The following information relates to witness marks and witnessing requirements under rules 7.3, 16.4 and 17.1.
Witness marks are required to have such physical attributes and be placed in such locations that provide a reasonable assurance that they should remain undisturbed and remain useable for at least 10 years [r 7.3.3].
The rule only holds the surveyor to account where the mark's loss within 10 years could have been reasonably foreseen at the time it was placed or used in the survey.
Although existing marks may have been in the ground for a long period of time or appear to be substantive, they must be assessed as to whether they can be expected to survive another 10 years.
Historically, some survey marks have been shown with a double circle where they were iron tubes or where, at that time of the survey, the mark was considered more durable than other marks. A new survey will need to re-assess any existing marks to determine whether the mark meets the criteria specified in rule 7.3.3.
A boundary reinstatement survey, that is not a monumentation CSD, must include at least one witness mark [r 7.3.2(d)]. A monumentation CSD is not required to have a witness mark but is required to have an old non-boundary mark that is in terms of the boundary point that has been marked [r 11.1(a)(ii) & r 11.2(c)].
Figure 1 illustrates a primary parcel being subdivided into two new parcels in class B. The eastern and southern boundaries of Lot 1 are new boundaries. The blue circles represent the distance between a boundary point and a witness mark specified by rule 7.3.2.
The requirement to witness boundary marks applies to every:
- boundary point defined by the survey [r 7.3.1(a)]. A green cross indicates an unmarked boundary point defined by survey,
- new boundary mark on the parcel under survey [r 7.3.1(c)] (depicted as green circles), and
- old boundary mark on the parcel under survey [r 7.3.1(c)] (depicted as a black circle).
- the existing boundary points shown in purple are defined by adoption and are not required to be witnessed,
- while Trig A can be classified as a witness mark [r 7.3.3] and can count as one of the three (or four) required witness marks [r 7.3.2(c)] it does not count as a mark witnessing a boundary point.
Witnessing is not required for an old boundary mark that has been connected to by the survey, but is not on the boundary of a parcel under survey (as illustrated by the old boundary mark to the north west of Lot 1 in Figure 1) [r 7.3.1(c)].
A witness mark may be used to witness more than one boundary point if it falls within the witnessing distances (as illustrated for the southern boundary points of Lot 1 in Figure 1).
A witness mark can also act as a PRM if it complies with the criteria of rule 7.4.3(b).
Witness marks are not required for boundary points defined by adoption or accepted.
An existing control mark (including a trig) on a boundary point, cannot be a witness mark to that particular point [r 7.3.3(b)].
A new non-primary parcel boundary point must be witnessed when:
- it is on a lease parcel and the boundary is a right line or arc boundary [r 7.3.1(b)],
- the non-primary boundary point has been marked [r 7.3.1(c)], unless it is a class B or C boundary point on a covenant parcel marked by a post that is not coincident with an underlying parcel boundary [r 16.2],
- rule 17 applies (refer to Survey requirements when rule 17 is applied to non-primary parcels), or
- it is a stratum boundary point.
A non-primary parcel boundary point does not have to be treated as a new primary parcel point when it coincides with a primary parcel boundary. This coinciding position is only required to be witnessed in the circumstances set out in the preceding paragraph.
If a boundary point or mark has been witnessed, a survey must include a minimum of three witness marks (class A) or four witness marks (class B) [r 7.3.2(c)]. It must also include permanent reference marks [r 7.4.1].
An example where this applies is in the case of a unit development where a unit has a new stratum boundary.
Where there is a new water boundary on a primary parcel, only the end points of that water boundary must be witnessed [r 7.3.1].
The positions along the water boundary fixed as part of the field survey to determine the boundary's shape and location are not boundary points for the purpose of the Rules and are not required to be witnessed.
There are no witnessing requirements for existing water boundaries that are defined by adoption or accepted.
Line of sight between a witness mark and other non-boundary marks or boundary points is not a requirement of the Rules.