2021 ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Minimum Standard Detail Requirements

As anticipated, a new version of the ALTA/NSPS Minimum Standard Detail Requirements will become effective on February 23, 2021. This is the tenth edition of the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements that were recently adopted and accepted by ALTA (American Land Title Association) and NSPS (National Society of Professional Surveyors).

New ALTA Survey Requirements Effective February 23, 2021

It is interesting to recognize the significance of the February effective date. The date coincides with the celebration of the Roman god Terminus, who per Roman history, protected boundary markers thus making February 23rd a symbolic date for surveyors. Please note that prior to the February 23rd date, when contracting with a surveyor to provide an ALTA Survey, the surveyor will perform the survey to the current 2016 Minimum Standards. Contracts executed on or after the effective date will be performed to the NEW 2021 Standards.

Modifications for Surveyors and User Comprehension

Although there are no major changes, there are some modifications that will affect both the surveyor’s responsibilities and the user’s comprehension. These modifications occur not only in the Minimum Standards, but also in the Optional Table A items listing.

ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Universal Verbiage Changes

Regarding the Minimum Standards, there have been a couple of universal verbiage changes to make references consistent.

  • In Section 3.E.1, a modification has been made to the definition of Relative Positional Precision.
  • In Section 4, responsibilities for Record Research have been clarified.
  • There have been additional and more specific responsibilities noted in Section 5 regarding utility information.
  • Within Section 6, there is clearer direction given to the surveyor regarding the reporting of easement matters, noting access to public or private streets, reporting the tax parcel numbers for adjoining lands and advising the title company of any known easements not cited in the title evidence.

Optional Table A Item Changes

Of note in the listing for ALTA Survey Optional Table A Items:

  • The introductory paragraph has been re-written to clarify negotiation which has been the intent since the 1988 version.
  • Slight modifications have been made in Table A Items 6(a), 6(b), 11 and 18 (formerly 19).
  • Table A Items 10b (identifying whether certain walls are plum) and 18 (delineation of wetlands) have been eliminated.   The elimination of these two items has caused former Item 10(a) to now be known as Item 10, and former Items 19, 20 and 21 to be renumbered as 18, 19 and 20.

Redline Version of the New Minimum Standards

NV5/ Bock & Clark has prepared a red-line version of the new ALTA Survey Requirements. Please note that our red-line version has a significant amount of strike-through. Be advised that in many cases, it was easier to rewrite some sentences or paragraphs rather than striking out every other word. Often, the content remains the same.

We are preparing new hard copy materials, including a new NV5 Handbook for ALTA Surveys, and will distribute them as soon as possible. We’ll have further updates on our website at www.nv5.com and in future editions of our e-newsletter.

If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to either contact your NV5 Sales Representative or Jim Brown, National Director of Business Development for NV5/Bock & Clark at 800-787-8397, (ext. 835) or email James.Brown@NV5.com.  We are currently scheduling 1-hour presentations on the topic of the new standards for 2021 which may qualify for CLE credit. Contact us for details.