share to facebook    share to twitter    share to linkedin

ALTA Surveys in Illinois

Monday, April 16, 2018


An ALTA Survey is usually prepared for commercial, industrial, and non-residential properties. The standard for ALTA surveys was an agreement between the surveying and title insurance communities. The ALTA survey provides details the title people need to provide extended coverage for the property's title insurance.

There are seven guidelines for surveys in Illinois. They are listed in the Administrative Code under Section 1270.56 Minimum Standards of Practice

Item A) ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey. This is a three paragraph guide for performing ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys. In the Administrative Code, they list the 2011 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements as being the current standard. This is incorrect; the new 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys is the current standard. The Administrative Code will be changed in July of 2018 to reflect the new 2016 standards. The new standards are attached as 2016 ALTA Standards.

I just want to highlight some of the changes in the new standards. Under Item 7 CERTIFICATION, it sets forth the only Surveyor's Certificate which can be used.

We can now move on to TABLE A, Optional Survey Responsibilities and Specifications. There are 21 Items in Table A that can be checked off. A typical ALTA Survey will have Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 (only if the information is provided to the surveyor), 7a, 7b, 7c, 8, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, and 19. All of the other items are to be negotiated between the client and the surveyor. All of these Items will increase the cost of the ALTA Survey.

When I perform an ALTA Survey, I will also provide a surveyor's report. The first report will reference the Items in the Title Policy provided to the surveyor. Please note a current title policy must be provided to the surveyor. An old title policy will only provide information through the date on the policy. If the policy is dated 2014, the surveyor has no idea what has been recorded since that 2014 date.

The second report lists the surveyor’s comments and general notes on Table A of the ALTA Standards. It will go through item by item and show how he/she addressed these items. These two reports and the standard certification are shown by Example of a Surveyor’s Report.PDF.

The other guidelines set forth in the Administrative Code are: Boundary Survey, Condominium Surveys, Subdivision Surveys, Mortgage Inspection, Topographic Survey and Minimum Standards for Writing Parcel Legal Descriptions.

These items will be discussed at a later date.

Lee R. Koehler, PLS is a Professional Land Surveyor at Hamilton Consulting Engineers, Inc.
He can be reached at 815-730-3444