Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

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Mike Mueller
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by Mike Mueller »

I think it is clear from the above that I think goal and standard are not the same. For those that would advocate for a high standard, I would ask your opinion on the following questions:

Is the standard of care supposed to be a goal?

What is the difference between a high standard and a goal?

Is the implementation of a standard meant to winnow out the bottom half of a population, or is it meant to winnow out the worst %10?

Considering that goals are literally meant to be out of reach when the goal is made, how would we justify a goal being used as a tool in enforcement?

I understand that someone's goal is another persons normal. Some folks dream of running a marathon, others do a couple a year (or more! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultramarathon) Considering that the participants of this forum are likely to be a more involved subset of the population, unless we are explicitly trying to winnow out half of our peers, anything proposed should have near 100% approval by this group. While it may seem trivial to some, that is the point :)

Mikey Mueller, PLS 9076
Sonoma County

PS Sorry for the frequent posts, this topic is much on my mind.
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by DWoolley »

Mike Mueller wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 10:34 am I think it is clear from the above that I think goal and standard are not the same. For those that would advocate for a high standard, I would ask your opinion on the following questions:

Is the standard of care supposed to be a goal?

What is the difference between a high standard and a goal?

Is the implementation of a standard meant to winnow out the bottom half of a population, or is it meant to winnow out the worst %10?

Considering that goals are literally meant to be out of reach when the goal is made, how would we justify a goal being used as a tool in enforcement?
....
Mikey Mueller, PLS 9076
Sonoma County
...
The "standard of care" currently exists in all jurisdictions. It is an objective standard, not an subjective standard. A poor quality of regional practice does not create a different standard of care - even if all of the cool kids are doing it.

I believe the proposed changes in the statutes (arguably the same for written standards) would have further defined and distinguished the practice of land surveying from the work performed by laypeople/tradesman, created technical distinctions that protected the public from unlicensed practice and put the land surveying community on the same level playing field. Yes, the new laws would have created a yardstick by which to measure negligence, technically it is negligence per se, but that was not the driving force - it is a feature, not a bug. Negligence is defined as the failure to meet the standard of care.

I believe most folks have some sense of proper land surveying and chose not to practice honestly/accordingly. The level of dishonestly is wholly dependent upon their ability to rationalize their practices - according to Dan Ariely.

In a paragraph clipped from the internet, Ariely's theory was:

"The proposed theory of self- concept maintenance posits that people typically engage in dishonest behaviors and achieve external benefits from dishonesty, but only to the extent that their dishonest acts allow them to maintain a positive view of themselves in terms of being honest."

It is understandable why many folks would not want written standards and/or laws that would cause a practice examination and/or a reformation. Frankly, one reason is it narrows their ability to rationalize their illegitimate/dishonest practices. The very discussion of a written standard is a threat.

Licensed surveyors will quickly point to 8726, nobody, outside of the land surveying practice, cares. We, as a community, are loathe to create a distinction between our licensees and self-performing laypersons. Many folks expect BPELSG to save the profession. BPELSG will not save you or the profession or your business model. Again, BPELSG protects the public from you.

As for the "deeded boundary" discussion, watch "capitalism" work on the profession as the technical laypeople take the work like the locust devouring the fields in biblical times. There is nothing to prevent layperson (8726? I scoff) from using an RTK GPS unit to locate a couple of monuments (or improvements thought to be a boundary) and flying a drone for topography to produce the same work product of a licensee. There is no clear technical distinction, besides them quite likely to be better at the technical work, between a licensee and the skilled unlicensed technical person. The old saw "it will cost them" i.e. contractors, GIS folks, etc is simply not true.

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Mike Mueller
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by Mike Mueller »

DWoolley wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:48 am The "standard of care" currently exists in all jurisdictions. It is an objective standard, not an subjective standard. A poor quality of regional practice does not create a different standard of care - even if all of the cool kids are doing it.
So what percent of licensed surveyors in the state are above the standard of care you reference above as being "objective"?

Mikey Mueller, PLS 9076
Sonoma County
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by DWoolley »

Mike Mueller wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 2:46 pm
DWoolley wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 11:48 am The "standard of care" currently exists in all jurisdictions. It is an objective standard, not an subjective standard. A poor quality of regional practice does not create a different standard of care - even if all of the cool kids are doing it.
So what percent of licensed surveyors in the state are above the standard of care you reference above as being "objective"?

Mikey Mueller, PLS 9076
Sonoma County
I have no way of knowing (or even guestimating) a percentage.

In my experience, it does not technically work as a pass or fail proposition that hinges on a single question. Having met the standard of care is more of a part of a defensive argument. Besides the testimony of a competent expert the other sources of the standard of care include treaties (textbooks), peer reviewed papers, written standards in guidelines and manuals etc.

This is why I, very specifically, asked earlier where the procedure was written to place a deed boundary on a topographic map, and the specific meaning of that suggested note i.e. "This is a deed boundary that shouldn't be used for any construction or fixed works without a field survey first". The answers to those questions, when presented to a land surveyor under oath, will serve the same as a noose in the gallows. These types of notes seldom serve as "informed consent". When I used to teach this material, I would tell the land surveyors that were ridin' dirty not to put CYA notes on their work product. In litigation the notes work exactly opposite as they were intended.

Sounds crazy? Find a written reference describing the procedure for rotating a record boundary to two monuments and when it is acceptable to do so. Suppose I will be on one side of the testimony, who will show up on the other side to describe the acceptability of that procedure? Suppose you get through that one question (which a surveyor will not), what about the next three pages of similar questions? The most defendable land surveyor cites a standard in the contract and then, surveys to that standard - especially a nationally accepted standard like ALTA/NSPS or Caltrans or a county manual etc. That land surveyor, right or wrong, makes it nearly impossible successfully sue for damages. One CYA squirrel note, game over.

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Mike Mueller
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by Mike Mueller »

DWoolley wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 3:06 pm Sounds crazy? Find a written reference describing the procedure for rotating a record boundary to two monuments and when it is acceptable to do so. Suppose I will be on one side of the testimony, who will show up on the other side to describe the acceptability of that procedure? Suppose you get through that one question (which a surveyor will not), what about the next three pages of similar questions?
BLM Manuel of Instruction 2009, 7-54 Grant Boundaries. Pages 176-177

"....This is essientially a rotate and scale procedure." end of 1st paragraph on right side column, page 176.

While not all boundaries are grant boundaries, I find this procedure is a pretty nifty tool in the toolbox.

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by DWoolley »

It is a fine tool for a very specific circumstance, but the next questions have to support the adjustment; are there monuments at those adjusted corners? Did you search for those monuments? Did you date and consider the improvements? Is the adjusted deed a first division of land? Did you pull and properly establish the adjoining deeds (including the searching for the monuments)? Did the two monuments held predate the boundary being established? Are the two held monuments the longest line or longer than the line being established in the deed?

Or the most obvious question, is this a public land survey? These questions go on for days.

I sincerely appreciate you being willing to put yourself out on the forum in an effort to further the conversation.

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by Jim Frame »

A discussion exhibit to a client explaining why their neighborhood's deeds are in conflict?
I've prepared documents like this, but the important difference is that the deed lines shown aren't tied to any physical features. As soon as you show a relationship, however approximate you try to characterize it, between a "deed boundary" and something on the ground, you are, in the lay person's eyes, saying "This is where the boundary is," and that's a problem. It doesn't adequately protect the public, and it's a liability problem for the surveyor.

A bit of mea culpa: Years ago I did prepare LLA documents for a parcel where I had enough survey information to know I had the boundary within a foot or so, but would have needed to spend much more time (= $$$) nailing it down. The two physical features I showed (a well and a barn) were way clear of the boundary, so I wasn't worried about violating the zoning ordinace. But I wouldn't do that today given the same situation.
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by DWoolley »

Mike Mueller wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 3:45 pm
DWoolley wrote: Mon May 13, 2024 3:06 pm Sounds crazy? Find a written reference describing the procedure for rotating a record boundary to two monuments and when it is acceptable to do so. Suppose I will be on one side of the testimony, who will show up on the other side to describe the acceptability of that procedure? Suppose you get through that one question (which a surveyor will not), what about the next three pages of similar questions?
BLM Manuel of Instruction 2009, 7-54 Grant Boundaries. Pages 176-177

"....This is essientially a rotate and scale procedure." end of 1st paragraph on right side column, page 176.

While not all boundaries are grant boundaries, I find this procedure is a pretty nifty tool in the toolbox.

Mikey Mueller, PLS 9076
Sonoma County
In my last post, I was rambling questions off the cuff that would be typical follow up. Suppose you provided the citation shown above as an answer to the question or was shown on the work product.

The same section of the BLM manual states:

"After the adjustments have been applied to the record courses, all in the same angular amount, and to the record distances, each one proportionately for length, and the locations for the angle points thus determined on the ground, additional search for evidence of the record markers must be made. The adjusted locations for the angle points are in the most probable original position. If no further evidence is recovered, and the angle points are regarded as lost, the adjusted points are then monumented."

Q: Did you return to the field and "search for evidence of the record markers"?
Q: Did you confirm "no further evidence is recovered"?
Q: Did you monument the adjusted points?

If the answer is "no" to these questions, the land surveyor did not follow the procedure referenced. There are sure to be reasons, rationalizations, but in the the end, the land surveyor cited a procedure that was not followed - it looks bad. This looks like negligence to everyone in the room except the land surveyor that provided the citation. The "pretty nifty tool" becomes the noose. The CYA note "This is a deed boundary that shouldn't be used for construction or fixed works without a field survey first." further proves the land surveyor knowingly failed to meet the standard of care and left the public exposed to damages...in the name of capitalism. The CYA note answers the questions as to intent.

Back to the nihilistic point, these legalistic conversations will be less likely after the technical locust have devoured the profession - because the professionals were not interested in distinguishing the profession from the technology.

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by Mike Mueller »

DWoolley wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 6:16 am Q: Did you return to the field and "search for evidence of the record markers"?
Q: Did you confirm "no further evidence is recovered"?
Q: Did you monument the adjusted points?

If the answer is "no" to these questions, the land surveyor did not follow the procedure referenced. There are sure to be reasons, rationalizations, but in the the end, the land surveyor cited a procedure that was not followed - it looks bad. This looks like negligence to everyone in the room except the land surveyor that provided the citation. The "nifty tool" becomes the noose.
Accepting the point you are going for, assume I say Yes, Yes, No. I would wait until my side gives me a chance to explain, and then I would prolly say stuff like this:

The definition of what is a monument is changing within our profession, like all standards and things do for any profession. As the ultimate purpose of a monument is to enable future people to correlate a place on the earth with a postion called for a deed or map, it is the unique and repeatable location that matters, more than a chunk of rock or iron. In this case I provided coordinates referenced to literally thousands of other monuments that are published and saved by many public and private organizations so that at any point in the future any competent surveyor will be able to get back to the same position I defined in my map within this much (and then hold up my fingers 2 centimeters apart). Considering we are here because of a 4" inch (hold up fingers father apart) fence post that is 1000' away from the position I defined, it was my professional opinion that I satisfied the requirements of the referenced procedure. Much like that same manual explains how to set reference points.

A digression into how to answer trappy questions from a lawyer is fun, but the point of this thread is to talk about standards. The fact that I could point to a printed out instruction for a procedure that you were ridiculing is an important point to not forget. We are discussing if and how and at what proficiency level CLSA should attempt to prepare a written out set of standards.

The first 2 questions, If and How are very dependent on the What, since convincing folks (aka the How) will depend on the What. When the What and How are figured out, then the If will sort itself out by a vote at the BoD meeting, If will be in the hands of our peers. So we are back to the What.

While you assert that the standards are objective, and I have seen some standards that are objective, they seem to be related to measurement, not judgement of what is best evidence. I do not think we need to reiterate the work done by Caltrans, or any of the other agencies that have put out standards. Nor do I think we as CLSA need to officially bless any of those standards.

When it comes to standards of evidence, I think we all can agree there is widespread opinions. Wading into that will not help CLSA or our profession IMO. What I think would help is taking the 10 most common misinterpreted portions of the PLSA and lay out what they actually mean and provide some examples in city/suburban/rural/mountainous circumstances. Of even better, in parcel map/RoS/deed only/sectionalized/rancho circumstances.

Sufficient monumentation? Sufficient for me, or for low bid ALTA/NSPS chop shop?
Facile retracement? Facile for me or the homeowner?
Matieral Discrepancy? Having a bearing on the outcome? Whos outcome?
reasonable person and alternate positions? Is that a reasonable land surveyor, is reasonable the middle of the bell curve?
Corner record showing unrecorded pipes? Alternate trigger?
Corner Record showing 0.1 difference in measurement. Trigger for RoS? Some reviewers seem to think so....

It is also a point to make that this is not an effort to make the world into any one persons vision of what is good. It is an effort to help prevent confusion and conflict in the community so that we provide a more consistent service to the public. Perhaps that is achieved by laying out some commonly accepted approaches and outline some safe ground for interpreting terms in the law that controls our license. That is what I think. I do not think it is setting up a series of concrete steps that need to be taken within certain precisions. That is not judgement, that is a flowchart.

Perhaps it is some third option, yet to be discussed. Will it ever be perfect? Nope. But that shouldn't stop us from trying to improve things.

Mikey Mueller, PLS 9076
Sonoma County
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by hellsangle »

Standards . . .

It looks like this thing has been beaten to death. Thousands of Lookie Lou’s. As Warren points out - a hot topic!

It seems there are two venues to this “standards” debate.

One of measurement and one of how-do-ya-resolve-a-boundary.

The first will always be in flux due to new technology. And . . . measuring is somewhat ministerial if accomplished correctly. CalTrans, et al have good guidance on how to measure. To me there are so many standards for measuring we don’t need no stinking badges on how to measure. The surveyor has to know the weak spots in button pushing. Especially GPS. Enough said.

The “how-do-you-solve-a-boundary?” . . . as Wooley has pointed out we have copious textbooks, etc. and . . . dah law.

Do we need written instructions/standards for resolving a boundary? No. They’ve already been written. The sad fact is “budgets/estimates” get in the way. To do it correctly - it costs what it costs. And there lies the problem: budget dictates the quality. Do you want an opinion that holds up in court . . . or pray your opinion is never challenged?

It costs what it costs. Not: “Hurry up and get ‘er billed, I have ten offices to keep afloat”!

If we all took care and looked under every stone . . . we’d all be practicing the same and the cost for John Q. Public would be similar.

It costs what it costs.

Jim Frame has it right . . . the second you marry the ground with the deed - you’re in trouble if you don’t perform a court-defensible boundary. With what land values are today it is professional suicide to shimmy a boundary onto a topo with a Cover-Your- Arse-note.

And from the business point-of-view . . . if you’re doing the Cover-Your-Arse-notes, et al you will have “those” kind of clients following you. The clients that want a stamp on their drawing and not quality.

Any business’ should be based upon quality - not quantity.

It costs what it costs.

Crazy Phil . . .
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by DWoolley »

Mike Mueller wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 7:28 am
DWoolley wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 6:16 am Q: Did you return to the field and "search for evidence of the record markers"?
Q: Did you confirm "no further evidence is recovered"?
Q: Did you monument the adjusted points?

If the answer is "no" to these questions, the land surveyor did not follow the procedure referenced. There are sure to be reasons, rationalizations, but in the the end, the land surveyor cited a procedure that was not followed - it looks bad. This looks like negligence to everyone in the room except the land surveyor that provided the citation. The "nifty tool" becomes the noose.
Accepting the point you are going for, assume I say Yes, Yes, No. I would wait until my side gives me a chance to explain, and then I would prolly say stuff like this:
...
Mikey Mueller, PLS 9076
Sonoma County
If the surveyor can honestly answer "Yes, yes, no" there is nothing to discuss. The surveyor has mostly likely performed a proper boundary survey in each California jurisdiction and those questions are not likely to ever be asked. We know land surveyors do not want to set monuments...feet don't fail me now!

Obviously, the CYA note is not needed after a proper boundary is established and it would be inappropriate. A CYA note is usually a strong indicator of a professional failure/negligence - especially any flavor of the note offered. Ironically, the land surveyors do not even commit fraud well. There is no such thing as a "record boundary" in connection with field survey. A tentative map, as defined in the California Subdivision Map Act, notwithstanding.

There will be no standards, there will be no profession. Read this forum for the proverbial writing on the wall.

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by E_Page »

Just scanning through some of the posts, found a few good statements and questions to address.

Mikey Mueller, while being off track on several points, has brought up a lot of good points for discussion. I hold out a lot of hope for people like Mr. Mueller as the willingness to discuss, and the apparent sincerity of his comments and questions indicate that he'll get to a very good understanding of the issues sooner or later.

Ric made the point that the entire licensing system (including qualification to take the exam, the exam itself, potentially continuing education, and enforcement) and not just enforcement are set up for the protection of the public. Unlicensed practice came up during various points of this discussion and addressing it is a very important part of protecting the public. Last I took notice, under Ric's leadership, BPELSG has done more to address unlicensed practice than they had in the past, but still not nearly enough IMO. In many states, the licensing boards have no authority to prosecute unlicensed practice - absolutely ridiculous and quite frustrating.

Next, qualifications to take the exam. California has one of, if not the lowest bar for admittance to take the exam. Essentially any party chief with 6 years of working and knowing 4 LSs who will say nice things about him thinks he's qualified to take the exam and qualified to be an LS. Although up to 4 yrs of qualifying education can be substituted, for experience, no actual education is required. There has been no consideration given to the fact that the role and expected knowledge held by a party chief has drastically changed since that requirement was made.

When I began surveying, a party chief was expected to be able to be handed a set of construction plans and be able to do all of the calculations needed to stake the proposed improvements. He was expected to know how to set up control taking into consideration the ideas of strength of figure, compounding of errors, etc., and expected to know how to build checks into field procedures, mathematically check his work in the field and ensure that control and staking were good prior to bringing the work back to the office. A party chief was expected to know how to look for and identify field evidence of monumented or marked boundaries and to identify other physical features which might affect boundary locations.

Over the past 40ish years, there has been a transition to the point where when another crew needs to be fielded, the only qualifications for the new chief is if they know how to get their various electronic gizmos at their disposal to generate coordinates, how to place stakes at locations of coordinates generated by their gizmos or by personnel in the office, and if the show up to work regularly, on time and sober (although those last ones often seem negotiable). Beyond being able to use the equipment, they are not generally expected to know anything about good methods for measurement, how to calculate anything beyond whether they get the proper change back when buying lunch, or how to recognize and locate boundary evidence that may take more effort that 3 minutes waving a Schonstedt. (hint to you chiefs: neither granite nor redwood posts can be located with a Schonstedt).

The qualifications of CA and several other states are simply not adequate as a 1st step in protecting the public.

Assuming the chief gets to the exam, and fails it, repeatedly. Most whine that the test isn't fair. It's too hard, it doesn't reflect what surveyors really do in the field in given situations, or it doesn't reflect the kind of work surveyors do, so on, so forth, wah, wahh, wahhhhhh!!!

During my time with grading and developing the exam, which was the last few years prior to the all multiple guess format, I got some great insight not only to the exam, but also to the examinees. The problems had to be written to include several different concepts that perhaps typically would not all show up on one project, but would typically show up over the course of several projects during a typical year, and occasionally, actually all show up in one project. Nothing unfair about any particular aspect of a problem, and not set up with a daisy-chain effect that if you get the first part wrong, you automatically get it all wrong. Questions accompanying a problem were designed so that the examinee could deal with one aspect at a time. If an examinee can't deal with multiple assigned and requested tasks upon arriving at a job site, they aren't even qualified as a party chief! My friend Ian once said that the exam would be more fair if it were administered on the hood of a pickup truck on a hot windy day while the proctors acted the role of construction foreman asking for new stakes and complaining loudly about previous staking being inadequate or wrong.

Lucky for the rest of us that Ian was never in charge of administering the exam.

Of all the insight I got during my time grading is that less than 1/3 of the examinees seemed to be possess enough knowledge to even consider taking the PLS exam. It was not a difficult exam either when I took it or when I graded and/or helped develop it. The only real challenge, even for a confidently competent person was getting through all of the exam with time to check answers.

Much of the stress that comes with taking the exam comes down to two things if you are actually prepared: 1) The misconception that you need to finish all parts of it and score better than 70%, and 2) Listening to and taking in all the BS about how hard it is from those who have failed multiple times. The day I showed up to take the CA PLS exam for the first and only time, I was waiting near the door. Some slightly nervous looking kid (early to mid 20s) shows up with a standard student-sized backpack of his reference materials (that's about all you should need). A few minutes later, a seasoned "exam veteran" shows up with an oversized milkcrate on a rolling cart loaded with 20 or so different references, a thermos and travel mug of coffee, and a cushion for the hard seat. I suspected trouble right away. The "veteran" and the kid start a conversation and soon I heard the veteran say, between guffaws of laughter, "Don't worry about it! No one passes the first time and we'll see each other same place, same time next year!" He also mentioned it was his 9th attempt. I walked out of earshot and quietly hoped the kid would be smart enough to do the same.

My impression coming out of the exam was that aside from a ridiculous but still doable cogo problem, every question was quite fair. I was stressed in that I did not have time to go back and check my answers and thought I would need to score 70% or better.

During grading, I noted that the exam seemed to be getting progressively dumbed down year after year. That was particularly notable with the Description writing problem (some years it was writing, some interpreting - the interpreting tended to be a bit more complex and the writing grew to be absurdly simple). One year, the description problem was to write a strip description for a utility easement. Start at a monument, go in a straight line to a property boundary, being the POB, continue of the same line to the opposite property boundary, being the POT. Upon seeing this, I was dismayed that such a rudimentary problem would be on a professional level exam. To my thinking, it was a suitable 1st or 2nd week homework problem in a description writing class. My initial dismay was exceeded by that upon realizing that less than 1/3 of the examinees were able to earn at least 1/3 of the points for that ridiculously simple problem! Unfortunately, that was a pretty good indicator of how the full body of examinees did across the exam, and typical of each body of examinees year after year for the 4 or 5 years I graded the exam.

Next, and way more frustrating was Standard Setting, the process by which the team would decide how to weight the points of every question of the exam and set a cut score recommendation for the Board to accept. As we began considering each question, we were asked what percentage of minimally qualified licensed surveyors should be able to get this question right? For most of the questions I would answer 50% to 70%. On one I answered 90%. thinking I was making allowance for those who may have been sick while taking the exam, just lost a family member, or simply had a brain slip. The question was something along the lines of "You have discovered a material discrepancy during your survey. What document must you file?" (I don't recall if that was actually the question, but do know it was that simple and a straight regurgitation of something from the PLS act). Aside from the one person on the team who had never been on the Standards Setting team, they were all absolutely incensed with me.

I was in the process of learning that the Standards Setting process was not about ensuring that only competent surveyors be awarded licenses, but that the team be able to present a cut score that would result in a pass rate somewhere between the mid 20s and mid 30s percent, and come up with that score within the timeframe allotted for the Standards Setting exercise (16 hrs over a weekend). This is also when I learned that the cut score is typically set somewhere around 50%, sometimes more, often less. I believe that has been the unspoken policy ever since the 1997 exam when there was a less than 2% pass rate.

I've spoken to few people who had taken and failed the exam under the old (pre-multiple guess) format and passed under the all multiple-guess format. Invariably, they rated the all multiple guess as a much easier exam. IMO, while some multiple guess questions may be appropriate in a professional level exam, one made up entirely of that format is very inappropriate. Topic for a different thread.

The qualification/application process can and should be a very important and effective first step in protecting the public. With CA's very low bar for qualification, the tendency of many LSs to sign for those they do not believe are actually qualified (with the idea of "let the exam sort them out) and no mechanism for blowback on those signatories (i.e. you sign for 3 applicants who each fail 3 times, you retake the exam and/or pay for survey classes to be taken by those you signed for), and with no "good moral character" portion of the application process (good topic for debate in another thread), the application and qualifying process fails in its stated purpose of protecting the public.

The exam process, rather than being utilized to identify and address growing deficiencies in the examinee pool, is being used as a process to merely appear to fulfill a core responsibility of the Board. By progressively dumbing down the content, easing the format to one which inadequately tests the issue spotting, problem solving, and communications abilities of the examinees, and by massaging the cut score to fit a pass criteria while ignoring the actual fitness of the examinees, the exam fails in it's purpose of protecting the public.

The enforcement system also fails to protect the public in that there are many BPELSG "experts" who are barely competent to review some of the cases they review, or wholly incompetent to do so on some cases. There is no vetting to measure whether of not the "expert" actually possesses an expert level of knowledge in the areas of practice they claim expertise in. There appears to be no critical review of "experts'" reports before being used as the basis to issue citations, to issue charges to be heard at administrative hearing, or to clear a licensee of alleged violations. In the cases of certain licensees, there also appears to be a clear bias of assessing citation or of scrubbing actual violations with no action. When I last checked, there was no mandatory education for technical "experts" in how to properly interpret statutes or administrative code or how to differentiate one's own method of practice from a valid standard of practice. And many "experts" a sorely lacking in those areas of knowledge and judgment.

BPELSG did produce a manual for technical experts around 2010 or so, which was a good start. More that half of it was devoted to the administrative portions of the role, such as handling of materials and how to properly submit one's time and expenses. A fair portion was devoted to report format and a couple paragraphs were devoted to comparing the practice of the subject licensee to the applicable statutes or rules. When the head of the enforcement program was explaining portions of this manual and the duty of technical experts, it was clear that she was largely unfamiliar with the actual instructions contained in the manual as to the duties of experts.

As administered, the enforcement system is only at times effective in protecting the public, is inadequately staffed with actual experts, fails in assuring the expertise and proper training of its experts and is infected with enough corruption to actually harm members of the public.

Much of the failure of the enforcement system falls at the feet of BPELSG leadership, with a fair share rightfully pegged to those claiming expertise in areas where they have none. But not all of the blame can be placed within BPELSG.

While the qualifications of minimally competent licensees, and the results of proper practice can be legislated, the Standard of Care, and likewise the Standard of Practice cannot be effectively legislated or defined within the administrative rules. Administrative rules are written by the agency that they pertain to but are limited in that they can only go so far as to provide the means to administer the authorities outlined in statute.

It is not BPELSG's role to determine or develop the Standards of Care or Practice. It is BPELSG's role to recognize the standards developed and determined by the profession (and sometimes as recognized by the courts). It is the responsibility of the profession itself. BPELSG cannot be fully expected to effectively enforce what the profession refuses to define.

Again, if a supposed profession is to lazy, apathetic, cowardly or otherwise averse to promulgating appropriate standards, then it is not a profession and the practitioners of that trade should be ready to lose any recognition as professionals.

The way many surveyors act, as mere coordinate collectors and map makers, and with an aversion to try to set themselves apart from many unlicensed people who are equally qualified to collect coordinates and prepare presentable maps, there are licensees practicing today that will see the "professional" designation and license requirement legislated away. That threat rears its head in various states every year and with increasing frequency. If you look at other societal trends that tend to tear at the fabric of a well functioning society, you should readily recognize that this is not a statement born of wild conspiracy theory but a prediction that WILL come true if surveyors don't step up and show why they are and should continue to be a profession.

Someone asked (Mike?) if standards would be promulgated that would represent the ideal of practice... something to be aspired to, or the minimum required by law? Great question.

When I was speaking with a core group that I was able to get together for a short period about the time I was replaced with a less controversial person as PPC Chair, we spoke about identifying both. The Standards, at that point of discussion were basically going to be written according to what the minimum effort to ensure that boundaries are correctly determined given a reasonable effort. There were also going to be sections, clearly differentiated outlining extra steps that could be taken in extraordinary circumstances and very difficult boundary problems. So the minimum required to CYA if sued for or charged by BPELSG with negligence would be clearly stated, and the standard to aspire to in particularly difficult circumstances would be clearly identified as such.

If a set of standards were written without identifying multiple levels of effort, and there are very good arguments for that, the standard would need to be that which is minimally required.

Crazy Phil said it more succinctly than I, (then again, almost everyone says almost everything more succinctly than I) every survey you perform should be performed to ensure that you and it can withstand scrutiny in court. The question is, what is that level of effort? Some of us have read dozens of books and hundreds or even thousands of court cases that address that subject. Few are going to have the time or patience to do that much reading. The point of creating standards for the jurisdiction you practice in is to boil all of that many thousands of pages of info down to a few dozen pages, tailored for your jurisdiction (state) that outlines the minimum you need to do to meet that "cover yourself in court" level of effort. Not so coincidently, that CYA standard also protects the public and provides proper direction to the rogue BPELSG "experts" who don't know what they don't know.

It also provides a means for small office surveyors to measure their practice and large office surveyors a means to set standard operating procedures for their field and office staff. As the profession gets more consistent (slackers being more easily beaten into doing the minimum and overachievers continuing to be the most expensive), it reduces the need to compete against those who seem to continually get away with cutting corners.

As to standards for measurements, I agree that there are plenty of adequate references for that. The problem is that many, if not most survey operations have reduced this part of their job to simply collecting coordinates without employing the field procedures or office checks to ensure that those coordinates are better than GIS or even commercial navigation quality. The FLS should have rigorous testing on this and any standards promulgated by the profession should simply include a reference to "the latest edition of Caltrans Chapters __ & __ [or whatever other measurement related reference seems appropriate]". From my observations, proper measurement procedures is a major area where survey organizations blatantly fail to live up to any kind of professional standards. That's also a good topic for another thread.
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by Warren Smith »

Evan, my experience mirrors yours. As a party chief in the 70s (as an LSIT), I was brought into the office to become a Chief of Parties. This entailed working with the engineers, project managers, drafting department, as well as scheduling the crews and preparing research and pre-calcs. By the time I took the LS exam, the questions - most of which required an essay answer, just not as exhaustive as yours - seemed appropriate for what was my daily routine.

After licensure, I worked into being a project manager. It's in dealing with property owners, architects, title officers, Recorder's staff, map reviewers, fiscal personnel in the office, the drudge of preparing land descriptions for the typing pool (and the cross checking and revisions - ugh!), lot closures, control point adjustments, etc. that made the boundary determination itself rather enjoyable. Just another spoke in the wheel for ongoing development.

Once in the public sector, it became a matter of dealing with absolutely everything that comes in the door. It's quite rewarding if one develops a healthy mindset for assisting not just the major players, but the once in a lifetime homebuilders, and the inevitable "how to fix something that went off the rails years ago" situations.

The evolution of the license exam seems to have followed the NCEES model with a national portion. Not a bad idea. Now we get to the state specific exam. In the other states that I took the reciprocal exam, it was a matter of studying the statutes which govern subdivisions, water boundaries, and other unique regulatory schemata. A land surveyor is well versed in research, so it isn't such a high bar to achieve.

To the subject at hand: standards. I can agree that something along the lines of the ALTA/NSPS standards is a well honed model. As I recall, Jeff Lucas had some issues with such uniformity when it comes to application in a litigious situation. The concept of graduated standards - much like the urban, suburban, and rural distinctions may be called for. Perusing appellate decisions in other states which reference standards in the respective jurisdictions would go a long way to determining what pitfalls may arise.
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by LS_8750 »

That would be an interesting topic for a CLSA article Warren.

Speaking of the ALTA/NSPS standards:

I'm looking at a 2022 ALTA plat for a 13 acre parcel in an urban setting fronting a state highway, a four lane city street, and privately owned tide lands.
Not a single monument noted as found on the map. 50 scale. Cannot decipher occupation details from the PL line.

Firm out of OC. Definitely in the bulls eye zone but not a bulls eye outfit.

I can't retrace the map, but I can guarantee that from the records I can walk right up on quite a few monuments and other pertinent items of fact that are not shown on the ALTA map.

How am I to know that the survey was "established and/or retraced in accordance with appropriate boundary law principles governed by the set of facts and evidence found in the course of performing the research and fieldwork.." per Item 3.D of the 2021 Standards?
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by DWoolley »

LS_8750 wrote: Tue May 14, 2024 3:00 pm ...
Firm out of OC. Definitely in the bulls eye zone but not a bulls eye outfit.
...
Must be a "when in Rome" thing.

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by DWoolley »

As to standards, I meet regularly with folks to discuss building a sustainable path forward for the profession.

Plainly stated, I am out of ideas. Within the circle, nobody has been able to come up with a new approach to securing the future of the land surveyor.

I think we have run out of time in some aspects.

Construction Related Work
The land surveyors will not wrestle the staking or construction related work out of the hands of the trades or the trade unions (particularly the carpenters and laborers). I have personally witnessed the carpenters and laborers unions simply kick Operating Engineers, Local 12, around like a mangy dog. Signatory owners to OE12 have condoned OE12 dispatching their former employees to contractors directly. The contractors business model no longer accommodates hiring land surveying companies/professionals. The JAC apprenticeship training was good, ah, back in 1995. There is little need for two semesters of triangle solutions today. I told them this in 1999. Last time I checked, they still use the green apprentice evaluation forms circa 1980 or so.

Topography
The topography will be available off the shelf and/or performed by unlicensed technical folks. The County of Los Angeles contracts to have LiDAR information collected countywide. The information will become publicly available - if it is not already. The drones no longer need ground control. For less than $10k anyone can buy a drone with RTK capabilities that will produce 0.15' relative accuracy. The flights take less than an hour of total flight time - this would include a couple of ground truthing measurements and measuring a couple of monuments - anyone can do it the same way many professionals have chosen to practice - "capitalism", I suppose. Unlicensed folks simply need to add a note "This work product was not performed...unsuitable for construction...is not a real boundary..." - that ought to take care it. The orthophotos are automated due to the RTK. There are folks in India that will map the work for practically nothing. Please do not waste the key strokes telling me how bad the work product is from India, nobody cares. If you have building interiors and exteriors i.e. digital twins anyone with an iPhone can map it. There are not many surveyors in this space and there will be fewer in the future. Remember the early days of GIS when surveyors said the work had to be done by licensed surveyors? Redux.

Boundary
Much of that boundary work, particularly within the Bullseye, is little more than GIS style mapping of record data anchored on a monument or two. Collectively, we do not want to set monuments or file maps - leaving the door open for the engineers and architects to hire the Crownholms of the world. What do you think Crownholm is doing today? Site plans. How do you think he set his prices? Based on his many, many competitors (none of which were land surveyors at $150 per plan). This leaves us with real right of way and boundary work - one nut divided among several squirrels. Run, don't walk, to the nearest public agency if you need this gig to last more than the next 10 years. Don't cry for me or mine, we'll be ok.

Standards
We do not want standards, but we are willing to waste time creating meaningless words on paper.

If the land surveyors are not doing construction, topography, and fighting to split the boundary with the GIS type boundary scofflaws. What exactly will they be doing? Complaining, sure.

Please park the tired canard the unlicensed folks will make monumental errors and come running back to the professionals with their tail between their legs. That is not true and it sounds ignorant when stated aloud.

I welcome any counter perspectives and especially, any new ideas.

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by E_Page »

Not much if any comment on the model of creating standards I described, which I believe to be the only workable way.

I give up, california is lost. Not sure there's even a sufficient remnant there to maintain actual professional status. For the few who hold out hope. good luck. Maybe you can continue to pretend in the existence of standards by continuing to misapply snippets of the Robillard (formerly, Brown) books out of context and pretend they are the basis of some semblance of standards

Idaho, Utah and a few other states have put forth sensible standards. I'll help keep Idaho standards up to date.
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by DWoolley »

E_Page wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 10:57 am Not much if any comment on the model of creating standards I described, which I believe to be the only workable way.

I give up, california is lost. Not sure there's even a sufficient remnant there to maintain actual professional status. For the few who hold out hope. good luck. Maybe you can continue to pretend in the existence of standards by continuing to misapply snippets of the Robillard (formerly, Brown) books out of context and pretend they are the basis of some semblance of standards

Idaho, Utah and a few other states have put forth sensible standards. I'll help keep Idaho standards up to date.
I have a lot of respect for Evan Page. He has made me a better land surveyor. His pragmatism is a big part of that respect. Well stated, old friend.

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by Mike Mueller »

E_Page wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 10:57 am Not much if any comment on the model of creating standards I described, which I believe to be the only workable way.

I give up, california is lost. Not sure there's even a sufficient remnant there to maintain actual professional status. For the few who hold out hope. good luck. Maybe you can continue to pretend in the existence of standards by continuing to misapply snippets of the Robillard (formerly, Brown) books out of context and pretend they are the basis of some semblance of standards

Idaho, Utah and a few other states have put forth sensible standards. I'll help keep Idaho standards up to date.
Mr. Page,

I think a few days of rumination doesn't signal apathy and woe? One of the nice features of this forum is that it lets folks read and comment at their leisure.

To your point about the model of creating standards, why does it have to be that complete of an endeavor? Most change is incremental, so why are we trying to eat the whole elephant in one meal? Trying to tell folks how to resolve a boundary or conduct research is nearly impossible to create anything useful that isn't a club for the star chamber. Crazy Phil could write a great standard for research in Sonoma, but would it be useful for Orange County? Could Dave write a research guide that isn't riddled with scorn for anything pertinent in the area he likes to call the Benson Bullseye? Anything that meets in the middle there would be a set of platitudes, that would just cause more debate about what various terms mean for various locales.

As I mentioned above, wouldn't it be a step in the right direction (and a smaller bite of the elephant) to have an official CLSA position/explanation on the 10 most mis-construed or ignored parts of the PLSA? Once the 10 positions/explanations are out there and referenced/used for a bit, it would build trust in CLSA taking a position on such thorny issues. Even that small of a bite would likely cause consternation and gnashing of teeth in a portion of the licensed population.

Those of you who are pro standards, what is wrong with a smaller step? Is it concern that once that step is taken it will use up all the pent up pressure and the whole elephant won't get eaten? Considering the apathy and stated hopelessness of some, why get in the way of the smaller step?

The other solution that I would like to put forth again is lower quality options like the "Record Site Plan for Application" spelled out in the law. For anyone who asks why would it help, I would ask if you have used the Corner Record, and is it a useful tool? As debated and pointed out above, we have the option to prepare such low quality site plans now. However, without a formal way to distinguish a quality topo based on a good boundary resolution and a GIS map it has been left in the hands of the individual to come up with something that attempts to make that distinction. Isn't the whole point of this standards discussion to come up with some very low bar standards that 85% are already doing? Wouldn't that sort of distinction allow us to write a contract that would spell it out? Why do so many architects and engineers like to ask for ALTA/NSPS map when they are not involved in title insurance? Because all the deliverables are actually pertinent to the job they want a map for? Or because they are easy to reference and a consistent work product is provided.

When a prospective client calls up and says they can go here https://www.24hplans.com/ and get a "siteplan" in 1 day, for $99, having some defined work products to help them understand the difference and feel like they have a middle option between the $99 and the several thousand dollar quality topo is nice. It lets me at least have two hammers in my tool bag, rather than try and do every nailing job with a single jack.

For those that despise the GIS siteplan, have you gotten a permit for yourself lately? Anyone build their own home recently? When I did in 2017 I used a designer friend who was 25% the cost of a typical licensed architect to make my plans sufficient for a permit. How can I complain about normal people using a cheaper siteplan when I did basically the same thing due to budget constraints? They are not breaking the law, they are just saving precious money.

If the topo map market share is going away anyway in your opinion, then lets open up the law so that we can compete. For those that were around in 2008, it sure looks like thats what was done already. Compare the 2007 PLSA 8762:

After making a survey in conformity with the practice of land surveying, the licensed land surveyor or registered civil engineer SHALL file with the county surveyor in the county in which the survey was made a record of the survey relating to land boundaries or property lines, if the survey discloses any of the following:.

and the 2008

Notwithstanding subdivision (a), after making a field survey in conformity with the practice of land surveying, the licensed land surveyor or licensed civil engineer shall file with the county surveyor in the county in which the field survey was made a record of the survey relating to land boundaries or property lines, if the field survey discloses any of the following:


From my point of view, that was clearly a response to GIS and a loosening of the standards to let a distinction be made between a field survey and not a field survey. What the heck is a non field survey anyways? Sure would be nifty if we had some sort of standard defining that :)

So it was done for the Corner Record and it was done for "field surveys", why not be flexible again and adapt to the changing world?

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by E_Page »

Sorry Mikey,

From my perspective, this conversation has been going on for a couple of decades, and that after a couple of decades of watching surveyors complain about what their competitors aren't doing that they supposedly should be doing or doing what they shouldn't.

Surveyors like to complain about other surveyors methods, but very few seem to be inclined to actually do anything about the underlying problems. These days, there seems to be more who are afraid that their work won't measure up to any objectively reasonable standards and so are more resistant than at any time in the past.

One can really see it when it comes to appropriate measurements. The majority of the profession used to hold a level of derision for those who did not perform closed traverses and at least check closures to ensure their measurements were good. These days, enough LSs lack understanding of GPS enough that they give the equipment to their unlicensed chiefs and then remain satisfied as long as the field crew is able to bring in enough coordinates to produce a map without doing anything to ensure that the coordinates are any good. Many think that breaking the signal and taking a second shot is the same as making an independent measurement. Actually, it's little different than hitting the distance button on your total station a 2nd time, or picking up a tape and then setting it back down on the same two points to read the distance a 2nd time. Most surveyors use this method to collect coordinates on monuments with methods that are like taking a topo shot and then taking a second shot on the same topo shot.

Even worse, most surveyors have no idea why this procedure does not produce an independent measurement and how it puts them on par with their predecessors who didn't close traverses. Many of the field crews (and many LSs) think that if they have trouble getting signal in a wooded area think that the solution is to move a few yards to a more open area then run back and get the shot before losing lock.

When we're dealing with that level of ignorance, how do you get surveyors to accept that research beyond the most recent deed for the subject property and a couple of the most recent maps in the vicinity is not adequate? Or that they should actually look for original redwood hubs or stone monuments if the corners haven't been perpetuated by something newer and metal?

Some think that we should rely on BPELSG enforcement orders and opinions. Well, BPELS repealed all of their opinions several years ago and has declared only 1 case as precedential but only as to one simple aspect of the case. Why? They don't want to be accountable to being consistent in their rulings and enforcement.

Even little steps like you describe will be met with a surprising amount of resistance. Go ahead and try to lead or support the charge for such things. I would be very surprised and actually quite pleased if you are successful. What I expect is that you will try for a few years and come to understand the attitude and pessimism Dave and I have developed. Go back into the archives of this forum 15 years or so and you will find that I was who you are now.

Look up the standards from the Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors, the Utah Council of Land Surveyors and a few other state societies. Decide if you think they are good, go overboard, or are meaningless. The point I'd take from looking them up is that the CLSA doesn't need to start from scratch or see the exercise as a nearly impossible task of creating standards from scratch. But the surveyors of CLSA will continue to see it as an impossible and undesirable task.
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by Mike Mueller »

E_Page wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 2:29 pm Go ahead and try to lead or support the charge for such things.
I generally see the role of leading such changes belonging to the less than 7000 LS number crowd. I am not trying to duck the responsibility, more that I have seen a general trend of respect for our elders within our community. While I feel old at 43, I am frequently working alongside folks who have literally been surveying longer than I have been alive. That respect of elders is both good and bad, as communities with strong respect for elders and experience generally are slower to embrace change.
E_Page wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 2:29 pm Even little steps like you describe will be met with a surprising amount of resistance. Go ahead and try to lead or support the charge for such things. I would be very surprised and actually quite pleased if you are successful. What I expect is that you will try for a few years and come to understand the attitude and pessimism Dave and I have developed. Go back into the archives of this forum 15 years or so and you will find that I was who you are now.
I have watched the pessimism grow and perhaps will share it at some point too. That growing pessimism is one of the reasons I am speaking up more frequently, as I often think of groups like a soup. If you start getting too many bitter ingredients, it kinda spoils the whole soup.

To your point about how this is a repeat, I think things have changed in the last 15 years. Both good and bad. Good = Consider the demographics that James crunched for us. There are more engineers who can survey than surveyors. As that ratio changes, I would expect fewer two point tangos. Bad= Smaller crews means less mentorship, better tools means less skill based barriers for market entry.

One of the better changes has been the increasing use of notes, explanations and references, at least in my experience. Most maps pre 1970 that I have come across did not have a reference list, and few notes about how they did stuff. Nowadays if I do not see a reference list and record measurements shown I am looking to see who would do such silliness. I would bet the higher the LS number the greater the support for a survey narrative and more notes and information.

To me this is a sign that there is growing acceptance of a higher quality of work, but like with all paradigm shifts, it generally requires the passing of those that oppose it, rather than convincing them to change... Its why I think a smaller bite would be easier to stomach. Perhaps it should be phrased as a guide to avoid Board complaints. Its not a standard per say, just a useful way to avoid getting in trouble :)


E_Page wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 2:29 pm Look up the standards from the Idaho Society of Professional Land Surveyors, the Utah Council of Land Surveyors and a few other state societies. Decide if you think they are good, go overboard, or are meaningless. The point I'd take from looking them up is that the CLSA doesn't need to start from scratch or see the exercise as a nearly impossible task of creating standards from scratch. But the surveyors of CLSA will continue to see it as an impossible and undesirable task.
I do not want to get off the rails too much, but I think you nailed the main reluctance earlier with the star chamber. Surveyors who I respect for doing good work, who have dedicated countless hours to the community are concerned with how such a bat would be wielded. The actual creation of such a document is not what is holding us back.

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by hellsangle »

Thanks, Evan!

I looked at your cited standards of practice and feel they aren't that bad. Appropriate "shalls", "shoulds" & "mays" abound in those standards.

This ol' fart (74) wouldn't have a problem with these standards. It's the way we've been taught and the way we try to practice.

They've already been written, so why reinvent the wheel?

Crazy ol' Phil again
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by CBarrett »

Pessimism is a choice.
Changes that some of us take several generations to implement. After all it took several generations to get here.

As mentioned earlier, we also have a cultural problem. Some of the people vying for change don't realize that in their own attitudes they dobt know how to bring that change about. Leading people into change is tricky.

When leaders get pessimistic and negative, chances of change evaporate.

Standards of care are typically an educational tool. Weeding the field is usually just a normal periodic maintenance activity. Like your lawn, you nurture and grow it, an weed the rough spots. Overall result is a nice lawn.
Weeds will always grow, lawn will always require a variety of maintenance activities to be in optimum shape.
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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by Mike Mueller »

CBarrett wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 9:16 pm Weeds will always grow, lawn will always require a variety of maintenance activities to be in optimum shape.
I agree, but I think if you condense the general belief expressed above, we are struggling to determine what is a weed. My dad used to love crabgrass lawns, since the rabbits and chickens could never kill it :)

I agree with Phil that we don't need standards on measurement. Practically we cannot prepare and agree on a published standard of boundary retracement that isn't just a rehash of Browns earlier works.

It seems like the content shown on the various documents is the sweet spot where an official standard would both have an effect and still empower judgement and allow for local flavor. For example the CEAC guide on how to prepare a RoS. I personally think it is a little too inflexible, but I think that is in part due to the nature of what it was going for IE a flowchart for a mapchecker, not a guide for a professional.

What about if monuments were required to be shown on all survey work documents or a statement that said no monuments were searched for or found? Simple things like that would have the effect Dave is looking for of providing a clear and easy distinction for the client and agencies, while still letting folks do GIS site plans where appropriate. It would just help create a distinction and let map checkers and others ask a very specific question to the author of an ALTA/NSPS map or topo or improvement plans.

Make that sort of statement part of the record only site plan outline, something like: If no monuments are shown on a graphical document that has a surveyor's stamp or signature, the map shall be considered a "record only siteplan" and need to show the following elements:
blah
blah
etc
etc

I agree that weeding should only be a part of the work done for a lawn, but it is still a very important part even if its a only a small percentage of the total effort, but from my understanding of the situation the surveying community is still debating if crabgrass is weed :)

I hope you add more to this conversation Connie, I always appreciate your POV :)

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Re: Standards of Care - Standards of Practice

Post by CBarrett »

I am on a process of collecting a variety of standards that exist, and might be relevant to us, once I feed them all to AI to summarize and simplify, I will try to come up with a proposal, probably with accuracy standards and classifications first, and then we could talk about standards of practice.

But different methodologies of analysis may also play in resultant accuracies of the final survey, and thus create standards of practice.

the result would not be "this is what you must do to call something a boundary survey", but it would be "this boundary survey adheres to: "C, D and E" standard... and then you can open the book defining standards and see that "E" is good for Tax Assessor Maps, "D" night be good for planing and tentative mapping, "C" is good for rural subdivisions (I'm just shooting from the hip on classifications here).

Or maybe a municipal agency will have a cheat sheet that tells them "To permit construction within 20 feet of the property line in urban areas, "Class C or better" survey is required.

That way you are not forcing anyone to adhere to a specific standard, but you are giving them a mechanism to declare which standard was used for their map. Same for maybe Site plans etc.

Cause and effect. Need and selecting an appropriate product to serve client's needs. When I try to summarize a lot of our back and forth "what surveying, or what a boundary survey should be, and all the different reasons people may want or need a boundary survey, I come to a conclusion is that by a "BOUNDARY SURVEY" we painted ourselves into a one size fits all situation, and practice and squabbles tell us that one size clearly doesn't fit all.

Also, our predecessors have allowed room for professional judgement precisely because one size doesn't fit all. The unintended consequences of that approach is that it has a vulnerability where inadequate practices are difficult to identify and discourage. If we back off rom one size fits all thinking, it becomes much more clear that some sort of a classification system is needed.

Classification systems in surveying are also not a novel idea, nor are they foreign to our related disciplines. Geodetic surveying, SUE, Engineering... even plumbers have classifications... Schedule 40 PVS comes to mind etc etc...

Create a classifications roster and obligate the surveyor of record to declare the classification. It will also make it easy for the consumer. Sure, to put a tiny pool on a 3 acre property which will be 200 feet away from any PL's or zoning setbacks, a Class "D" survey will be affordable and acceptable to the agency, but if you get in a PL dispute with your neighbor over 20 feet of your PL, you will need a Class "A" boundary determination to (mediate, go to court or whatever). If you are recording a Tract Map, class A may be required. If you are doing preliminary planning for a solar panel array in Tehachapi, Class E may be quite sufficient.... No-one is forced to survey against good local practices, and buyer is informed and aware of the product they are getting.

Noone ends up buying a one size fits all wetsuit for $90 and on the first day of vacation realizes angrily that what they really needed was a custom made $600 XXXL, instead of small child springsuit. These classifications exist all around us, but we insist that a Boundary Survey, or a Site plan is a one size fits all. It isn't. Just look at it from a little different angle.
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