What are the Differences between a Boundary Survey and a Flood Survey?

For some people, hearing the word “survey” only means one thing – a land survey. There are actually different types of land surveying, each designed for different needs.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the difference between a boundary survey and a flood elevation survey.

A boundary survey deals with finding the property lines and the monuments that mark the property corners of land described in a deed.

If you’re planning to purchase property, for instance, it’s important that you have the boundary surveyed so you’ll know exactly the size and location of the property you’re going to buy. Even if the seller has a survey drawing in hand, past survey results can be different from what a surveyor will find today.

Boundary surveys are used for different needs:

  • If you need to see the exact boundary of your property
  • If you’re suspecting encroachment and need it confirmed so you can take proper action
  • If you need to put up a fence around your property and need your property lines marked so you don’t encroach into another property
  • If you want to subdivide your property, either for selling it in smaller parts or dividing it among family, a boundary survey is the first step to make.
  • A boundary survey can also determine if your home is encroaching on any building setback lines if you are considering a home expansion.

A Flood Elevation Survey, on the other hand, is done to determine the elevation of your home and adjacent grades and how they compare to the base flood elevation. The results of this survey is an elevation certificate. An elevation certificate is required by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) from property owners with buildings classified within a Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA).

A flood elevation certificate allows FEMA to determine the proper flood insurance premium rates. It may also be used by a property owner for requesting a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) or Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) from FEMA.

Very often, getting a flood elevation certificate through a flood elevation survey will reduce insurance premiums. This is why getting a flood elevation survey is considered an investment by many.

So, a boundary survey will determine the horizontal extent (BOUNDARY) of your property, and a flood elevation survey will determine the vertical extent (ELEVATION) of your property and if you are in a flood plane and if you need to get flood insurance.