Protecting Survey Monuments
HELP! Facility Operators Lose Thousands of Dollars Each Year When Survey Monuments Are Destroyed During Routine Excavation.
What are survey monuments?
Survey monuments are physical markers indicating the location of land boundary corners, geodetic control points, or local control points. They enable a surveyor to relate narrative boundary descriptions or improvements, and boundaries drawn on a set of plans to the actual location on the ground.
Why are survey monuments important?
All real properties, such as parcels, lots, rights-of-way, and easements can only be located or staked on the ground by starting from a monument. Legal descriptions of the horizontal and vertical locations of properties and structures all require the location of a monument as their beginning point of reference. The accuracy and relevancy of the City’s Geographic Information System (GIS) maps are also based on survey monuments. The network of survey monuments protects and delineates public and private property, and is critical to the enforcement and enjoyment of real property rights. Survey monuments are important assets belonging to the City and its citizens, and are protected and maintained as such.
What is the source of the City’s authority over survey monuments?
In 1969, RCW 58.24.040(8) initiated a process to protect monuments; responsibility was assigned to the local jurisdiction. W.A.C. Chapter 332-120 describes the process for protecting monuments. The Washington State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors consider non-compliance with these regulations to be a violation of law. Please see the link to the relevant Washington Administrative Code (WAC) under Links and References below. The Washington State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors consider non-compliance with these regulations to be a violation of law.
Developers' responsibilities to protect survey monuments
Anyone performing construction, maintenance, or other work in Seattle is responsible for protecting all survey monuments within the area of work. If it is necessary to disturb a survey monument, a permit must be requested in advance from the Department of Natural Resources. The developer must pay the cost of repairing or replacing the survey monument and is responsible for all contractors working for them.
Please note: Failure to comply to Washington State requirements regarding monument removal or destruction is a gross misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 1 year; and liability for the cost of reestablishment.