Information on the methodology used to audit survey firms.

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LINZ audits survey firms to obtain reasonable assurance that licensed cadastral surveyors (LCSs) are complying with the Rules for Cadastral Survey, the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 and regulatory and statutory requirements.

LINZ's audit methodology includes the use of field and quality assurance audits to assess the processes and controls used by the LCSs within their firms.

Field audit

Two cadastral survey datasets (CSDs) will be selected for field audit from a list of CSDs submitted by the firm within the preceding 12 months. The audit will include evaluating the field evidence, testing survey dimensions and testing the adequacy of connection to existing survey reference or boundary marks, including the definition.

A full CSD check will also be completed with results from the field and CSD checks being recorded in the Table of Audit Items. 

Field audit point scoring

LINZ uses a point scoring methodology for field audit results to weight the respective impacts of critical, significant and minor errors. The field audit point scoring is:

1 critical error = 10 points
1 significant error = 4 points
1 minor error = 1 point

The threshold for failure is set at 10 points on any one survey.

QA Process Audit (office audit)

The Quality Assurance (QA) Process Audit, also referred to as the office audit, consists of an office visit to the LCS's firm to discuss and assess the processes and controls utilised to undertake cadastral surveys and prepare CSD's.

Prior to the office visit, the office manager will be asked to complete the pre-office visit Questionnaire - Cadastral Survey Dataset (pdf 19KB) or in Word format (doc 32KB). The questionnaire helps LINZ gain an understanding of the size of the associated firm, staffing and quality control processes. This will assist LINZ to plan the audit programme.

The office visit will be conducted by LINZ staff and it is expected that the office visit will occupy one day.

During that day the audit team will require input, for different lengths of time, from:

  • the survey manager
  • the firm's LCSs, and
  • ideally field staff connected with the surveys under review.

During the office visit, LINZ auditors will:

  • discuss the issues raised in the Table of Audit Items
  • review the survey firm's quality processes, preferably documented, used by the LCSs in the execution of cadastral surveys and the submission of CSDs to LINZ
  • identify controls used by the survey firm for the submission of CSDs and determine if these controls are adequate to provide sufficient assurance to the Surveyor-General
  • assess any peer review processes
  • sample files and determine if the controls identified have been performed correctly.

The review of the quality assurance processes will enable the audit team to indicate to the Surveyor-General that Cadastral Surveys are undertaken and CSDs are prepared in a consistent and compliant manner prior to lodgement with LINZ.

While survey firms will normally develop company quality assurance processes, the ultimate responsibility for the accuracy of a cadastral survey and CSD lies with the surveyor who certifies the CSD.

Discussions will be held throughout the audit with the LCSs as any issues or process improvement ideas are identified. These will also be summarised in a close out meeting where the findings and recommendations are discussed prior to the audit report being drafted.

Audit conclusions

Audit findings are prepared based on information obtained from at least three separate sources. The results from field audits are combined with office audits to form an overall conclusion. Final decisions will also take into account the audit team's professional judgement.

Reporting the audit conclusions

A draft report will communicate the results of the audit. It will be issued promptly and will include the audit objectives, scope, conclusions and recommendations. Before returning the draft report to LINZ, the survey firm should comment on the content and accuracy of the report and complete the management response section. LINZ will then issue a final report.

Additional assurance option

As current resources limit survey office audits to 12 survey firms per year, LINZ, with the endorsement of Survey and Spatial New Zealand and the Institute of Cadastral Surveyors Inc (ICS), has introduced a survey Self Assessment Questionnaire. The questionnaire is one of the tools used by the Surveyor-General to meet his duties under s7(1)(j) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002.

More information

For background information and more detail on the audit process, download the Audit Process for Cadastral Surveys (January 2007) report.

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