How to Use ALTA Survey Optional Table A Items

Why Item 21 is Blank

When looking at the “Optional Survey Responsibilities and Specifications” referred to as Table A attached to the Minimum Standards, a user may question why Item 21 is blank. This was intentionally done to accommodate any time there is a need to include something within the scope of the ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey that is not addressed within the Minimum Standards responsibilities or defined in Optional Table A Items 1 through 20.

Use Item 21 to Address Additional Requirements

The ordering client and the surveyor may negotiate the definition of the additional requirement and address it accordingly under Optional Item 21. Within the introduction preamble to the Optional Table A items, an example is cited involving requirements that would be needed for an engineering design survey that may be done in conjunction with the ALTA Survey. However, this blank item is not limited to that example so long as the surveyor is providing something within the realm of their expertise.

Using an ALTA Survey Optional Table A Item

Consider the following scenario:

The fee parcel of land subject to the limits of the ALTA Survey is an approximate 2-acre outparcel to a shopping mall. In a review of the title work or what the surveyor observes in the field, it is evident that the 2-acre outparcel enjoys the benefit of an appurtenant easement over the entirety of a shopping mall 120 acres in size for things such as access, utility connections and parking. Per the Minimum Standards, the surveyor must indicate (not survey) the limits of the appurtenant easement parcel to the extent it is plottable.

The completed survey would show the fee 2-acre outparcel and a depiction of the boundary of the easement over the 120-acre mall. Conversely, the client could elect to include the Optional Table A Item 19 in the land title survey,  requiring that the surveyor also survey the 120-acre mall easement parcel according to the Minimum Standards resulting in the limits of the survey at 122 acres rather than 2, impacting both the cost and timing.  The transaction parties are more likely interested in learning about some matters regarding the appurtenant easement, but that may be gained without going to the expense of having it fully surveyed.

Additional Ways to Use Item 21

The above is an instance where defining some responsibilities under Optional Table A Item 21, rather than, for example selecting Item 19, could be of benefit. Under Item 21, the ordering party might choose to ask the surveyor to provide a recent aerial photo of the entirety of the mall in conjunction with the survey which would sufficiently gain the needed information. Or it could be negotiated with the surveyor to provide notations on the survey regarding the appurtenant easement thus avoiding the additional survey expense.

The note could be something similar to “At the time of the survey, it was observed that the 2-acre outparcel surveyed and shown hereon was utilizing the appurtenant easement depicted, and recorded in Deed Volume 18947/Page 873 of the Cook County Recorder’s Office Records for ingress and egress to the following public roadways that adjoin said appurtenant right, etc.” or “all utilities servicing the surveyed parcel enter said parcel from the appurtenant easement.”

Using Table A Properly Can Save Time & Money

In an effort to save both time and money while not scrimping on the needed information, the Project Managers at NV5/Bock & Clark are a great resource and can provide suggestions in situations where negotiating when an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys standard Table A Item versus a custom item (blank Item 21) can be beneficial to both cost and turnaround times.

Furthermore, if multiple items are negotiated under Item 21, they should be addressed as Items 21(a), 21(b), etc. Per Section 6.D.(g) of the ALTA survey Minimum Standards, should the client and the surveyor negotiate and agree on a definition for Item 21, etc., the surveyor must include a note on the survey as to the definition and include the item by number within the Surveyor’s Certification. This is helpful information to another party who may be looking at the survey and is unaware of the definition.

Need help determining when and how to use ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Optional Table A Items? View our NV5 Handbook for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys or contact us today.