I was just down at the local Building Department, and they won't give me a copy of my survey!

There are many reasons why you may be refused a copy of a survey plan. Survey plans are not a 'product' bought and sold by surveyors. Survey plans are a communication tool used by the surveyor to express their professional opinion as to the location of property boundaries or other aspects of a property.

The information on the plan is specific to a certain time and for the specific purpose of the surveyor’s client. The information on the plan may be 'out of date' or may not be sufficient for current needs. For instance, a one-year-old survey for new construction is usually completed before the building is completed or the site graded. As such, it may not illustrate many important aspects of the improvements to the property such as building overhangs, fences, driveways, overhead utility lines, etc. These features can be critical to the current needs of the property owner.

Plans may also contain information that is confidential to the surveyor's original client. By providing new copies of plans, the surveyor may be accepting additional liability for his / her professional opinions and is entitled to reimbursement for that new risk.