A land surveyor for boundaries marks the property boundary. SAM Conveyancing explain the different types of land surveys and our boundary survey costs
Do you need a boundary dispute surveyor?
Our land surveyors can locate and map the boundary for a property purchase or a boundary dispute. If required the topography of the land can be included too.

Your RICS boundary surveyor will make official drawings to document their findings. Average cost from £995 Exc VAT, reports returned in 2-3 weeks.
Get a bespoke boundary survey quote

Boundary Survey Cost

(Last Updated: 23/10/2023)
11 min read
Land surveying is highly technical. Land and boundary surveyors have extensive skills including understanding land law, geometry, trigonometry, engineering and even meteorology. Land surveyors are involved in most construction and engineering projects, however, for this article, we are focusing on the work undertaken in measuring boundaries.

Boundary disputes can be incredibly contentious and can cause rifts between neighbours, costing thousands of pounds to remedy.

What is a land survey?

Land surveys can measure the topography, elevation, rivers and/or services on a property, as well as confirm its physical boundaries. Often the boundary aligns with fences, hedges, walls, roads or river banks. However, you may find that 'your' hedge, actually belongs to your neighbour, or that the wall you thought you shared is your responsibility alone.

The surveyor will take various measurements and create technically correct official drawings, mapping their findings. These drawings are useful in selling or splitting the property, resolving boundary disputes and planning construction or excavation works on the land.

Boundary Survey Cost: Land Surveyor for Boundaries from SAM Conveyancing. Two wooden block toy houses are separated by a red line on the ground.

Why are property boundaries important?

It's important to know where exactly the property boundaries lie. If either side encroaches over the boundary, unchallenged and treats the land as their own (this may even include planting or taking ownership of maintaining a hedge which sits on your neighbour's side), they may be able to claim that sliver of land through adverse possession.

Boundaries are especially important when it comes to construction. If you mistake the position of the boundary and therefore build too close to the true boundary, you could be forced to pull the new building down. This means that clearly defined boundaries will be essential to any buyers who want to build on the property.

How do I find my boundaries?

If you're very lucky, you may find that your title deed already has clearly defined boundaries, however, most do not have the exact boundary or any record of who owns the hedge, fence or wall separating the properties. You can find your title plan online if the property is registered with HM Land Registry.

The title plan is created by the Land Registry, using the Ordnance Survey mapping system which adopts the General Boundaries system. This shows the boundary of the property in relation to other physical features on the ground, such as hedges, trees or walls. This does not map the precise location of the legal boundary.

If things are civil or friendly with your neighbour, you should try and discuss the boundary informally. You can make a formal boundary agreement to establish the position of the boundary and responsibility over the maintenance of hedges, trees, fences or walls on the boundary. This can be helpful but it often offers no protection for when either property changes hands to a new owner. You should always get legal advice around making a boundary agreement.

The safest solution is to apply to record the exact boundary. This will be valid even if you or your neighbour sell your property, so it's the only option which will be sufficient for any potential buyers who want exact boundaries on the property. This will require a boundary survey from a land surveyor.

What happens in a boundary dispute?

Disputes arise out of encroachments over the boundary line or physical boundaries changing, where both neighbours assert ownership over a bit of land and/or property on it.

What is an example of a boundary dispute?

  • Neighbour one builds an extension which comes too close to, or crosses the perceived boundary line
  • Neighbour one fails to maintain a wall which neighbour two believes they are responsible for
  • Neighbour one removes a partition wall, fence or hedge and they may or may not replace it with an alternative physical boundary which may be in a different position
  • Neighbour one cuts down a tree on the boundary which neighbour two claims is theirs
  • Neighbour one fails to trim or prune a hedge which is encroaching onto neighbour two's property

Homeowners are right to worry about this, especially with the law of Adverse Possession, where you can claim ownership of land which you have treated as your own, unchallenged, for a certain length of time. (The rules for this are different if your land is registered at the Land Registry or unregistered).

How do you resolve a boundary dispute?

It may be possible to resolve a boundary dispute with some simple mediation between yourself and your neighbour. Otherwise, it will require a boundary dispute surveyor and a property solicitor for legal advice on your application. They can also help you with communications with your neighbour.

A 'determined boundary' will resolve the boundary dispute once and for all. You can apply for a determined boundary as long as the property is registered (very few properties except new builds are still unregistered) but first registration is taking over 12 months to process, so get started as soon as possible.

Get legal advice before making an application for a determined boundary

If your neighbour disagrees with your application, you may have to go to tribunal.

    1 Get a boundary survey from a chartered land surveyor
Our hand-selected panel of boundary surveyors provides nationwide coverage and you will have your boundary report in just 2-3 weeks, including:
Included in our Fixed Fee:
  • Production of accurate topographical site survey plans
  • Evaluation of available boundary documentation and mapping
  • Digital overlay of boundary mapping onto topographical plan
  • Boundary reports compatible with Civil Procedure Rules part 35 (CPR35)
  • RICS Registered Expert Witness for court proceedings

Boundary survey cost

Our average prices begin from £995 Exc VAT

Get a Quote

RICS Surveyors – Local Knowledge – Same Week Availability*

    2 Collect evidence which supports your application
This may include certified copies of the title before it was registered, an experts report or a written statement signed in front of a solicitor, magistrate or commissioner of oaths

    3 Submit 1 & 2 along with your DB form & £90 fee
The DB Form is the 'Exact Line of Boundary: Registration' form from HM Land Registry. If your neighbour agrees, they'll need to sign the form and the plan as well. Send your application to:

HM Land Registry Citizen Centre
PO Box 74
GL14 9BB

If your neighbour objects and HM Land Registry decide the objection is valid, they'll give you a change to come to an agreement between yourselves. If you can't decide it will go to tribunal who will either:

a) approve your application, update the register and send you the updated plan and register, or;
b) reject your application and set the exact boundary themselves, or decide not to set any exact boundary. You may have to pay your neighbour's costs.

When is it necessary to get a land surveyor?

You'll need a boundary dispute surveyor for any boundary dispute which can't be resolved informally between yourself and your neighbour. It is also necessary to get a land surveyor if you need to define boundary lines for a sale or transfer of the property, if you want to construct a new building or extension, or you want to subdivide your plot into separate titles.

What types of Land Survey do you need?

There is no special meaning in law to the word boundary, however in land ownership it is understood in two ways; Physical Boundary and Legal Boundary.

The Physical Boundary:
A registered title almost never shows ownership of individual boundary structures such as walls, fences and hedges.

There may, however, be some relevant information on the register or in Land Registry’s files. For example, Land Registry may have kept a copy of a deed that refers to a boundary declaration or agreement, or to the ownership or maintenance of boundaries.

You would measure your physical boundary if you were planning works.

The Legal Boundary:
A legal boundary deals with the precise separation of ownership of land. It is an invisible line dividing one person’s land from another’s.

It does not have thickness or width and usually, but not always, falls somewhere in or along a physical boundary feature such as a wall, fence or hedge.

The exact positions of the legal boundaries are almost never shown on registered title plans.

You would measure your legal boundary for the purposes of protecting your land.

What happens during a Legal Boundary Survey?

The land surveyor for boundaries will provide an accurate survey using a Total Station to measure and locate the current legal boundaries on site.

They will need to investigate all source data to aid in their delivery of the service including, but not limited to:

The boundaries for the property will be measured as accurately as possible using a standard laser measuring device and tape measure.

The report will only deliver a plan of the physical boundary, not the legal boundary (although in some cases these maybe the same) Plans:
  • Floor plan
  • Title plan
  • Site plan
  • Original title deeds including original registered plan - your current Register of Title that is registered at the Land Registry may not contain the original title plan so you may have to do some research and contact the solicitor who acted for you on your purchase to get this document.

You need to provide as much information as possible in order to ensure the accuracy of a legal boundary survey. Limited information can lead to challenges from your neighbours in the future.

How much does a land survey cost?

A Legal Boundary Survey requires much more work and can take days to complete. The research into the legal boundary needs to be thorough and there may be several site visits to ascertain the exact legal boundary.

Getting this wrong can lengthen boundary disputes or, if going to court to get your boundary determined, could cause your application to be denied.

Our hand selected panel of boundary surveyors provide nationwide coverage and you will have your boundary report in just 2-3 weeks, including:
Included in our Fixed Fee:
  • Production of accurate topographical site survey plans
  • Evaluation of available boundary documentation and mapping
  • Digital overlay of boundary mapping onto topographical plan
  • Boundary reports compatible with Civil Procedure Rules part 35 (CPR35)
  • RICS Registered Expert Witness for court proceedings

Boundary survey cost

Our average prices begin from £995 Exc VAT

Get a Quote

RICS Surveyors – Local Knowledge – Same Week Availability*

Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

People also searched for

Man outlining boundaries. SAM Conveyancing's guide on boundary disputes

Boundary Disputes

Land Registry Title Plan

Land Registry Title Plan

Two neighbours sharing a while and fighting. SAM Conveyancing's guide on party wall disputes

Party Wall Disputes