The new American Land Title Association (ALTA)/National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) Standards officially went into effect on Feb. 23 — which means all ALTA surveys prepared in connection with contracts executed on or after that date must comport with the new 2021 Standards.

For the uninitiated, ALTA/NSPS survey standards were originally designed for users in the title insurance industry. However, the surveys have grown to become a thorough representation of an existing property and are now used by nearly all involved parties in a commercial transaction.

The complete and comprehensive can be viewed online, but here are a few things of note to point you in the right direction: 

Standard Sections

The 2021 ALTA/NSPS Land Title standards still have eight sections — plus a separate Table A section on optional survey responsibilities and specifications. 

Major Revisions 

The major revisions to the standards can mostly be found in sections 3, 4, 5 and 6. Section 3 addresses definitions, and section 4 is the “Records Research” section. Section 5 deals with specific features that should be located during the surveyor’s fieldwork, and Section 6 details related notes the surveyor should include on the plat or map.

Changes to Table A

The most significant changes to Table A are the removal of the wetlands item and the revision of the underground utilities item. Although the wetlands item (2016 Standards, Table A, Item 18) is omitted from the 2021 Standards, it could be negotiated and re-added in the miscellaneous Table A, Item 20, if mutually agreed upon by the parties.


View the complete 2021 ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Standards.