THE IMPORTANCE OF A TITLE PEG.
Your builder’s jumping up and down about making sure all the title pegs (or boundary pegs) are in place before they mark out the new build, and you’re wondering what on earth the fuss is all about – it’s my land and the fences are my boundaries, you’re saying, isn’t that correct?
Well, not necessarily. In fact, it’s often not the case in older well established suburbs or rural land.
So what is a title peg anyway? And what’s the importance of it? Ok, let’s start at the beginning for a quick history lesson.
Many moons ago when they started carving up land, any old marker was used to try and designate the boundaries. And it was mayhem – who believed who as to what marker was legitimate and what marker had been put there to try and steal some more land off the neighbour or government. So over time, laws were introduced to create some form of consistency in the way boundaries were marked out and the survey peg or title peg as it’s sometimes called slowly came into existence.
Physically, it’s a piece of hardwood between 200mm to 400mm long, and is generally square, about 40mm X 40mm, with the top edges of the peg chamfered, and the top part of it is painted white, and the base tapered into quite a long sharp point. There are also some steel disc types that are used in specific situations but we’re not on that point today, and there are also rectangular pegs as well.
And these pegs are hammered into the ground at the corners or junctions of the property boundaries. Pretty straightforward. But where it gets interesting is who puts these in or more to the point who can’t put them in. Only a licensed land surveyor can bang these pegs in. End of story. It’s actually illegal for anyone else to put them in – they can actually be sued in certain situations.
This shows how important these pegs are – the only legal way they can exist at the boundary corners is for a licensed professional land surveyor to come along and put them in.
So how do they do it? With a hammer probably. No, jokes aside, they don’t just waltz up, sight down the old fence and say that looks about right and bang it in. They use highly calibrated equipment to establish reference points from elsewhere in the neighbourhood. They also use satellite references and other global positioning systems. Sometimes they’ll even set up their equipment a couple of streets away to make sure their reference points are correct, it’s that millimetre-critical. Cross-referencing, double-checking, allowing for the slope of the land, working around trees, stumps and even old pits, they won’t change the correct spot for anything.
So when they actually get to place a peg, it’s absolutely whisker-perfect, make no mistake about it.
So they drive this peg down to ground level. In fact, you should be able to mow over it. And then they’ll often place an indicator peg near it. This is like a tomato stake with a white top, often with a pink flag on it. This indicator peg helps you to locate the real thing because a survey peg can often get buried by dust and dirt and foliage over the years. Of course, indicator pegs often get tossed away or fall out, but not a title peg.
Sometimes the peg lands right where there is an existing fence of similar, and the surveyor then uses a classic old galvanised roofing nail to mark the spot, with an indicator peg nearby to identify it. When this is initially done, it’s often sprayed in pink and it’s a good idea to get a few photos of this to show the original setup, because as the years go by, an old roofing nail sometimes doesn’t look too convincing to some people.
So a title peg is important. Really important. Imagine building a house that had a boundary wall that ended up in your neighbours property.
Because of the accuracy of the location of these pegs, they are heavily relied on by builders, council inspectors, real estate agents, conveyancers, and many other organisations that get involved with homes, land, building etc.
So a title peg is important. Really important. Imagine building a house that had a boundary wall that ended up in your neighbours property. It would be hard to find the words to describe the ensuing bun-fight! Or end up building too close to a boundary and have to make significant changes to meet residential code laws. The list goes on.
And what’s just as important is that they get left alone. Don’t ever pull a survey peg out – could have nasty implications. And if you do, please don’t attempt to bang it back in yourself – far more nasty implications. One of the most common occurrences we see of title pegs being removed is when new fencing is put in on newly subdivided land. This is a no-no – the fencing is not as important as the title peg and must work around it.
So back to the dancing builder we talked about at the start – you have to admit that he’s got a point. A builder works from existing title pegs – he can’t put them in. So if they’re not there, it’s like trying to drive at the speed limit without a speedo – you really don’t know where you are, and you can get stung.
If you’re buying land, make sure the survey pegs are there, and if they’re not, insist that they’re re-established before you take ownership. The technical name for this service is a redefinition, but it’s also sometimes called a repeg. And if you’ve owned land for a long time and are now wanting to build, or even a knockdown rebuild, then call in a surveyor to make sure it’s all tickety-boo – better to start at the right point than end up on the wrong side of your neighbour!
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