The building survey
The building survey is the measurement of the structure after the completion of the planned construction. It is part of the cadastral surveying which plays an important role in everyday affairs and is generally performed as an official governmental function.
The land survey registry
In accordance with §21 of the Hessian Surveying and Geoinformation Act (HVGG), conducting an on-site building survey is mandatory. It serves to keep the information of the land survey registry up to date.
The land survey registry contains documentation of all pieces of property throughout the state. This serves to ensure the proper regulation of holdings of land-based property. This takes place together with the official land registry. When the survey has been completed, the data are transmitted to the cadastral office for updating. Later the property holders or developers receive an extract from the cadastral map showing the newly entered building.
In which cases must an official building survey be performed?
When a building is newly constructed on a piece of land or it is changed in its ground plan, the owner is legally obligated to have the structure surveyed. Buildings are defined as all roofed structures that provide shelter to persons, animals or things. Also buildings that are used for the production of goods fall into this category.
If the building has been constructed after August 1972 or has been changed since then, it must be surveyed in this connection. Roofed patios and conservatories, terraces built with a cellar, garages and all types of structural additions also are subject to this survey obligation. Only changes that have no effect on the ground plan of the building are exempted from the survey obligation.
Temporary buildings that will only be erected for a limited period of time, buildings that are not significant for the land survey registry (e.g. garden houses, carports) and structural additions with a ground plan of less than 10 square meters do not need to be surveyed.
What features are surveyed?
The building survey serves to update the existing structural inventory. The outer corner points of the building are measured. For comparison to previous surveys, the lengths of the building sides are also measured.
How is the survey conducted?
For this type of building survey different methods are employed, depending on what exactly needs to be surveyed. Generally, it is important to establish a clear relation of the structure to the property boundaries.
The respective technical authorities of the states have defined the type and the scope of the measurement methods that are to be used. This also regulates the precision and degree of detail in the survey. The results of the building survey can also be used in connection with questions related to building regulations. This can be relevant in connection with the size and extent of the newly constructed buildings, their location in respect to property boundaries and the distance to other buildings.
When should the building survey be ordered?
The property holder must order the building survey when the building activities that have changed the ground plan of the structure have been completed or when new construction is finished. The regulations can be found in §16 of the Cadastre Modernization Ordinance.
When a building has been constructed, the building supervisory authorities inform the cadastral office regarding this fact. The cadastral office then contacts the property holder with the instruction to have a building survey performed.
Officially ordered survey
If the owner neglects to order the building survey until after the building shell of the new structure has been completed, then the surveying office is obligated to send the owner an official order for survey. At this point, the owner has 21 days to place an order with the surveying office of his or her choice. Otherwise the survey will be conducted by the officially designated surveyed office. The details of the relevant regulation are available in section 4.3.2001 in §21 (3).
Fees for the building survey
The fees for the building survey are calculated in accordance with the administrative cost schedule for the business segment of the Ministry for Economics, Energy, Transport and Land Development (VwKostO-MWEVL). The actual final costs depend on the particular surveying situation. We will be happy to provide you with an initial estimate.
Problems in connection with the official building survey
Owners and property developers sometimes cannot understand why the official building survey is necessary. Since the marking-out of the building is already determined in the course of granting a building permit, it would seem that the final building survey is not necessary.
However, one should keep the following in mind: Typically the construction of the building shell should indeed conform to marking-out of the building. However, in actual practice changes are often made during the construction process due to particular circumstances on the building site.
Such changes in the actual size of the completed structure can only be measured and registered in the course of the final building survey.