HUD Multi-Family Acquiesces to ALTA/ACSM Position on Certification
Gary Kent, Chair of the NSPS ALTA/ACSM Survey Committee
Effective February 23, 2011, the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys mandated that only its unaltered Section 7 certification is to be used. This move was made in response to a seemingly endless supply of lender-mandated certifications that surveyors were told they "had" to use on Land Title Surveys even though their use routinely caused surveyors to make express guarantees and warranties that invalidated professional liability insurance and violated their state laws and Board rules.
The only allowable alteration to that certification is as may be required under Section 3.B. of the 2011 ALTA/ACSM Standards — referencing requirements of jurisdictions and agencies that regulate the practice of surveying. This most commonly, if not exclusively, refers to certification requirements mandated by a number of State Licensing Boards for surveyors practicing in their jurisdictions. Obviously, notwithstanding the "only" and "unaltered" wording of the ALTA/ACSM Section 7 certification, if state law mandates certain certification wording, surveyors working in those jurisdictions have to include such wording on their ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys. Although attorneys working for HUD Multi-family routinely invoke Section 3.B. as justification for telling surveyors that they have to use the HUD certification, they are off-track on that issue because — while HUD has its own requirements — it most certainly does not "regulate the practice" of surveying in any jurisdiction.
Ever since the introduction of the 2011 ALTA/ACSM Standards, surveyors across the country have spent innumerable hours arguing with HUD attorneys over this issue. Under Section 7 of the standards, the only logical middle-ground on the certification conundrum was for the surveyor to provide the HUD certification on separate letterhead, cross-referenced to the survey. The survey plat itself would bear only the Section7 certification, but HUD could still get its wording — albeit not on the face of the survey. Some HUD offices and attorneys would accept this compromise, while others would not, thus putting the surveyor and the attorney on a collision course that usually wasted a lot of time and energy.
Recently, an alert surveyor in Alabama notified the NSPS ALTA/ACSM Survey Committee of a HUD website that he found which at long-last lays this issue to rest. The webpage — the link to which surveyors should keep available for quick reference — is entitled Multifamily Document Reform Implementation Frequently Asked Questions — Surveyor's Report and Instructions. It states the following in response to an FAQ about the certification issue: "[HUD Multi-Family] Housing will accept the HUD Certification on a seperate [sic] sheet of paper and cross referenced to the survey."
It is not clear when this FAQ was posted, but it should end the acrimonious debate between surveyors and attorneys over how to address the HUD certification. NSPS is still working to find a way to engage HUD on the entire issue of the redundancy of its own separate certification, but in the meantime, due to this HUD position, surveyors no longer should have to weigh making clients angry against violating the ALTA/ACSM Standards.
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NSPS Radio Hour on June 3 to Feature Discussion About Davis-Bacon Act
NSPS Government Affairs Consultant John M. Palatiello will join host Curt Sumner to discuss ramifications of, and proposed NSPS response to, a recent position taken by the Department of Labor regarding members of survey crews being covered by the Davis-Bacon Act.
During the show, listen for the "key question" and be the first to email the correct answer to email@example.com and win a $50 gift certificate from our sponsor, Parker Davis Quik Stakes. No purchase is required to receive the gift certificate. Winners limited to once every three months.
The "key question" for the June 30 show will be, "When did you first become involved with the Davis-Bacon Act?"
Davis-Bacon issue generates interest in Congress
Several members of Congress have expressed concern that the Labor Department has classified members of survey crews as "laborers and mechanics", subject to the Davis-Bacon Act. NSPS government affairs consultants, John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc. have begun educating Congressmen and Senators about the controversial new policy and receiving feedback from lawmakers who want to reverse the Labor Department ruling. A possible Congressional hearing, at which NSPS may be invited to testify, is among the actions being considered.
Huizenga Introduces Bipartisan Legislation To Boost Small Business, Reform Government Run Amok
Washington, DC — Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-02) has announced the introduction of H.R. 2098, The Federal Prison Industries Competition in Contracting Act of 2013, the first step in a new approach to reforming Federal Prison Industries/UNICOR:
"Millions of Americans remain out of work, many through no fault of their own," said Huizenga. "As small businesses continue to struggle in the current economic environment, one thing they shouldn't have to worry about is their own government using prison labor to drive them out of business. The Federal Prison Industries Act of 2013 levels the playing field for private sector job creators by eliminating UNICOR's 'no-bid' contract status and forcing this government-owned behemoth to compete and operate in the same manner as private industry. Additionally, this legislation forces UNICOR to meet federal health and safety standards and pay a market rate for the production of goods and services provided. If UNICOR is going to act like a business, it must play by the same set of rules as a business. The status quo affords UNICOR a unique competitive advantage that simply should not exist. It's time to get the government working for people, not taking their jobs."
Lead Democrat cosponsor Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement in support of H.R. 2098: "This bill we are introducing — versions of which I have sponsored or co-sponsored over the last dozen years — will require the Federal Prison Industries' brands to compete with private-sector businesses on a level playing field," Rep. Maloney said. "It should improve the ability of private companies to win contracts for government work and it will improve the working conditions of FPI employees. It's a win-win for everyone involved."
UNICOR, or Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (FPI), is a government-owned corporation that employs offenders incarcerated in correctional facilities under the Federal Bureau of Prisons. UNICOR manufactures products and provides services that are sold to executive agencies in the federal government as well as the military. Examples of these products and services include clothing and textiles, office furniture, electronics, fleet and industrial products, recycling, and services such as call center and help desk support. UNICOR operates 81 factories located at 63 prison facilities across the country.
The Federal Prison Industries Competition in Contracting Act of 2013 requires FPI to compete for government contracts by minimizing unfair competition with the private sector firms, and driving fair and reasonable prices. The bill will also substantially enhance the opportunity for public participation in the process by which UNICOR is authorized to produce a new product or expand production by requiring a detailed independent analysis of the impact on the private sector a UNICOR expansion would have.
The bill also makes reforms to FPI by imposing federal occupational, health, and safety standards on FPI with respect to its industrial operations; allowing inmates within FPI to work for a tax-exempt charity, religious organization, or local governmental unit or school district that has an agreement with FPI; requiring the Department of Labor to raise the hourly minimum wage rate for inmates to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1939; and establishing an enhanced in-prison educational and vocational assessment and training program to help with release readiness preparation.
The original co-sponsors on this bipartisan reform legislation aimed at boosting private sector job creation are: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY), Rep. Dan Benishek (MI), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC), Rep. Trent Franks (AZ), Rep. Walter Jones (NC), Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Rep. Candice Miller (MI), Rep. Mick Mulvaney (SC), Rep. Edward Royce (CA), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI), Rep. Fred Upton (MI), and Rep. Tim Walberg (MI).
RICS HQ Recently Hosted a Five-Strong Delegation of Licensed Professional Land Surveyors, Representatives from the States of Virginia, Iowa, Georgia and Tennessee.
David Holland (NSPS Governor/VA) has written an article for Professional Surveyor magazine detailing a recent trip to England by five Surveyors from the United States. The article will appear in a future edition of the magazine.
Among the activities of the delegation was a visit to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Below is an accounting of that visit written from the perspective of James Kavanaugh, RICS Director/Land Group:
Pictured are: Stephen Letchford (VA); David Holland (VA; NSPS Governor); James Kavanaugh (RICS Director/Land Survey Group); Chuck Dunlap (VA); Richard Leu (Iowa; NSPS Governor); Bart Crattie (TN)
The USA operates a state-by-state licensing system for professional land surveyors but has a national surveying body (National Society of Professional Surveyors). The delegation was on a fact finding mission to the UK and also managed to visit places of geographic and surveying significance such as Greenwich.
Discussions ranged from the historic links and shared surveying heritage of the UK and USA, including presentations on the UK system of mapping, land registration and property ownership, to developments in professional practice and technology.
The US delegation was especially interested in the wide-ranging remit of RICS professional practice as compared to some parts of the world and the evolution of the profession in the UK. Potential collaboration on RICS best practice and client guides was discussed, as was the RICS online academy and its potential application for state surveyors. The group also invited RICS to participate in the forthcoming celebrations planned in Philadelphia for late August 2013 to mark the grave of Charles Mason, the UK land surveyor of Mason–Dixon line fame.
RICS prepared a speech for the then Prime Minister Tony Blair to read at the 2002 celebrations and restoration of some of original boundary monuments. US land surveyors tend to be acutely aware of their history and the Mason-Dixon Line has gained a hold on the US national memory as the division between North and South, Yankees and Dixie, freedom and slavery.
More prosaically, its original intention was to quell a 1760s bloody boundary dispute between the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania. RICS Land has a strong and growing relationship with our colleagues in the US and this visit will hopefully be the start of developing opportunities within the state licensed sectors which employ over 20,000 professional land surveyors in the USA.
Did you know that the CST Program can be used to train staff?
NSPS Attends Senator's 'Victims of Government' Event
NSPS government affairs representative John "JB" Byrd recently attended a policy roundtable with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on regulatory reform. Sen. Johnson is seeking examples of burdensome over-reach by federal agencies that adversely affect professionals and businesses. The Senator's "Victims of Government" project can be found on his website.
Defense Legislation Unveiled in Congress
Portions of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act has been introduced in the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. The committee will begin subcommittee consideration next week. For more info, click here.
New 'Drone' Bills Introduced in U.S. Senate
Two bills to regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or "drones" have been introduced in the U.S. Senate. S.1016 , a bill to protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles commonly called drones, was offered on May 22 by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). The text is not yet available. S.1057, a bill to prohibit the use of unmanned aircraft systems by private persons to conduct surveillance of other private persons, was introduced May 23 by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO). While the text of this bill is not yet available, NSPS government affairs consultants, John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc., were provided a draft by the Senator's staff and it includes an exception for imagery collected from a UAV for resource mapping.
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.
NSPS Reports on Questionnaire Results and Strategic Planning Meeting
During its Spring 2013 Business Meetings NSPS heard a report on the results of a questionnaire conducted by its government affairs consultant John M. Palatiello and Associates (JMP&A). Following the report, a planning session was conducted with the NSPS Board of Governors, NSPS Board of Directors, State Executives Forum members, NSPS media consultant Flatdog Media, and others in the audience.
The questionnaire asked surveyors to rate several broad concepts. The most popular response was "requiring the use of surveying and mapping data and services requirements in federal program legislation (e.g Endangered Species Act, Corps of Engineers Water Resource Development Act, etc.)" with 48% saying it was most important, edging out "elevating the status, stature and classification of surveyors" with 47.5%, followed by "create a requirement for use and application of geospatial/place/location/survey-based data in all federal programs" with 45.9%.
An overwhelming 87.4% of surveyors said the threat of interference with GPS by systems such as LightSquared is an issue of importance. Similarly, 87% said it is very important that the image of professional surveyors and the professional surveying community be improved and enhanced.
86.4% of the surveyors responding to the questionnaire said that qualifications-based selection (QBS) is the preferred method for government procurement of surveying and mapping activities. 41.1% of surveyors said unfair competition from universities or government agencies a problem or concern. More than half (53.7%) of surveyors have not participated in a "design-build" project, while 25.2% said they have worked on such projects and found it worked well, 11.9% competed using design-build but were not selected, and 9.2 percent said they do not like design-build and refuse to participate in such projects.
Results of the questionnaire will be used by NSPS to determine government relations priorities and key aspects of the strategic plan. The questionnaire was distributed to NSPS members and surveyors throughout the United States during a two-month period to gain feedback.
Following the report on the questionnaire, a facilitated two-hour session was held to collect views and ideas for NSPS strategic objectives. Issues similar to those garnered in the legislative questionnaire were offered by the audience. Areas where NSPS leaders and grass roots representatives said the most attention should be focused include:
Conducting the analysis of the initial input from the surveying community and NSPS membership is part of a process that will span the remainder of the year to provide NSPS with a new strategic plan. NSPS leadership will continue to work with JMP&A and Flatdog Media to engage NSPS members and the surveying community at large to gain input for the plan.
- communication with members, clients and targeted groups, and the general public;
- education for currently practicing surveyors, workforce development and attracting young people into the profession, 4-year degree requirements and university programs to prepare the next generation of surveyors;
- enhancing the public and professional image of surveyors and establishing NSPS as an effective voice for the surveying community;
- growing and strengthening NSPS as a national professional society and improving its value to the members; and
- strengthening the government affairs program to advocate for surveyors and to increase legislators’ awareness of the importance of surveying and mapping in programs and projects intended to solve global, national, state, and local problems; increasing NSPS member activity in building relationships with members of Congress; and building a stronger liaison between NSPS and state societies on legislative affairs, including revisions to state surveyor licensing laws to cover newer, emerging, and non-traditional markets and services.
NSPS will continue to keep the surveying-related publications informed to provide further distribution of the progress toward development of the new NSPS Strategic Plan.
Surveyors Rendezvous 2013
Surveyors Historical Society
Summertime greetings to all,
This message is sent on behalf of Surveyors Historical Society — with help from DCALS and NSPS.
Everyone is invited to attend SURVEYORS RENDEZVOUS 2013 — a unique event being held in and around historic Philadelphia this August. Registration fees are below-cost, thanks to generous sponsorship donations from a dozen professional organizations. There's also a special Rendezvous hotel rate, lowest in the area. Full educational credits will be awarded by SHS — and three remarkable ceremonies will take place — of genuine significance to our profession.
This is the 17th national "RENDEZVOUS," Surveyors Historical Society's large annual gathering. Everyone is welcome and urged to attend. SHS membership is not required, nor is period garb. Land surveyors, instrument collectors, history buffs, astronomers and other kindred folks from all across America — and as far away as Australia — will 'Rendezvous' at historic Philadelphia this August, on the site where William Penn first landed in 1682.
There, on Friday August 30, we'll dedicate a new historical marker at South Street, which was the 'official' southernmost point of Philadelphia in the 1760s — and the place where Mason & Dixon began their entire 5-year surveying adventure, across the wilds of colonial America.
We'll also set the 'Real' Stargazers Stone. Out in rural Chester County, an hour from Philly, is one of the most hauntingly historic surveying spots in all the world. No tourist ever goes there, but in the middle of a remote field stands "Stargazers Stone" — silent survivor from 250-years ago. Mason & Dixon placed that stone themselves, to help establish latitude from the stars — thence to set the line of Maryland. But recent resurveys have located the actual original site of their nearby astronomical observatory — which has never been monumented — and at a Rendezvous ceremony on August 29, 2013, we're going to mark it.
Those would be highlights of any normal conference, but on Saturday afternoon, August 31, in a ceremony we hope will bring not just local, not just national, but international publicity to our profession, we have yet a third event.
We're going to dedicate a memorial to Charles Mason, the great surveyor-astronomer who (along with Jeremiah Dixon) laid out the Mason-Dixon Line years before the American Revolution. Charles Mason died at Philadelphia in 1786, and his old friend from the survey days, Benjamin Franklin, paid for his funeral. But for 226-years his grave, a block from the Liberty Bell, has been unmarked. On Saturday afternoon, August 31, we're giving Charles Mason a cemetery marker at last — not an ordinary tombstone ... but an authentic 1766 Mile Stone from the Mason-Dixon Line itself.
These are ceremonies of true importance and significance to our profession. We'd like to see land surveyors represented in great strength.
Please take a few minutes to read the attached brochure. We urge you to 'Rendezvous' with us at Philadelphia for these exceptional days in August. Surveyors from all over the world will be there. Space is limited. Kindly share this with anyone you feel may be interested.
Rendezvous 2013 is no 'ordinary' conference. It transcends a single organization. SHS does these things not to make money — and not to promote itself — but to honor and advance our storied profession, and we seek support from everyone. We hope you'll join us.
With highest professional regards,
Surveyors Historical Society (SHS)
For more information, click here.
Survey Summit Welcomes NSPS — July 6-9, 2013
Locators Come Together
NSPS members pay only $350 for the Survey Summit — where you will learn the latest in mobile and web-enabled survey technology, orthometric heighting with GPS, and surveying with the cloud. Come to the Survey Summit to keep up to date on these latest advancements.
The Survey Summit is a unique learning and networking opportunity where the geospatial community comes together to focus on high accuracy mapping, surveying, civil engineering, and GIS technology. This event will help you stay relevant and stake your claim in the future of professional surveying.
For more information visit www.surveysummit.com.
Recent Tornados Remind Us about the NSPS Disaster Relief Fund
Click here to donate, or apply for disaster assistance.
Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors
New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors
The SaGES (Surveying and Geomatics Educators Society) colloquium is held biennially to bring together surveying and geomatic educators to meet in a friendly, relaxed environment. It is a place to discuss issues to facilitate learning and to develop a support network among fellow educators.
24th Biennial SaGES Colloquium & FIG Regional Conference
Hosted by the Partnership Degree Program in Surveying and Mapping at Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler, June 17-20 — http://www.tjc.edu/SaGESconference