Boundary Surveys
Boundaries and Plans
The following information details the different types of Boundaries and the Plans that are used to describe them.

Physical Boundaries
These include fences, walls, hedges, fences and ditches.

Legal Boundaries
Legal Boundaries are an exact line of no thickness. They are not visible on the ground unless the deeds or determined boundary plan indicates that they follow the line of a physical feature.

General Boundaries
The majority of land registered in England and Wales is based on the register of title and title plans.These are known as General Boundaries.

Deed Plans
Plans that accompany the Deeds (or paper title) are known as Deed Plans. They may have been produce for example where the land was either conveyed or transferred.

Deed Plans are normally held by a mortgage lender and can be obtained from them for a fee.

Deed Plans are useful in boundary disputes in that they will may show "T" marks and give descriptions or dimensions of the boundary.

Whilst "T" marks indicate that ownership of a boundary feature lies with the owner within whose land it appears, the status of a "T" mark is a matter of law. Therefore whilst a "T" mark is a very good indicator of ownership of a boundary it is not necessarily the final say in the matter.

It is worth noting that when a description or dimension of a boundary in the deeds differs from that shown on the deed plan, it is usually the deeds and not the deed plan that take precedence.

Title Plans
The plans that accompany Land Registry documentation are known as Title Plans.

Title plans are for identification purposes only as they are based on Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping.

OS plans only show physical boundaries rather than legal boundaries. The thick red line drawn by the Land Registry normally follows the single line that the OS have drawn to represent physical boundary. The single OS line may actually be more than one physical  feature such as a fence and an adjacent wall - the individual features were not shown due to the scale of mapping. In other cases the OS may actually exaggerate the gap between the  physical features so that both can be shown.

The accuracy of the OS mapping needs to be taken into account when comparing a measurement taken from a plan to the corresponding distance on the ground. You should not rely on an accuracy of better than 1.1m for urban 1:1250 mapping and 2.5m for 1:2500 rural mapping.

Boundary Disputes and Surveys
Boundary disputes can be very costly in both financial and emotional terms.

We would always advise that where possible an amicable agreement should reached as to the position of the boundary. The agreed position of the boundary could then be formalised with a Determined Boundary Plan.

Where we are instructed to carry out a Boundary Survey, we would require full and free access to both sides of the boundary.

Access arrangement should have been made in advance. Ideally we would prefer not to have any direct contact with either party on the day of the survey - this is to avoid any accusations of unconscious bias.

Whilst carrying out our survey we will be looking for any physical features along the boundary in dispute that may give clues as to its position such as the remains of fence posts.If the boundary feature is a privet hedge, it is almost impossible to determine its centreline due to the nebulous nature of its bole line.

A survey report may include a number of overlay drawings, but it should be understood that the production of these is a subjective process.Whilst we may place the overlay in one location, it is likely that the Claimants, Defendant, the other Expert and the Courts would all put the overlay in different locations.

Please feel free to contact us for further information.

References
Land Registry Practice Guide 40

Anstey’s Boundary Disputes and how to resolve them
Updated by David Powell RICS Books

Practitioners Guide to the Land Registration Act 2002
Malcolm Dowden EG Books
Survey Three Limited has over 30 years experience of Boundary Surveys. We are happy to take instruction from private individuals, solicitors or businesses.

The services we offer include:
Survey Three Limited
Chartered Land Surveyors
Regulated by RICS
CPR part 35 compliant reports
Acting as an expert witness
Acting as a single joint expert witness
Surveys for boundary agreements
The provision of OS plans and data
Expert advice on boundaries
Surveys and reports for boundary disputes
CPR part 35 compliant reports
Acting as an expert witness
Acting as a single joint expert witness
Surveys for boundary agreements
The provision of OS plans and data
Expert advice on boundaries
Surveys and reports for boundary disputes