Procedures for the Audit of Surveys of Land
Current from 1 July 2015
See also: Policy for the Audit of Surveys of Land
Maintenance of Audit Records
- The Office of the Surveyor General (OSG) will be responsible for the orderly retention of records of the audit process.
- Individual audit files will be raised in the name of each practising registered land surveyor, and copies of all audit instructions, reports and correspondence relating to the professional performance of the surveyor will be retained on those files. The content of these files will be treated as CONFIDENTIAL.
- Access to audit files will be restricted to Records, Departmental Survey staff, and to other Departmental staff members with the express approval of the Surveyor General. Access to a surveyor's audit file will be provided to the relevant surveyor upon request.
Selection of Surveyors for Audit
- The OSG will manage a survey audit program that is based on a routine program running concurrently with the specific targeting of surveyors with ongoing poor survey records.
- All surveyors will be advised of their audit and examination requisition status regularly.
- Surveyors targeted for audit will be notified in advance and advised of the reasons.
- The OSG will aim to audit every surveyor at least once every five years.
- Surveyors lodging surveys of land for the first time in Tasmania will be given priority in the routine audit program.
- Surveys will be selected for audit from surveys certified after the subject surveyor's previous audit date.
Selection of surveyors targeted for audit will be prioritised based on past performance as evidenced by the level of non-complying survey practise exposed in one or more of the following indicators:
- For surveyors with more than 10 surveys lodged and registered in the last two years, a Land Titles Office (LTO) survey requisition rate above the average for all surveyors.
- As measured by the past four rounds of audits, more unsatisfactory audit outcomes than the average for all surveyors.
- Five or more non-compliant surveys requiring investigation by the OSG during the past four years.
Priority will be given to surveyors who fall under more than one of the indicators or who have a particularly high incidence in one of the indicators. Surveyors lodging high numbers of surveys will be given priority within the target group.
The program of targeted audits will be given priority over the routine program.
Selection of Surveys for Audit
- Surveys for audit may involve any survey of land certified by a registered land surveyor, but will generally be sourced through a registering authority, primarily the LTO.
- Where possible, the OSG will endeavour to include re-mark surveys in the audit process.
- This will involve the random selection and audit of a survey from those lodged with the LTO and usually already registered, although this category will include remark surveys (where an appropriate survey is available).
- The preference is to identify and have the lodging surveyor correct non-complying surveys prior to registration.
- The OSG will have access to the surveys of those surveyors targeted at lodgment with the LTO.
- Audits will focus on deficiencies demonstrated in previous audits, examinations and investigations.
- The necessity for a full audit will be determined from an initial office examination by the OSG.
- The OSG will issue each instruction, detailing the name of the surveyor and the survey to be audited in accordance with these procedures.
- A copy of each such instruction will be filed for future reference on the surveyor's audit file.
Preliminary Examination and Communication
- Upon receipt of an audit instruction, the inspecting surveyor will access the LTO examination file where applicable, order a comprehensive survey and title search, and confirm landowner details.
- At least one week in advance of advising the relevant land owner or occupier, the inspecting surveyor will provide the surveyor concerned with appropriate written notification of the intended audit, and will record on file the details of any subsequent relevant communications with that surveyor.
- At least one week after advice has been provided to the surveyor, the inspecting surveyor will provide appropriate written notification to the landowner(s) over whose land access is required, and will record on file the details of any subsequent relevant communications with the landowner or occupier.
- Prior to commencement of the field audit, the inspecting surveyor will undertake a detailed examination of the survey notes, the requested survey and title search, and previous LTO examination report. The primary object is to gain a full understanding of the evidentiary basis for all boundary re-establishments, and to identify any areas of obvious non-compliance with statutory requirements.
- Particular emphasis will be placed on ensuring that all potential sources of boundary evidence have been identified and have received appropriate consideration. Any area of apparent weakness will be identified as a primary target for the survey audit.
- A field audit may not proceed without the prior knowledge of the relevant landowner or occupier and, where appropriate, the inspecting surveyor will contact the owner or occupier immediately prior to commencement to confirm access arrangements. Details of all telephone calls including names, dates and times etc. are to be recorded on the file.
Preliminary examination and communication procedures for audits made pre-registration will parallel those for post-registration audits, except that the timeframe will be shortened to accommodate the survey examination timeframe of the LTO. The timeframe will be accelerated as follows:
- Upon advice that a survey has been lodged by a relevant surveyor, the OSG will undertake a desk examination to assess the survey notes' compliance with statutory requirements and potential for issues to be identified by field audit.
- If field audit is indicated and OSG has capacity to conduct the survey audit within the required time frame, an instruction will be issued to an inspecting surveyor for an audit to be undertaken.
- Relevant survey search will be provided with the instruction.
- The surveyor will be contacted by email to provide the details of the audit and the opportunity to consult with the relevant landowner or occupier and communicate to the OSG any information pertinent to the audit.
- Unless otherwise agreed with the surveyor, three working days after the surveyor has been notified the inspecting surveyor will contact the relevant owner or occupier to advise of the impending audit and to organise access. This advice and access details will be confirmed in writing.
Measurements for Audit Purposes
- All instruments to be used in the audit process shall be properly maintained and standardised in accordance with all relevant regulatory requirements. Reference to the instrument used in the survey audit is to be included in the survey audit record.
- Where survey audit measurements indicate discrepancies with the original registered dimensions, they shall be verified by the inclusion of sufficient observational redundancies to prove the accuracy of the result obtained. All such measurements must be fully documented in the survey audit record.
Audit Assessment CriteriaThe survey audit will be
conducted in such a manner as will enable the inspecting surveyor, upon its
conclusion, to provide unambiguous and defensible responses against the
assessment criteria documented in the Survey Audit Checklist
Report, Recommendations and Classification of Survey
- The inspecting surveyor will prepare a concise report, documenting the results of the audit using the Survey Audit Checklist to ensure uniformity in presentation.
- The report will provide specific and detailed recommendations as to the action that should be undertaken to rectify all identified deficiencies.
- The inspecting surveyor will also recommend a classification for the survey.
- The survey audit report, together with the relevant field notes, search information and related data, will be placed on the relevant file and forwarded to the OSG.
Consideration of Audit Reports
- Following receipt by the OSG, each audit report will be examined to confirm that the approved audit procedures have been observed. Any unusual issues or potentially controversial recommendations arising from the audit will be referred to the Surveyor General for determination or confirmation.
- A copy of the approved audit report will then be forwarded to the surveyor for any clarification and additional evidence that the surveyor may wish to provide. The accompanying letter will advise the one month time frame within which additional information will be considered. In the case of unsatisfactory audit outcomes, the surveyor will be requested to complete the recommended corrective actions in accordance with section 24 of the Surveyors Act 2002.
- Where deficiencies affecting the boundaries and/or title plan or more serious survey non-compliances are detected in pre-registration audits the LTO will be advised. Any potentially detrimental impact of such deficiencies on registration time frames can be minimised or removed by the prompt attention of the surveyor concerned to the audit report or possible subsequent LTO communications.
Finalisation of Audit
- Following consideration of any additional evidence that the surveyor may have provided, the audit will be finalised at the expiry of the one month response period.
- The surveyor will be advised of the final audit classification, and any rectification requirements will be restated.
Rectification of Errors and Deficiencies
- For the purposes of section 24 of the Act, the date the copy of the approved audit report was originally forwarded to the surveyor will be adopted as the commencement of the three month period allowed for the surveyor to complete any corrective work.
- At the expiry of the 3 month period, if not previously satisfactorily resolved with the surveyor, the OSG will check with the LTO to ascertain if the corrective work requested has been undertaken. If no public record exists, the surveyor will be contacted and, if warranted, corrective action will be initiated by the OSG at the surveyor's expense.
- Where the rectification of a survey requires changes to the boundaries and/or plan of land comprising a folio of the Register, in accordance with the requirements of the Surveyors Act 2002, it remains the surveyor's responsibility to advise and assist relevant owner(s) to have the Recorder effect the changes in the Register under the Land Titles Act 1980.
Relationship between Audit Classification and Rectification Requirements
|Audit Classification||Survey Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory ||Rectification|
|Class 1||Satisfactory||If any, at surveyor's discretion|
|Class 2||Satisfactory||Highly desirable|
|Class 3||Unsatisfactory||Rectification required|
|Class 4||Unsatisfactory||Rectification required|
Consequences of Unsatisfactory Audit Findings
- Two consecutive unsatisfactory audits may result in the surveyor being required to demonstrate to the Surveyor General how survey standards are going to be met in future.
- In accordance with the requirements of the Surveyors Act 2002, three consecutive unsatisfactory audits at renewal of registration will require re-accreditation with the TLSAB as a prerequisite to renewal of registration in the following year.
- Audit and investigation outcomes may also be used by the Surveyor General to initiate complaints to the Director of Consumer Affairs.