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What You Should Know When Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors about
Your Business Expansion 

Changes in your business can lead you to consider new facilities or expansion of existing facilities. The process of developing a new site or expanding an existing site is called site planning. This article is intended as an overview of how design professionals can interact with you to simplify and speed up the site planning process. It is not meant to be a road map for your situation, as every business has different needs, and each site is different. Think of this as an introduction to the services offered by consulting engineers and land surveyors, and how you can use these services to plan for your site development.  

Land Surveys:

Any plan for business location or expansion should begin with land boundary information. This information is critical in order to properly site improvements such as buildings and additions, parking spots, access and deceleration zones, utility connections, and signs. A land survey is the process of finding, identifying, measuring and reporting the location of a particular parcel of land and the associated rights that run with the parcel. Land surveys are performed by people licensed by the state in which the survey is to be performed. Any plan which depicts lines of ownership (such as property lines), measurements related to land area (such as lot size), jurisdictional boundaries (such as town lines or wetlands lines and buffers), or setbacks from property lines must be stamped by a licensed land surveyor in order to be valid.

Most properties have been surveyed before, although a survey that is 20 years old should be updated. So where do you look for information about prior surveys? The current deed description is a good place to begin your search for information about your parcel boundaries. Are the boundaries described comprar viagra madrid by "metes and bounds," such as bearings and distances to monuments at the corners? Does the deed just describe a parcel bounded by four names that you do not recognize? Is there a plan or prior survey referenced in the deed? Even if there is no mention of a survey in your deed, land adjoining you may have been surveyed. A land surveyor will find all the facts about your parcel of land by researching records, finding evidence on the ground, measuring the location of any improvements, and calculating the relationship between the written words and the location of these words on the ground. A survey is simply the process of locating a parcel described in a deed and placing the parcel on the face of the earth. A good survey provides you with markers on the ground and a plan showing all the information revealed in the surveying process.

The parcel boundary is just the beginning of a search into the suitability of a parcel for your business needs. A survey will show jurisdictional boundaries such as zoning districts, overlay zones, rights of way to and across the parcel, and easements and encroachments. To sum up, a survey shows the "bundle of rights" associated with the particular parcel whether the right is specified by a deed, or the right is due to the parcel's location. The survey could be expanded to include information about the physical features of a parcel. Is the parcel flat or is it a steep slope? Are there wetlands on the parcel? Is the parcel served by utilities?

To determine which surveyor is the best choice for your project, use the following guidelines, or the QBS process as outlined later in this article. Choose a land surveyor based on that person's ability to perform the type of survey you need. Does the surveyor have experience with waterfront property for example? Local surveyors are usually more familiar with general patterns of historical land development and local past surveying practices. Decide what information you think is ultimately needed before you contract for the survey. This can save you money in the long run as the surveyor can concentrate on collecting all the necessary data. The more specific you are about your desires for use of the property, the more accurate the estimate of work will be. Ask about membership in professional associations and continuing education.

Visit the “Get A Quote” Section of the Ambit Engineering web site, fill out some information and we will provide you with a free quotation to perform your survey work. 

Site Plans:

The Site Plan is a plan showing the location of existing and proposed site improvements. It is the most important tool for your business location or expansion. Site plans are required by most municipalities and towns as a part of the building or land use permitting process. The site plan defines the interaction between the public and your business that will be created by construction or use on the property. The site plan allows for orderly and efficient planning to bring together all the utility and infrastructure components necessary to service a business. The site plan allows for the design of the most cost effective means of meeting the local building code, zoning regulations, and environmental standards required to obtain approval to locate or expand your business on a parcel of land. A properly planned site is one that combines your business needs now and in the future with the resources available on a given parcel of land.

Site plans are prepared by licensed consultants (usually civil engineers) and approval by Local, State, and even Federal Regulatory agencies is often required. Sometimes groups of specialized professionals work together on larger projects that will have a significant impact on traffic, air or water quality, ground water flow, or wetlands. A good site plan begins with a land survey. The plan details will work best when you begin with an accurate base map. The first step in deciding about the required site planning for your business location or expansion may be to meet with the local city or town official that deals with the process of site plan approval. This will give you a good idea of what items need to be submitted with your application, and what expertise or licenses will be required. The next step is to determine who you will hire to help you turn your desires into a workable plan. One of the ways to accomplish this is by Qualifications-Based Selection or QBS. QBS is a process which provides a fair and rational procedure to enable you to obtain professional design services at a fair and reasonable cost. The process consists of a simple four step procedure. First, prepare a request for qualifications that contains a project description and preliminary permit requirements. Second, review materials submitted in response to the first step and choose which firms or individuals you want to interview. Third, interview the firms or individuals to discuss experience, budget, and project approach. Fourth, select the firm or individual you feel is most qualified to get the job done within the budget presented and negotiate a contract with that firm or individual. Your selection of a firm or individual should consider the following factors; trust, experience, project approach, responsiveness, scheduling, communication skills, design excellence, and other appropriate issues. Remember that the long term success of your business expansion or relocation depends on getting a site developed in a way that meets your long term vision for your business. So take your time, think it through, and be specific about your needs.

Ambit Engineering would be happy to provide you with a free consultation when you are planning your next project.

Contact Us

Ambit Engineering, Inc.
200 Griffin Road, Unit 3
Portsmouth, NH  03801

telephone 603-430-9282
fax 603-436-2315

Ambit Engineering's Services
Civil Engineering
Land Surveying
Land Use Consulting
Septic System Design
Regulatory Permitting


John Chagnon of Ambit Engineering was recently presented with 2 Map Contest Awards from the New Hampshire Land Surveyors Association (NHLSA) at the Association Annual meeting held in Concord, New Hampshire. The Map Awards were for maps submitted in the Color Presentation Map and Subdivision Plat categories for recently completed projects in Portsmouth and Greenland, New Hampshire. The plans were drafted by John Easter and Alan Marshall, Ambit employees. The NHLSA Map Contest is an annual event with submissions from New Hampshire Land Surveyors across the state. Ambit Engineering previously had winning maps in the 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006 contests. The winning maps are presented to the UNH Thompson School of Applied Science, Berlin Voc-Tech and New England College for classroom use in their respective surveying curricula.


Ambit Engineering, Inc. recently assisted 3S Artspace with Planning Board Site Plan and Conditional Use Permit Approvals for their proposed facility at 319 Vaughan Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 3S is planning a major renovation at this existing commercial building that will include a Gallery / Exhibit Hall, Performance Space, Artist Studios as well as a Farm-to-Table Restaurant. Recognizing the importance of the Arts to the vitality of Portsmouth and as an extension of Ambit’s commitment to outreach within the community Ambit provided Land Surveying and Civil Engineering services Pro – Bono to 3S Artspace. Ambit President John Chagnon was honored to be chosen to represent 3S throughout the permit process.


John Chagnon of Ambit Engineering was presented with a Presidential Citation from National Society of Professional Surveyors president Joseph M. Dolan at the annual awards ceremony held in St. Louis Missouri. The citation was awarded “in recognition of dedication and outstanding achievement for his efforts on the Trig Star program, on behalf of The National Society of Professional Surveyors”. Trig-Star is a competition sponsored by Land Surveyors throughout the country to determine the most highly skilled high school students in the USA at the practical application of trigonometry. The contest is sponsored nationally by the National Society of Professional Surveyors. In addition to serving on the NSPS Committee for Trig Star John has sponsored the Trig Star contest at Portsmouth High School and has coordinated the New Hampshire Land Surveyors State Trig Star Contest for 23 years. More information about the contest is available on the NSPS web site at: