ALS News: CCR PHASE 2 The Director of Practice Review’s Final Report Part 2 - Innovative changes… and what you don’t want to have to tell the PRB

Scott Westlund, ALS
Director of Practice Review

This is the second in a series of articles that summarizes the results from Phase 2 of the CCR program from May 16, 2014 to October 27, 2021. Click here for the first article.
Innovative changes that seem to help ALSs improve products
Field procedures
  • Several ALSs took field staff on evidence tours to show them different monuments and how to prepare field notes.
  • Several ALSs are photographing every post after it is placed to prove that it was placed.
  • Several ALSs are photographing the stakes showing cuts/fills and foundation offsets during basement stakeouts (to help reduce insurance claims).
  • Many ALSs have developed standard policies and procedures for field work.
  • Many ALSs have developed and presented internal training courses to field staff to ensure evidence searches are done correctly, field notes are prepared appropriately, survey methodologies are appropriate, and so on.
Field notes
  • Many ALSs reported that they regularly review field notes and provide feedback to crews to facilitate continuous improvement.
  • Most ALSs are photographing found evidence to help facilitate evidence assessment.
  • Many ALSs are photographing the improvements for RPRs.
  • There is an increased use of evidence reports in the field notes.
  • Several ALSs have developed excellent digital field note formats. Samples are available in the following dropbox folder:
Plan checking
  • Several ALS are using software (Adobe, Brava Desktop and Bluebeam Revu) to compare two pdf files and detect differences between them. A comparison highlights unexpected changes and shows that corrections identified on check prints have been made correctly.
  • Many ALSs who didn’t have them before have now developed checklists.
Policies and Procedures
  • Several ALSs are now conducting quarterly formal field inspections.
  • Most ALSs are searching for wellsite plans as part of a rural subdivision project.
  • Many ALSs have developed standard policies and procedures for office work.
  • A few ALSs have developed an internal ‘getting it right’ type seminar to present to plan checking and office staff.
  • Several ALSs have reviewed each item on a checklist with drafting and plan checking staff to ensure everyone understands what each item means and what the ALS expects will be checked.
  • Almost everyone has developed and implemented a formal equipment calibration program.
Ten things you don’t want to have to tell the PRB during your next review
  1. “Regretfully this plan apparently escaped our office without our final perusal.”
  2. “Sorry for these drafting errors. This is rather embarrassing.”
  3. “I have obtained a court order to correct the plan.”
  4. “This error was noted on our check prints but was not changed for the final version of the plan.”
  5. “Our field notes show ‘Found Pipe’ in agreement with plan _. Our draftsman thought he knew better and changed the description to ‘Fd. I’ because sometimes we do find iron posts with their top broken off. I missed this during my plan check.”
  6. “I am enclosing our plot and dwg file that was submitted to Land Titles for registration of this plan. All the missing numbers, as well as no linework within the posts appear on these files. This is the third time that this has happened to our office and we are not sure why (for the other two plans it was the point numbers for Section 47 posting that were either missing or incomplete within the ellipses). … “
  7. “I will send in a plan correction for this registered plan.”
  8. “This is a drafting mistake that I did not catch in my plan check. “
  9. “No search was completed as part of this subdivision. The "Fd. No Mk." notations were incorrectly carried forward from a previous plan.”
  10. “We normally compute closures for the lots on our plans and the plan is checked by inversing between points on the plan to confirm that the bearing and distances are shown correctly and that there are no missing bearings and distances. However, it appears that you are correct and we have not shown the bearing and distance along this course of the lot.”

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The Alberta Land Surveyors' Association (ALSA) is a self-regulating professional association legislated under the Land Surveyors Act. The Association regulates the practice of land surveying for the protection of the public.