Thursday, December 31, 2009

A topographic survey is essential if you are planning a large addition to your house

As I mentioned in a previous post, we were unable to obtain a Real Property Survey from the vendor when we bought our house. And, unfortunately, you cannot apply for a permit from the City of Ottawa for an addition to your house without having a survey. Furthermore, if the planned addition is larger than 500 square feet, then a topographic survey must be submitted with the permit application. In our case, we also required a topographic survey because our land slopes downwards at the back and we are toying with the idea of a walk-out basement or a series of terraced patios. In order for our architect to plan this, she needs a topographic survey to determine exactly what the elevations are.

Just before Christmas, we received the survey report from our surveyor. On the plus side, we now know that we have no property irregularities, and our architect can begin drafting up some conceptual ideas for the house. On the negative side, it cost $2625.00 to have the survey completed.

Now, you may well ask why didn't we just have the survey done as a condition of buying the house, and, thereby, save ourselves almost $400 in title insurance premiums. Well, the simple answer is timing. It took four weeks to have this survey completed, from the moment I contacted the firm, to the moment they delivered the report. There is no way the vendor would have settled for reciept of a survey as a condition of sale, given the trouble we had securing sufficient time from them to get financing in place. So, we had to pay for title insurance and then pay to have a survey done.

If you are interested in knowing what hoops you must jump through with the City in order to build an addition to your house, a pool, finish your basement, etc., the City of Ottawa has an informative Homeowner's guide for small projects, which outlines all the steps involved and a useful Residential Construction Checklist. It's good reading before you begin.

1 comment:

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