Sunday, February 2, 2014

Construction Moving Forward

I recently did a job at a house in PV that belongs to a big paving and dirt contractor.

We got to talking about his current biz which is picking back up. All they ever did was housing and big commercial developments and for the last five years the crickets have been chirping in the telephone.

We actually worked with this persons company several years ago on a very large project and I will tell you that this company is by far the most professional outfit I have ever worked with.

He was telling me that they really have no need for surveyors on their sites anymore as they have gone predominantly machine control. Except for the initial control.

I look at him and said "it's about time, thank God". I then told him that I have always hated staking and found it to be an absolute nightmare and that I have been spouting machine control for years.

The future of construction for the surveyor is surface management and control and that's it. Well aside from asbuilts and all the legal stuff.

He was telling me that they have machine control so good now that curb machines are pouring without stakes. He also mentioned that for underground all they are seeing anymore is manholes, bends, taps and hydrants that have stakes.

I am so thrilled about this. I have always thought that construction staking is a huge liability and it is the single thing that I will lose sleep over at night.

So hoooooray for the the future of construction technology!!!!!!!!!!!

I am going to have a meeting with this person who is the President of his company and one of his field guys and have a long discussion about the surveyors role in the future and what exactly they would need from me as a project manager and too also find out the best way to market myself to them and others of like.

This is a great day for surveyors. Some will dispute this because they think that they are losing work. Well this is true is you are a perpetual hub pounder but if you are a surveyor you will see this as an opportunity to forget about all those hubs and concentrate on being a surveyor.

I have never considered construction staking surveying. I have always considered it a huge unforgiving liability.

As a surveyor and a business man I see nothing but opportunity in this situation.

Make it a great week surveyors!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Further Agitated

Regarding my post below there is something I forgot to add.

I have some major confusion on how it is that 2 different surveyors have 2 deeds, one is good (adjoiner) and one has a bust.

They both blow off the fact that there is a problem in that the adjoiner purposely made his clients lot to small and blew off his deed and recorded a map and the alta guy just blew everything off even though the deed does not close.

These two guys are taking on the role of determining ownership and that is a scary, scary role.

I will never tell anyone or decide any such thing and it simply amazes me that they are willing to do so.

I am curious how awkward it would get for them if they landed in the hot seat??


Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I have to tell you I get really pissed off when I try to do the right thing and people pay zero attention.

Last year I was hired to do a topo on a massive hillside lot. I went in and laid panels and shot the property corners.

I used an un-recorded Alta from another surveyor who I took the job over from because the client liked what I had to say about the aerial being more accurate in this particular case.

I also had a recorded survey next door that seemed to fit with the Alta.

I calc'd the description and quickly discovered a 7 foot bust in the math.

I started looking at the Alta and the recorded survey and noticed that both surveyors are holding a radial call from the rear corner to the radius of a cul de sac and they are creating an excess in my clients lot and a deficiency in the adjoiner.

Me being the diligent monkey that I am went back to the site and shot the points next door and then I calc'd the legal backward and what do you think I found???

Yes that's right boys and girls I found an old rusty rebar that brings both deeds into mathematical harmony!! Yes I did.

I promptly notified my client of the bust in the legal and the other problems. I made an exhibit and sent it over to him. He is a very smart man and wanted resolution and started looking into it right away.

I called the surveyor with the recorded map and sent him my info. Within an hour he called me back and told me that he agreed with me and re-recorded his map.

The Alta guy is a different story. He is in full belief that he is correct which I disagree. For one I found the Alta to be deficient and lacking information, two it was not recorded and 3 there was no mention of the mathematical bust in the deed. I could go on.

In reality if I was the sort of guy that does this kind of thing this person should be turned into the board for this survey, but that is another story.

Time went on and I was in touch with the client several times and provided info when I could.

Then I received another email telling me that the guy next door now agrees with the Alta guy. I call the guy and ask why.

He gets lippy and tells me that he has a really good case based on a copy of an old topography provided to him by the Alta guy. He re-re-recorded the survey to put it back the way it was.

I say great send it to me. Upon receipt it was sure enough a copy of an old topography showing a radial line from the rear corner to the radius.

In my mind I still know that there is a bust in the legal and there are monuments to support deed harmony and then I am amazed that these two guys are putting this much weight on a bearing when clearly it messes things up.

I write the client and tell him that I still disagree with these two people and that the bottom line is there is a problem that needs fixed and it should most likely be the title company to do.

At that point stepped fully away from it. I was after all only hired to do a topo and I should be able to rely on the deed and the Alta.

Today the civil engineer called me and told me that the client want him to use the Alta boundary. I told him to do what he thinks is right, that some resolution has come through title and there are recorded doc's to cover it. I also asked him to remove any mention of my company from his plans.

I then told him that when the builder wants me to stake the house that I will be turning down the job. Can you imagine the liability that could come from this? The builder is a great client too.

This is a strange one. I really hope they work it out correctly.

Bottom line is that I care very much about this and what kind of ramifications it carries for the client.


Monday, January 20, 2014


I have been doing a lot of re-plat's as of late.

I recently ran into an issue in which my client's title company has refused to prepare new deeds based on there being no transaction and then referred him to a deed preparation company, stating that it is to much liability.


Now I am the first to shirk any sort of liability but this one has me confused.

I have always been under the impression that is what they do. So if this is what they do then what is the issue?

What exactly is happening out there that companies get to dump what they do on others to avoid the liability?

This brings me to a worry spot.

I have met several surveyors throughout time that seem to think absorbing liability is a good idea.

Just today I was on the phone with a colleague that was telling me how he was stuck re-designing a parking lot because the engineer tossed some grades.

I have little understanding of this sort of thinking.

Personally I would have sent it back to the engineer with some as-built shots and told him to fix it. I would have then requested a PO from my client for the new calc's I would have to do as an extra and then billed out today as an extra because the engineer wasted my time by messing things up and then suggested to my client that he back charge the engineer for my extra and wasted time.

I am wondering if this is why I don't do a lot of staking??? Huh?

So back to the deed prep thing. I am wondering if surveyors will start doing more of it even if they are not qualified to do so?? I certainly hope not.

I was on the phone with my insurance agent today. I am renewing my E&O and I once again had to remind her that I not, never have been nor will I ever be a design professional and I in no way should have to be associated with them nor have to absorb any sort of premium that has anything to do with that topic.

I wrote recently about the surveyors need to re-take our identity.

I am going to be writing a lot this year about that and also how we need to cut our liability. Those 2 things are an absolute must for all of us.

Liability surveyors!! Lets all cut back on it the un-required and double our protection on the required.

Make it a great week.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Equipment and Software

I just bought a new data collector, an FC336 with Magnet.

I have decided to go this direction because of the cloud upload capacity of the Magnet and the fact that along with Magnet comes upgrades and keeps me current.

I also chose this particular DC because of the internal modem for network.

I'm pretty jazzed about the upgrade and should have it in my hands in a day or two.

The forecast of 2014 is looking very good and I will be upgrading my GPS and purchasing a robot as well.

Now as for office software. I am still agonizing on this one as I still despise AutoCad.

I have it narrowed down between Micro Survey and the new Topcon office.

Both will have a learning curve but to be honest right now I am leaning toward the Topcon due to fact that I can simply import from the cloud, I can have my desktop connected to the DC and the points will import as the field shots are taken and it looks very simple to use as is TopSurv.

I am really like the idea of using office and field software that are made by the same company.

As the next couple of months unfold I will tell you all about it and the directions I will be going.

Peace out surveyors. Make it a great and profitable week.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I have noticed something about surveyor's that truly pisses me off.

We have no identity of our own. We are thrown into this mix with civil's and designers that is beyond sucky.

We as surveyors we must take back, yes I said take back our identity. For some reason we have become so aligned with other professions that know one really knows or understands the importance of what it is we do.

As surveyors we are the basis of just about everything that has to do with land. We are by far the most important part of any land based project and if we tube it the whole thing is a mess from there on.

Why in the hell are the design professionals getting all of the credit when most of them could not hit their own ass with either hand?

How many times have your  heard "the engineers are here" or " not our fault your engineer set that point" or " I always thought that surveyors are civil's" or " how many cfm's are my wash" or " can I build it like this instead"???? This list is way to long for me to continue and actually it makes my head spin.

We are not design professionals and we should in no shape or form be associated with them.

How about those fella's that call themselves Civil Surveyors? Pack sand you arrogant ass, you are a surveyor, OWN IT!!!

This whole situation is our fault and it is this man's opinion that we need to do something about it.

Having our own identity will give the profession of surveying a whole new meaning. It will allow us to dictate our own fees, it will give us a face in the community, it will give us more weight at the BTR, this list is also endless.

If we as a profession can achieve what we are capable of instead being a lap dog to some numb nuts civil engineer, we can become a true professional entity that carries weight and has the respect that we are due.

It will enable all of us to have a path that we all deserve and it will eliminate the dirt bag bottom feeders that ruin things for us and give us a bad name.

Yes you know who you are and you should be ashamed of yourself's. You low dollar lap dogs really need to develop some big picture thinking. Try to think past the eye lids. You'll be better off.

OK!! Now I want some serious opinions on this matter. I am challenging everyone that reads this blog to step up and give us your 2 cents. Post as anonymous, I do not care, just say something.

Surveying used to be one of the most revered profession's and it is up to us to make it that way again.

Imagine a world where and LS makes the fee of an attorney?  That's the way it should be and anyone that thinks different should have their head examined.

Peace out surveyors. Make it a great week. We have a great big year in front of us.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holidays Again

Well boys and girls it's been on hell of a year.

Revenues are up which is a blessing and I am thinking the world is starting to balance out again.

I personally have under gone a lot of change. Some good, some weird and some unbelievable, but at the end of the day I am grateful for it all.

OK surveyors it's that time. Yes let's give it up once again for the Surfing Santa!!!!!

I love red clad this tubby bitch of the water ways. He signifies a lot of things for me and I am sure for a lot of you too.

Remember, no matter how old we get there is still a lot of kid in us. My New Year resolution is to let as much of my kid come out as possible.

So lets have a drink and chug a lug, by our kids a bunch of cool things to open on the 25th and if your are Jewish enjoy the Chinese food and the movies that day.

One thing for sure, even though we may be different in the way we think, our beliefs and the way we do things, we are all still surveyors and it is strange what a small community this is. It's one of those weird little bonds that we can't break no matter what, because there are so few of us.

Make it a great holiday season surveyors. Good bad or ugly I am grateful for all of you.

Peace, love and booty grease!!

Oh and what ever you do try to avoid this situation.