Md. delays surveyor standards

September 08, 1994|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Sun Staff Writer

A state regulatory board agreed yesterday to delay setting standards for land surveyors for two months, after industry representatives charged the new rules would boost closing costs for some Maryland homebuyers by several hundred dollars.

The Board for Professional Land Surveyors, which oversees the profession, unanimously adopted minimum performance levels for surveyors, who determine property boundaries when land is sold or developed. But new rules won't take effect until Dec. 1, giving board members time to review objections of the Maryland Society of Surveyors.

Members of the group say the standards would force surveyors to charge clients for services they don't want or need.

For example, surveyors would be required to do expensive and time-intensive actual boundary surveys when more cursory inspections would accomplish the same purpose, the group says.

Surveys that now cost about $150 could increase to $1,000 in some cases under the new standards, said Joel M. Leininger, president of the Society of Surveyors. More extensive surveys would become mandatory for most townhouses and rowhouses in the state, he said.

Members of the state board dispute that. They counter that in cases where boundary questions arise, actual surveys will reduce errors and help avoid title problems.

The board agreed to schedule a work session with members of the society before the next public meeting, Oct. 5, when the board will hear and vote on proposed changes.

"The board has a very strong disagreement with the position of the Maryland Society vis-a-vis the increase in costs for home closing costs, and a strong disagreement with the society in terms of specific issues raised," said Charles Maloy, chairman of the state board.

Robert L. Mead, executive director of the Society of Surveyors, described the disagreement over the economic impact as the greatest sticking point. "So much of this will force surveyors to do things they wouldn't otherwise do, like doctors ordering too many tests," he said.

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