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Survey monuments in unincorporated King County

Surveyors, recent and from the past.

Different shapes, sizes, and materials

A survey monument can control the location of private or public property lines. Many monuments are referred to in property deeds and unless protected, could result in unnecessary costs to the landowner. It is important to be able to identify and protect survey monuments. Every survey of a conveyance of land must start from evidence that proves the position of at least two survey monuments are somehow related to the written record. It is important to understand that only original monuments control a conveyance location. In resurveying a tract of land according to a former plat or survey, the surveyor's function is to relocate, upon the best available evidence, the corners and lines at the same place originally located. In some cases disputed lines will follow if a monument has been disturbed.

A monument size can range from a small tack in a lead plug in concrete to a large house size boulder, a 200- year old Douglas Fir tree, the center of a river, or the crest of a mountain range. Monuments can be either a natural material or man made.

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Survey Monument Repair Form

December 2023 - The Survey Monument Repair Form is currently offline for updates. To request a copy of the form, please send us an email. Thank you.

RCW 58.09.120 Monuments — requirements

Any monument set by a land surveyor to mark or reference a point on a property or land line shall be permanently marked or tagged with the certificate number of the land surveyor setting it. If a public officer sets the monument, it shall be marked by an appropriate official designation.

Monuments set by a land surveyor shall be sufficient in number and durability and shall be efficiently placed so as not to be readily disturbed in order to assure, together with monuments already existing, the perpetuation or reestablishment of any point or line of a survey. [1973 c 50 § 12.]

Looking up a Professional Land Surveyors number. WAC 332-130-030 

Monument protection laws

What is monument destruction?

WAC 332-120-020   Definitions.  The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:

Removal or destruction: The physical disturbance or covering of a monument such that the survey point is no longer visible or readily accessible.

Who is responsible to protect monuments?

WAC 332-120-030   Applicability.  (1) No survey monument shall be removed or destroyed before a permit is obtained as required by this chapter.

(2) Any person, corporation, association, department, or subdivision of the state, county or municipality responsible for an activity that may cause a survey monument to be removed or destroyed shall be responsible for ensuring that the original survey point is perpetuated. It shall be the responsibility of the governmental agency or others performing construction work or other activity (including road or street resurfacing projects) to adequately search the records and the physical area of the proposed construction work or other activity for the purpose of locating and referencing any known or existing survey monuments.

To learn more visit the Washington Administrative Code website.

What about monuments disturbed during construction activities?

RCW 58.09.130 Monuments disturbed by construction activities -- Procedure -- Requirements. When adequate records exist as to the location of subdivision, tract, street, or highway monuments, such monuments shall be located and referenced by or under the direction of a land surveyor at the time when streets or highways are reconstructed or relocated, or when other construction or activity affects their perpetuation. Whenever practical a suitable monument shall be reset in the surface of the new construction. In all other cases permanent witness monuments shall be set to perpetuate the location of preexisting monuments. Additionally, sufficient controlling monuments shall be retained or replaced in their original positions to enable land lines, property corners, elevations and tract boundaries to be reestablished without requiring surveys originating from monuments other than the ones disturbed by the current construction or activity.

It shall be the responsibility of the governmental agency or others performing construction work or other activity to provide for the monumentation required by this section. It shall be the duty of every land surveyor to cooperate with such governmental agency or other person in matters of maps, field notes, and other pertinent records. Monuments set to mark the limiting lines of highways, roads, or streets shall not be deemed adequate for this purpose unless specifically noted on the records of the improvement works with direct ties in bearing or azimuth and distance between those and other monuments of record. [1973 c 50 § 13.]

To learn more visit the Revised Code of Washington website.