, rock ledges, manholes, sewer and stormwater lines, etc
  • Levels of the land
  • Level and position of road centreline, kerbs crossings, footpaths etc
  • Site dimensions and area of the land
  • Neighbouring properties including position and heights of doors and windows on the adjoining facades facing the subject site as well as floor levels and ridge heights

Boundary Marking

This type of survey is just what it states, the corners of your land, ie the boundaries, will be physically marked with either a peg or by other physical means. The fence is not your boundary and the position of your fence can differ widely from the actual boundary. Only a Registered Surveyor can mark your boundaries.

Construction Set Out

This survey is carried out to mark the position of a proposed construction such as a house, garage or pool to ensure the construction is built to its correct position and height as stated by the Council or Private Certifier.

Identification Survey

An Identification Survey (or Ident) is often carried out prior to the sale of a property, the Bank may request an Ident if you are negotiating a new mortgage, or the Council will ask for one if you are applying for a Building Certificate.

An Identification Survey identifies the position of existing buildings, fences and other physical improvements such as a pool, as well as any easements or restrictions that are on your Certificate of Title. An Identification Survey can only be carried out by a Registered Surveyor and the fee for this type of survey generally represents less than 0.1% of your purchase price, a small cost to ensure a worry-free transaction during one of the biggest purchases you may ever make..

Building Complaince Survey

This survey provides confirmation of the position and height of new works relative to your boundary. You generally need a building compliance survey after the build has finished and as a condition of the DA or at the request of your Certifier.

Just remember its up to you and your builder to make sure your development is built as per the approved plans. The possibility of not complying greatly increases if you don’t engage a Registered Surveyor throughout the process.

Call CMS Surveyors on 9971 4802 or email to discuss your next project and don’t forget to mention The Renovating Mums – Northern Beaches Facebook page!