Survey Liability Release

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    Is it normal practice for a surveyor to ask an LA to sign a release of liability before providing a CAD file of a survey? I have a client who had a survey done months ago, then hired us to do the landscape plan, so I contacted the surveyor to ask for the CAD file. They want me to sign a release of liability before providing the file to me. I went from a big firm where I never handled any business or contracts to being the only LA so I have no idea if this is normal and not sure I want to sign it.


    Penelope… the 40 plus yrs. I’ve been practicing Landscape Architecture, I’ve never even heard of this. Land Surveyors are “Licensed” in every State. Surveyors, like Landscape Architects, should be carrying “Liability Insurance” for their businesses.

    IMO, you should NOT have to sign a “release”.



    Thanks Bob, I appreciate the response. I just can’t get the CAD file now because they refuse to release it!


    I am pretty SURE…that every Professional Surveyor MUST be Licensed in each State where they Practice. Maybe particular Surveyor does NOT have “Liability Insurance”…, they’re not confident enough in their survey work, to stand behind it. Have they given you a “specific reason” WHY they feel they want you to “sign a release”? I’d be curious to know what it is. Ridiculous.

    I have designed easily, over 600 Projects to date…never had a Surveyor deny me a Survey that I have requested….for any reason.



    Yes, it’s standatd to sign a release in exchange for receiving another consultant’s autocad file(s). The use of release forms in exchange for .dwg files is not limited to surveyors. Usually the release language is really sweeping, and says you agree that the info is accepted as-is, the .dwg might contain drafting errors, and might include a virus. Some are worded more ominously than others. I’ve never had a problem either way.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    I have never had to sign anything, but it is pretty standard practice that a dwg is sent with an email stating that the dwg shall only be used exclusively to do the landscape plan or whatever the request is for. It protects them from you passing it along to another surveyor to stake the job. More importantly is that they are making it clear that they only certify what is on the stamped print and not all of what may be found in the dwg file.

    You should always request a pdf of a stamped plan along with the dwg. That will help you separate any questionable things in the dwg. A good frequent example of that is that there may be a house under construction which was revised by the architect after the proposed house in the PL’s dwg was drawn or a wetland could have been re-delineated later. There are very good legitimate reasons for the disclaimer. …. and sometimes there are people who are not so good at what they do and need to cover their tails.


    Well said, Andrew. I know you have worked for a C.E. Firm in the past…so, you should have more knowledge about than many of the rest of us.

    Also…Penelope, I would recommend going directly to your CLIENT (the Owner) and getting a copy
    of the SURVEY from them. I just completed a Residential Project & was able to get the SURVEY directly sent to me from the Home Owner.

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