Courchesne, Fortin Land Surveyors in Gatineau: Frequently Asked Questions

You visited a property and wish to complete the transaction with a notary. However, you wonder what are the realistic limits of the frequently asked questions section. Do not hesitate to contact us if you do not find the information you are looking for.


Please note that the following information is taken from website of the Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec © Copyright


Why Do I Need a Building Location Certificate?

You are now about to make the biggest investment of your life: buying property. To protect this investment, you should take some precautions. You have visited the property, you are happy with it and ready to go to the notary who will draw up the deed. However, some questions come to mind:

  • Where are the boundaries of the property that I am planning to buy?
  • Are the buildings that were showed to me really within these boundaries?


Getting answers to these questions before signing the contract will first of all allow the notary to prepare a clearer title of ownership and give an accurate description of the land in question and, secondly, it will make you reflect on the value of your future investment: would you still be interested in signing if you learned that the garage is partially erected on the neighbouring property?



How will the surveyor answer these questions?

The land surveyor will draw up a building location certificate after examining all the documents you have provided and conducting any other research he considers necessary.


Once on the site, he will assemble the elements that he needs to make an opinion, in view of those elements and the neighbouring properties. He will carefully locate the constructions concerned: buildings, pools, fences, hedges, posts, garages, sheds, etc.


With the measurements completed, the surveyor will mathematically verify distances and angles, then check to see that the documents are consistent with the information gathered in the field.


Finally, he will write his report with a map illustrating the result of his study, all of which is part of the building location certificate.



What should the report contain?

The content of the report in the building location certificate is governed by law. In addition to answering the above questions, it will tell you whether your property is:

  • Subject to existing servitudes
  • Subject to a notice of expropriation
  • Classified as cultural property
  • Located within protected agricultural land



What should the plan contain?

The map is a graphical representation of the location: it should contain, whenever possible, all items mentioned in the report.


In addition to graphically specifying certain details described in the report, the map allows you to view the characteristics of the lot with respect to shape, contents, dimensions and identification. It shows the positions, sizes and types of existing buildings on the property.



What if the seller already has a building location certificate?

If you have reason to believe that, since the issue date of this document, amendments have been made to the property (new construction, swimming pool, fence, changes to municipal by-laws, etc.), then it would be wise to ask a land surveyor to prepare a new certificate of location.


A survey document should reflect the current reality. If it is expired, it no longer meets your needs and can be a source of confusion and error.



How much does a building location certifiate cost?

The work of a land surveyor varies from one property to another, because it depends on the size and shape of constructions, access, weather, the difficulty of the research, the complexity of descriptions, trained personnel and incidental office expenses. All these factors influence the cost of labour and only the surveyor can precisely assess the value. The amount can vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.


However, the surveyor will provide you with an estimate before you give authorization to begin the work.


You must keep in mind that the normal fee for preparing a certificate of location is less than one percent of your total investment and that this minimal expenditure can help you avoid distress and costly problems in the future.


On request and at an additional fee, the land surveyor will stake the property using regulatory markers (identified by name) along every angle of the land line.



Who should pay for the building location certificate, the buyer or the seller?

Curiously, it is often the seller who selects and pays the surveyor. The seller is the one disposing of the property and who does business with a professional to prepare a document that will be used by... the buyer. Unfortunately, in this case, the buyer has no contractual relationship with the land surveyor. The seller hands the documents to the buyer who therefore cannot necessarily obtain additional information from the surveyor. However, who is the certificate of location actually for? Is it not the buyer? It would therefore be to the advantage of the buyer to select and pay for a surveyor. In fact, along with the documents produced, the land surveyor is likely to provide sound advice. In addition, his knowledge of the property will allow the surveyor to better serve the new owner in the future.



I am trying to sell my house and I need a building location certificate. What does it cost and how long does it take to get it?

Contact us for a prompt reply. We will have to learn more about your site and do a search to give you an accurate price and timeline. This is done with no obligation on your part.



I want to build a fence, but I do not know where the property lines are.

Survey markers made of 2 ft. metal rods topped with a plastic medallion containing information including the name of the surveyor can be staked along the property line. These lines reflect those that appear on the certificate of location.



I bought a field and I want to build soon. What are the steps and the necessary documents?

Assuming that your land is clearly identified in the cadastre and that the house plans are completed you will need the following:

  • Site Map: This map shows the location of the proposed building and cadastral and land information affecting the property. This map is required in order to obtain building permits.
  • Building Implementation: This involves planting ground markers to show the location of the proposed building as shown on the site map. These marks are usually used for digging and location of foundations.
  • Building location certificate: This document may be completed when the foundations are in place or later. The municipality and the mortgage institution will require this document.
  • Staking: This is optional, but it will show where the exact property lines are if you ever want to build a fence or plant a hedge.



I have a house I want to turn it into condominiums. What steps do I need to take?

First you must ensure you meet the Rental Board requirements. You will also need to appoint a notary to advise you in these procedures and to draft the declaration of condominium. The surveyor’s job is to identify the cadastral spaces that are common and those that are private. A subdivision permit must be issued by the municipality and, if necessary, consent of the mortgage institution or the beneficiary under a declaration of family residence is required under Article 3044 of the Civil Code of Québec.



I have a problem with my neighbour because we disagree on the location of the property line. What can I do?

Assuming that there is indeed a problem or uncertainty about the location of the property line, the appropriate procedure to resolve this issue is to have the boundaries determined (bornage). Unlike the staking, boundary determination is governed by several articles of the Civil Code of Québec, the Civil Procedure Code and the Quebec Land Surveyors Act. Both sides in the disagreement must be involved in the boundary determination.



Cadastral reform

The cadastre of Québec represents your property on a map, identified by a lot number. This map shows the dimensions, area, shape and position of your property in relation to neighboring properties. The cadastre, in existence since 1860, is incomplete and contains inaccuracies. The Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife has begun to prepare a new cadastral plan where each of the properties is shown correctly. Some of this work has been entrusted to Courchesne, Fortin. Owners do not have to pay for the cadastral reform work. During this reform, 750,000 lots that contain inaccuracies will be corrected and 850,000 unidentified properties will be identified on the cadastre. The new cadastre will be complete, accurate, computerized and constantly updated!

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