"ALTA" stands for American Land Title Association.
An ALTA Survey is completed based on the "Minimum Standard Detail Requirements and Accuracy Standards For ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys." ALTA Surveys are generally used on commercial or multi-family residential sites.
The ALTA standards were developed by the Title and Surveying Industry to provide a common set of standards throughout the Country to provided a consistent survey no matter what State the work is done in. While States have their own surveying standards, they vary widely from one state to the other. So, the ALTA standard is used to cut down on this variation.
An ALTA Land Survey is generally similar to a boundary or lot survey on a piece of property, as it will be prepared to the state standards. But the ALTA survey goes a little farther in the requirements depending on which items are checked in the "Table A - Optional Survey Responsibilities and Specifications." This table adds additional or specific tasks to the surveyor's scope of work.
Costs for preparing ALTA surveys vary depending on the size, complexity, and scope of work of the project. In order to provide an accurate estimate, the client will need to fill out the Table A items and furnish a copy of the Title Commitment.
If you have a commercial parcel or a large multi-family residential complex, you should consider asking for the ALTA survey standards to be used. You should also do this if you are considering the purchase or development of a parcel outside your state. Most banks will require this if you ask for a loan on this type property, but we recommend this even if the bank doesn't require it, as it will you give you a clear and complete picture of encumbrances on the property.
The latest revision of the ALTA standards can be found here: