Property developers are well aware of the surveyors role in producing the detailed contour survey. Surveyors can assist with property developments from site acquisition due-diligence, through to sales and marketing.

In this article Development Manager – Registered Architect Dan Everett from EVERETT Property Development Management chats with Director of Survey Mark, Lance Hayes about the value-add developers and consultants can obtain from speaking with a surveyor upfront.


There is no doubt that the world around us is changing quickly. Changes to our built environment and our social environment affect the way we all enjoy living in our City. When we work together change can be an incredibly positive thing.

Lance Hayes – In the year 1955 my father was married and soon after, started his first job as a surveyor. Yes, I followed in my father’s footsteps. When dad would locate a feature, or measure a single point he would have to set up a theodolite, manually focus in on the object, write down the vertical and horizontal angle, then pull a steel chain out between the theodolite and the object and with the help of his assistant he would apply 5kg of pressure to the chain (allowing for changes in temperature) and write down the distance to the object. They would then repeat the process to make sure that what he wrote in his field book was correct. Now in the year 2018 we have a machine that can literally measure 1,000,000 points per second to millimetre accuracy.

In 1955, when dad was getting hitched, the tallest building in Brisbane was City Hall. City hall is three storeys plus one large spire. The total height of the building is 91m and it took 10 years to build. Fast forward to 2018 and the tallest building in this city is 1 William Street and it has 46 levels and is a staggering 260m tall. Thanks to new technology in construction this building was completed in only three years.

In this same period, we know that Brisbane has increased from a population of around ½ million to 2.4m and this growth is set to keep increasing. State government is currently investigating the best ways for us to face our inevitable growth pains. Watch out for the upcoming Property Feed blog about the government’s growth monitoring program and how that will impact development in Queensland.

Change is here to stay. As we, the land development community, work to create new places for people to live and work, we can pool our resources to bring about positive changes of all kinds. Together, we can do more than just achieving better efficiencies with our construction and development projects. Together, we can play our part to make positive social changes too so that we can help bring positive change to other important issues facing our city such as; housing affordability, domestic and family violence, aged care, education and employment.


There are legislative requirements about surveying (identification and marking) property boundaries in Queensland. In Queensland, only registered cadastral surveyors can perform a boundary survey, and place a survey mark that defines a property boundary. Only a registered cadastral surveyor can certify survey plans for lodgement with the government. It is important a registered cadastral surveyor is engaged for the determining, locating and defining the boundaries of public and private land.

What is a property boundary?

“A property boundary is any boundary relating to a right or an interest in land and may include:

  • A property boundary between neighbours or owners, including between private and government owned land;
  • A boundary defining a lease of land;
  • A boundary defining a secondary interest (e.g. easement; covenant; profit à prendre).

The terminology cadastral boundary may also be used as it has the same meaning as property boundary.”

Source: Surveyors Board of Queensland

What do Surveyors do?

  • Determining, locating and defining the boundaries of public and private land (including national and state boundaries)
  • Maintaining an effective cadastre (land boundary system) to provide an efficient land tenure system that meets the needs of the community and real estate market requirements.
  • Collecting, analysing and managing data for geographic information systems.
  • Measuring, controlling and monitoring the shape, size and location of physical features or structures.
  • Measuring and mapping seabeds, lakes and waterways.
  • Measuring tidal movements and current flows and providing information for navigation and maritime developments.
  • Providing information and advice, to assist in determining the best sustainable land use and development.
  • Contributing to the development and management of urban and rural properties.
  • Producing plans, maps, files, data bases, models, charts and reports for clients.
  • Planning, estimating, designing, measuring, and implementing projects such as construction works, mineral exploration and mining.

 Source: Surveyors Board of Queensland


  • Boundary identification. Boundary dimensions often change from what may have been originally intended. We have seen changes of up to half a metre! There is nothing worse than finding out a building won’t fit when builders and machinery are already on site.
  • Our titling system is one of the best in the world, but errors can be made. Your surveyor can identify an issue up front and bring them to your attention. Recently a client bought a site that they thought was 4,800m2 in area but was only in fact 4,100m2 in area. This was due to a clerical error.
  • If there are encroachments onto or from adjoining buildings this will impact on construction and will need to be resolved early to avoid delays.
  • Before you build, a surveyor should review the design to ensure all required areas and offsets can be achieved in accordance with the DA
  • Have you chosen the best titling outcome? With our built environment becoming denser it has become critical to design not only building outcomes but also titling outcomes to suit the end user.


Case Study 1 1

5 Kyabra Street, Newstead was to be developed as a seven-storey building with two of the levels being used for professional offices. The two different uses require that the building be used in two different ways. In this case, it was decided that the best outcome was to create a volumetric lot over the office spaces and subdivide the remaining part of the building via building format lots to accommodate the residential uses. In addition to this it was necessary to prepare a building management statement (BMS) to set the use rights for the building in relation to the two separate uses.

Case Study 2

Park Cove at Hope Island is a residential development which will include 47 luxury dwellings on freehold lots and 44 townhouses and 112 units in two towers. In addition, the development will provide marina berths to be available for lease by individual owners. In this example, a principal body corporate has been established and various subsidiary schemes have been established to control the various land use rights in the best way.



  • Pick up the phone to your Surveyor up front.
  • Communication and early engagement with the whole design team is going to lead to a more efficient outcome.


  • Have your Development Manager work with your Cadastral Surveyor for site acquisition due-diligence and define a tailored Surveying brief for the project.
  • Work with your Surveyor to make sure you get the most out of your project and you have a fully developed understanding of what you will be delivering for sale or lease.


To discuss Feasibility Study’s / Development & Project Management contact Registered Architect Dan Everett of EVERETT Property Development Management

To discuss Surveying / Town Planning for your next project contact Lance Hayes of Survey Mark