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SPP-04 Marking Guidelines

Version 1 - 18/07/2018

This guide is intended as general information only. If you are uncertain of your rights or interests, please seek professional legal advice. Landgate staff are not able to give legal advice or to draft your documents. Please read our Terms of Use above.

1. Referencing of Urban Pickup

It is considered important that in urban subdivisions, not within Special Survey Areas, surveyors comply with TLA regulations 23 and 32 by referencing all unreferenced street corners that are re-established. Plans may be delayed until this protection is done.

2. Protection of Urban Pickup

Surveyors have a professional obligation to support the cadastral referencing system and General Regulation 24A requires surveyors to duplicate existing referencing at street corners which they have re-established as a part of their surveys, if that referencing is vulnerable (for example if spikes are in the one metre corridor). Plans may be delayed until this protection is done.

It is suggested that the use of spikes instead of nails to mark offset lines is an effective and efficient way of meeting this obligation.

Guidelines under General Regulation 22A and that require connections to the geodetic network or the placement of control marks may reduce or replace the need for additional referencing in some situations.

3. Referencing of Rural Pickup (Road Corners)

Although not as critical as the urban environment, TLA regulation 23 also requires surveyors to reference re-established road corners on rural surveys.

4. Referencing of Rural Re-establishment

In the course of any survey when it is necessary to re-establish, re-mark or connect to an unreferenced corner of a rural lot or location (the area of which exceeds four hectares) the surveyor should reference such corner.

5. Risk in Adjacent Spikes

Two spikes close together will eventually cause a mistake. It is recommended that no reference spike is ever placed within 0.5m of another earlier spike, even if the earlier spike is confidently believed to be gone. This does not apply to the situation of a spike replacing an earlier one (nominally in the same position) but in the case of reference marks even that situation is best avoided to preserve a clear examination trail and to avoid the risk of two spikes adjacent at different depths.

6. Secure Positions

To ensure long term viability of re-establishment, reference marks should be placed in a variety of safe locations throughout the survey. For Special Survey Areas the SSA Guidelines provide information about the placement of permanent marks. Inspecting Surveyors’ experience is that security of reference mark positions can be ranked as follows:

  • In the verge (after services have been laid) on the street tree line or overhead power line or about 0.3 metres behind the back of the kerb or in another safe corridor.
  • Connections to SSM’s within reasonable distance.
  • Marks in walls in new subdivisions or connections to buildings or walls in established suburbs.
  • Substantial in-situ concrete (driveways, pram-ramps, etc. not necessarily kerbs or paths).
  • Spikes in bitumen roads (but do not rely solely on bitumen roads as modern maintenance programs can completely reconstruct some roads within about 25 year).
  • Marks in old deep kerb.
  • Nails in the bricks of brick paved paths (not between the bricks).
  • Nails in brick paved roads (not between the bricks).
  • A Land Surveyors’ Licensing Board notice has recommended against marks in modern cast in-situ kerbs. Marks in slabs are a last resort only. Nails driven between brick paving or between slabs are not acceptable as reference marks.

7. Brick Paving

Inspections of many subdivisions incorporating brick paved roads and paths indicate that brick paving (even in roads) is not sufficiently stable to contain reference marks and that heavy traffic during house construction has in many cases disturbed that paving and the kerbs. It is recognised that at brick paved intersections the scope for placement of reference marks is limited but often there are isolated safe places such as in-situ concrete pram ramps or the referencing could be put away from the intersection where there are verges, bitumen roads or concrete paths.

8. Independent Reference Marks

Modern survey practices and modern calculating procedures are such that there are increasing benefits in being able to redefine a corner using only one reference mark (ie. for line and distance). Dependence on distances from two reference marks to set up a corner is becoming less practical.

It is recommended that whenever practical, reference spikes be established whose position is accurately known (not just a distance from a corner).

It is considered that in most circumstances the value of such a coordinated spike is worth two ‘distance only’ reference marks (although a redundancy is still required in the re-establishment).

9. Reference Spikes on Road Secants

Special care has been shown to be necessary to avoid gross mistakes (most commonly transpositions) in the distances to new reference marks on road bend secants.

It is strongly recommended that surveyors adopt methods which will eliminate the risk of such mistakes. Such precautions might include:

  • always measuring the distances between the spikes on line on the secant to give a redundancy (and calculating the check)
  • measuring another redundant (‘between’) measurement not on the secant line to prevent transpositions (and calculating the check before you lodge)
  • making one RM a spike in bitumen and one a spike in the verge possibly 0.3m behind the back of the kerb
  • avoiding two similar spike distances on the secant (a transposition between grossly different distances becomes obvious to the next surveyor)
  • independently checking the RMs for gross mistakes on another day, after inking in the field book.

10. Non-standard Marking - A Caution

A disciplinary hearing of the Land Surveyors’ Licensing Board in 1994 found a surveyor guilty of certifying to the accuracy of an authorised survey knowing it to be inaccurate - because the certification stated that the survey was in accordance with the Regulations but the corners were not marked with the specified marks and the difference was not recorded on the Plan.

It was held that it was not accurate to state that the survey was in accordance with the Regulations unless the exceptions were recorded on the Plan. This ruling could have severe implications for any job where the marking does not strictly comply with the Regulations. Prudence suggests that any variations should be recorded on the plan as well as in the field book. This caution applies to Sections 121317 and 19.

11. Mark the 'Lot' Side of Walls

It is common in modern large urban subdivisions for very high brick or limestone walls to be built on the boundaries of major roads abutting the subdivision. Often the wall is within the lot so that the lot corner peg falls on the far side of the wall (or on top of the wall) where it is a useless indicator to the proprietor. In such circumstances it is recommended that the surveyor place an additional mark or permanent indicator on the ‘lot’ side of the wall to identify the side boundary to the proprietors, builders, fencers, etc. In some circumstances this ‘lot’ side mark may suffice in lieu of marking of the actual lot corner (provided the offset is shown on the plan). The situation should be recorded in the referencing field book.

12. Alternative Marks

Where ‘alternative marks’ are used on a survey they should be fully described and justified in the field book and described on the Plan.

13. Hallmarks and Star Pickets

Hallmarks, steel posts or pegs are approved corner marks in specified situations under the General Regulations.

Inspecting surveyors will take action against surveyors that use plain star pickets as corner marks because:

  • they can be confused with construction marks,
  • they cannot be unambiguously numbered, and
  • they are not recognised by the public as a cadastral mark.

It is the surveyor's responsibility to ensure that Hallmarks are not used in a situation or in a manner in which they become a hazard. It is permissible to place a shield around the exposed portion of the Hallmark. Hallmarks should never be used in the vicinity of underground services especially electricity, gas or petroleum reticulation.

It is recommended that the use of steel pegs is described in the lodged field book to assist future searching with metal detectors.

14. Numbering of Pegs

The numbers of all relevant land parcels should be marked on the post or peg on the side or top (respectively) facing the parcel and in the direction to be read from within the parcel. In rural lands ‘R’ should be marked towards any road abuttal. In urban lands ‘R’ need only be shown where it would add clarity.

The numbering of timber and steel pegs may be impressed into a horizontal aluminium plate rigidly attached to the peg. The use of small numbers on bare timber should be avoided.

15. Obliteration of Previous Subdivision

When a previous lodged or unlodged survey is superseded by a new survey with amended boundaries any of the existing visible marks that could cause confusion should be removed or obliterated by the surveyor who makes the new survey. Original (Crown) marks should only be removed if they are misleading and, the surveyor shall record such removal. Reference spikes should not be removed. Intermediate spikes may remain if not apparent. (Please record in the field book whether each intermediate has been removed.)

16. Intervisibility between Marks

Intermediate spikes should be placed on every boundary where necessary such that (in addition to the requirement of General Regulation 39) from each end mark or intermediate mark on that boundary another mark should be visible on line in both directions (allowing that a pole up to 4 metres high may be used). This need applies in both rural and urban surveys and regardless of the length of the boundary. It is a practical requirement to allow fencing of the boundary or its identification by the public.

17. Clearing of Boundaries

Refer to General Regulation 52 as amended September 2000.

All boundaries likely to be fenced should be cleared sufficiently to enable clear identification. It is recognised by Landgate that for fencing purposes, visibility is not required below about 1.7 metres high and that in some topography a tall pole can be used by the fencing contractor.

Even when fencing is not required the proprietor or occupant needs to know roughly where the property ends so the marking should enable this. It is suggested that an indicated intermediate mark close to each end of each uncleared boundary will assist in this regard.

Nothing in this paragraph is intended to save work in clearing. It is intended only to save vegetation in those circumstances where that is an issue.

Boundaries not cleared to the standard required by the regulations should be stated so in the field book (with the justification) and stated on the Plan.

18. Visibility of Marks

It is recommended that standing natural scrub within a metre of pegs, posts and intermediate spikes be removed. The surveyor should take all such steps as the circumstances may require and permit to render corner and boundary marks conspicuous. Sections 11, 1719 and 20 indicate how this may be achieved.

19. Trenching

Trenches or rock pointers are a good indicator of a boundary's direction but they should not be used where they are likely to be a risk to livestock or the public. Staking is a useful alternative.

20. Staking

The use of stakes and flagging to indicate a mark's position is desirable when they are not a threat to stock. In rural areas it is recommended that star pickets or fence droppers are used when they are not a threat to stock.

21. Timing of Marking

All of the pegs or posts and most of the reference marks (including Permanent Survey Marks and Permanent Control Marks in Special Survey Areas) of each subdivision should be placed or remain in place after substantial completion of the servicing of the subdivision (generally after roads have been kerbed and sealed, sewers and drainage installed and the verge surfaces smoothed).

On normal subdivisions the surveyor should check that all the corners are marked before the plan is lodged and that sufficient referencing remains for accurate re-establishment after the site works have been completed.

The initial survey should be planned such that at least three solid control points/reference marks will survive the site works to enable re-pegging and additional referencing when safe from further disturbance.

22. Deferred Final Marking/Deferred Referencing

Landgate has an approval system in place (under regulation 26A of the Licensed Surveyors (General Surveying Practice) Regulations 1961) that enables surveyors to defer the final marking/referencing of bonded subdivisions until after the works have been completed. It can be applicable to normal and SSA subdivisions, including Survey/Stratas.

The plan can be placed in order for dealings and allow the Registrar of Titles to issue certificates of title for lots on that plan after the surveyor has certified that the corners of all the lots on that plan have been marked and that the final marking will be completed within 14 days after practical completion of the bonded works.

An approval for deferred final marking/referencing (DFM) requires that a network of ‘permanent’ marks connected to the State Geodetic Network controls the survey. Initial pegging of all of the lots on the Plan will enable Landgate to endorse the Plan In Order for Dealings once final approval from WAPC has been obtained. When the site works have been completed, permanent referencing and permanent survey and control marks in accordance with the regulations and the SSA guidelines (as applicable) can then take place.

Deferred final marking provides benefits for the developer and for the purchasers of lots within the subdivision. The developer can gain a cash flow which facilitates completion of the development works which in turn benefits the purchasers by improving the timeframes for occupation of the land. Each purchaser also benefits by being able to settle at the original fixed price of the land, and by being able to commence the building process by engaging a builder and making application for a building licence.

By virtue of the approval for DFM, the surveyor takes on a responsibility to the Registrar of Titles to take reasonable steps to ensure that prospective purchasers are advised that access to the land may not be possible at the time of settlement. That is, the surveyor now has a duty to the State and to the public in addition to the duties to the surveyor’s client (the developer) and which will remain until the final marking has been completed. The surveyor who evades these duties can be subject to disciplinary action for negligence under the Licensed Surveyors Act 1909.

The use of this procedure requires approval from the Inspector of Plans and Surveys (or delegate).

The following information must be provided for an application for deferred final marking/deferred referencing to be considered:

  • A copy of the plan, or draft of the plan, or other graphic that shows the position, size and nature of the subdivision.
  • The date you expect to lodge the DP or date of lodgement if already lodged.
  • If fully bonded, the nature of the works being bonded and the bodies with which the bonds have been arranged.
  • If not fully bonded, the nature of the remaining works being bonded and the bodies with which the bonds have been arranged.
  • The date the bonds were in place, or are expected to be in place.
  • The date clearances are expected to be available.
  • The date dealings (e.g. application for new titles) are expected to be lodged.
  • The timeframe for practical completion.
  • The timeframe for final marking.

This information is used in considering the merits of the application, whether any special conditions are appropriate, and for follow up if necessary.

The standard conditions for this procedure are as follows:

  • The development has adequate connections to the State Geodetic Network in accordance with ‘Survey Practice Guidelines for Subdivisions within Special Survey Areas’ (the guidelines)The corners of all the lots are marked prior to the plan being In Order for Dealings. Notification to Landgate can be by an ‘Initial Survey Certificate’, similar to the form of the ISC in the guidelines stating that the marks are in place and referencing/final marking will be carried out when the subdivision has been completed;
  • Sufficient control points are placed in safe and protected positions to survive the development works;
  • Placement of referencing/final marking to be completed not more than 14 days after practical completion of the engineering and construction works;
  • A field book recording the referencing and renovation survey (for normal subdivisions), survey sheets (for SSA subdivisions) and a ‘Final Survey Certificate’ similar to the form of the FSC in the Guidelines to be lodged within 14 days of completion of fieldwork;
  • The plan and field book(s) to be annotated ‘Reg. 26A’– referencing/final marking deferred (<Approval ID>, <Landgate file>) and the notation ‘Reg. 26A’ to be shown in the “Approved” box of the plan title block; and
  • The surveyor must take reasonable steps to ensure that it is disclosed to purchasers of lots on the plan that access to the land may not be possible at the date of settlement, and to ensure that any changes to the timeframe for practical completion is advised to those purchasers.

Enquiries about using the deferred referencing or final marking procedures should be directed in the first instance to the Inspector of Plans and Surveys on telephone +61 (0)8 9273 5949 or email

Applications must be emailed in the following form:

<Company Letterhead>

Our Ref:

Landgate Ref: 05956-2016 (DP <insert number>)

Inspector of Plans and Surveys

Location Data Services


C/o Attention: Noreen Tucker

Subject: DEFERRED FINAL MARKING/REFERENCING FOR DP/SP(<insert number>), stage name, locality

I < insert name of licensed surveyor> apply for approval to defer the final marking/referencing on this project and make the following undertakings to the Registrar of Titles:

  1. I undertake that the survey and plan will comply with the "Survey Practice Guidelines for Subdivisions within Special Survey Areas” (the guidelines) under Regulation 26A of the Licensed Surveyors (General Surveying Practice) Regulations 1961.
  2. I undertake that the corners of all the lots will be marked prior to the plan being in order for dealings.  Notification to Landgate shall be by way of an "Initial Survey Certificate" (ISC), in accordance with section 9.3 of the guidelines, stating that the marks have been placed.
  3. I undertake that sufficient control points will be placed in safe and protected positions to survive the civil works still underway.
  4. I undertake that final marking is to be completed on …../…../…… which is not more than 14 days after the practical completion of the civil works on ……/…../…….. .  I further undertake that I will promptly notify you of any changes to the date of practical completion and the date of lodgement.
  5. I undertake that the Survey Sheet(s), an eFB depicting the final control survey, and a "Final Survey Certificate" certification on the survey sheets will be lodged within 14 days of completion of fieldwork – that date being …../…./…….
  6. I anticipate that applications for new titles for <insert number of lots> (or other dealings) will be lodged on …../……/…….
  7. I undertake that the plan including the Survey Sheet(s), will be annotated "Reg. 26A (1) – final marking deferred <insert the approval number>; Landgate file 05956-2016” and the notation “Reg. 26A (1), (4)” is to be shown in the “Approved” box of the plan title block. “Reg. 26A (1)” refers to the special approval for deferred final marking and “Reg. 26A (4) refers to the Special Survey Area.
  8. I will take all reasonable steps to ensure that it is disclosed to purchasers of lots on the plan that access to the land may not be possible at the date of settlement, and to ensure that any changes to the timeframe for practical completion are advised to those purchasers.
  9. In support of this application the following information is provided and consolidated into a single PDF file:

22.1. Checklist for Deferred Referencing/Final Marking

Serial Action Date, Details
or Number
√ or ×
1 Completed Application letter    
2 Copy of DP<.............> (preliminary acceptable if not already lodged)    
3 Number of Lots for which certificates of title will be required    
4 Bonding Details (nature of works; agencies involved)    
5 Date bonds in place    
6 Date clearances expected to be available    
7 Timeframe for practical completion (> 14 days from this application)    
8 Timeframe for final marking/referencing    
9 Timeframe for lodgement of survey sheets/referencing details    
10 Date of Lodgement for “Lot Sync”    
11 Date of applications for titles (if not “Lot Sync”)    

Turnaround estimates checked at


<signed by licensed surveyor>

<date of this application>