Where Are The Property Boundaries ?

by | Nov 17, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As a remodeling contractor, I get into all sorts of projects many of which require us to know and work off of the property boundaries. Pins in my town are typically a 2′ length of rebar that was pounded into the ground and often a plastic cap is installed on top. There have been a few cases where if we only had a pin locator it would have solved problems, (I do own one now and use it frequently) The issue is that not all property boundary pins are easily located in the older parts of town. I recently failed an inspection because I could not show proof of property boundary. With a foundation pour the following morning this proved problematic and caused me to dump my afternoon plans to figure it out.

My Pin Locator

Just Owning A Pin Locator is Not Enough

A surveyor may not place a pin without doing a recorded ROS (record of survey) by law. This means that they can help you locate existing pins but that is where they stop. I love locating pins it makes me feel like an archeologist. Nothing is more satisfying than proving that somebody else was here and placed a pin for me to find decades later. If the pin you need is missing then you are screwed. Occasionally I am duped by a cut off fence pole but that is a rare find.

Where to Begin The Search?

I looked in the plat map system to locate the original map of the property. It is often cryptic and looks like Thomas Jefferson wrote the document but that is what you get. Fortunately, all of them I have ever investigated were scanned and could be viewed online. There are indications of pins were at one point. I’m guessing they used to be written on parchment back in the 1800’s. The larger clumps of streets are called subdivisions  Many of the street names have been changed over time but typically the outlines of properties have not. Then there are the lot and block numbers with some measurements and restrictions or allowances for setbacks and the like.

I thought that the ROS database was secret but thanks to the staff at the Ada County Assessor’s office I was given a brief tutorial and access to them all. If there isn’t one for your particular project then there may be others in the vicinity that you could technically measure off of.

Where The Rubber Meets the Road

The city inspectors are reluctant to take your word for where the property boundary is because it puts the city at risk of lawsuits. Anything you could do to make it very obvious that you have done due diligence is appreciated. I would imagine that in critical situations a project could be halted for weeks. There could be thousands of dollars at play to get a ROS and if you put the cart before the horse, you could have to relocate your excavation.

I was burned once before by lifting a home that seemed close to the property line and could not find a pin. Then a surveyor came and confirmed that the house was too close. This caused a month-long delay in construction while I tried to untangle the mess. Fortunately, there was a special condition (loophole) that I met by not doing an addition that allowed me to set the house back down with a new basement in the exact same spot without penalty. Wish I had that month back.

Check Lists Rule

What are the odds of this situation raising its ugly head again? Oh pretty darn good in my case. We just added it to our design checklist for additions. This is how a company matures and why there is value in going with an experienced contractor. Pre-disastered if you will. Every good lesson is a story. I pride myself on learning from these things to avoid the pitfalls in the future.

Post Script

I scheduled a site visit with the head of the inspection department. Armed with all the pertinent information we were given the approval to pour our foundations. I also received an apology for being held up. I guess that there is so much fear floating around among inspectors, that common sense has been thrown out the window. I left with relief and the feeling that there were going to be some internal discussions about how to proceed in the future on their part too.


Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor, please contact me. You’ll be glad you did.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

Related Posts

Where Do Our Remodeling Leads Come From

Where Do Our Remodeling Leads Come From

We have kept track of this for years and have used the knowledge internally. As things shift I found it interesting to see that we have some very powerful referral sources, interestingly a new one is on the radar. Often called a lead funnel, this is how our prospects...

read more
Levco Turns 19 Years Old

Levco Turns 19 Years Old

They say that most overnight successes take about 20 years. Here we are at 19. Yes on Cinco De Mayo we turned another year older and wiser. After a nice celebration, we slipped back into our work shoes and continued to remodel homes. Better and stronger than we have...

read more

Leave A Comment

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Categories

Latest Projects

Garage Addition for Woodworking Shop

Garage Addition for Woodworking Shop

Garage workshop remodel The Challenge Text goes here The Idea Text goes here The Solution Text goes here The Details Text goes here

Aged home interior makeover

Aged home interior makeover

Aged home interior makeoverThe Challenge This home was built in 1955 it had good bones. The kitchen had been remodeled by a previous owner and half of the garage had been converted into a den/laundry room. The clients wanted to open up the kitchen, add another...

Whole House Remodel

Whole House Remodel

Whole House RemodelThe Challenge Our client bought the 1014 SF original 1979 ranch-style home next to her son. Her goal was to update and modernize the home to how we live today.The Idea To completely remodel and update the home with a new floorplan.The Solution Levco...

Wake Boat- RV Bay Addition

Wake Boat- RV Bay Addition

Wake Boat- RV Bay AdditionThe Challenge The Owner had a 3 car garage but the 3rd car bay was too small for his new wake boat. There was room to make it larger.The Idea Expand the garage to the setback to add 10′ and make it taller and much deeper. Sacrificing a window...