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Survey Three Limited
Chartered Land Surveyors
Regulated by RICS
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.

It is not possible to identify the legal boundary from the register of title and title plan.

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.

Determined Boundaries
This is the procedure that allows the exact line of a boundary to be determined and recorded on a register of title.

An application for a determined boundary is made using Land Registry Form DB.

The plan that accompanies the application is known as a Determined Boundary Plan.

This plan will show the boundary in great detail including the start and end of the boundary and individual fence posts. Dimension from fixed points such as building corners will be shown to enable the boundary to be re-established in the future. If no suitable fixed points are available, National Grid coordinates will be used instead of dimensions.

Ideally an application for a determined boundary should be made with the agreement of both parties.

An alternative way of clarifying the boundary is for the adjoining owners to enter into a formal boundary agreement and applying for it to be noted on the individual registers.

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.

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:
The production of Determined Boundary Plans to accompany Land Registry Form DB
Surveys and reports for boundary disputes
Reports compliant with Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR)
Provision of expert advice on boundaries
Acting as an expert witness (instructed by one of the parties)
Acting as a single joint expert witness (instructed by both parties)
The provision of Ordnance Survey plans and digital data