Compliance, certification and dispensations for cadastral surveys

Note: this guideline is issued by the Surveyor-General under section 7(1)(ga) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 about the Rules for Cadastral Survey 2010 and is not legally binding.

The following information relates to the responsibilities and implications of CSD certification, dispensation from compliance with the Rules for Cadastral Survey, and retention of field information relating to a CSD.


Materiality of CSD certification

Rule 13 requires surveyors to certify as to accuracy and correctness of a CSD and its compliance with the Rules. The certification applies to all rules irrespective of whether the surveyor considers a particular rule is material to the survey or not.

In completing the certification, the surveyor is stating the dataset and its related survey were undertaken by the certifier (licensed cadastral surveyor) personally, or under their personal direction. You can refer to schedule 2 of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 for more detail.

Read about Surveys directed by other surveyors

The certification applies to all the data contained within the CSD.

The certification is specifically required to appear in the CSD plan [r 9.1(c)].

Irrespective of the tools used by the licensed cadastral surveyor to create a CSD (including tools provided by LINZ which predetermine the form of some of the data components), the data in the CSD as submitted and certified, will remain unchanged as submitted to LINZ. This means the responsibility for the correctness and accuracy of the CSD rests on the licensed cadastral surveyor.

Title Plan certification information

The name of the certifying surveyor and the survey firm is required to be part of the Title Plan [r 10.1(b)].

Where boundaries are defined by survey    

The certification includes compliance with rule 6.1 which requires a surveyor when defining a boundary by survey, to gather and interpret evidence in accordance with all relevant enactments and rules of law.  This means that in the context of a boundary defined by survey, the surveyor is certifying that they have properly considered:

  • the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 and other legislative requirements particular to that survey and include statutory regulations, rules and rulings.  Examples include the Conservation Act 1987, LTA, Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, Surveyor General's Rulings and so on, and
  • other rules of law.  This includes relevant common law precedents such as recent legal judgments, the hierarchy of evidence, and the doctrine of accretion and erosion. 

Record purposes only CSDs

There is no provision for a CSD of a lesser standard to be lodged for 'record purposes only'.

Every CSD must be fully compliant with all applicable rules. On acceptance by LINZ, every CSD will contain authoritative data.

No exclusions to certification

The surveyor may wish to include in the CSD, diagrams and information that were prepared for other purposes.  Examples include 'as built diagrams' or 'scheme plans'. 

If this information is included, it must be correct.  Any statements that were designed to limit liability for those other purposes must be removed before inclusion in the dataset.  Examples include 'the users of this information must independently verify the information' or 'this information is subject to survey'.

Surveys directed by other surveyors

Surveyors need to be particularly aware of their obligations when certifying a survey which has been partially completed under the direction of another licensed cadastral surveyor (refer to Survey Quarterly Issue 56, December 2008, p30). Read the article.

Schedule 2 Cadastral Survey Act 2002 states that a licensed cadastral surveyor is guilty of professional misconduct if the cadastral surveyor is found in any proceedings or appeal under Part 4:

  • (1)(b) to have certified to the accuracy of any cadastral survey or cadastral survey dataset without having personally carried out or directed the cadastral survey and the related field operations, 
  • (1)(c) to have certified to the accuracy of any cadastral survey or cadastral survey dataset without having carried out sufficient checks to ensure the accuracy of the entries in any field book and the accuracy of all calculations, working plans, and other cadastral records that may have been made by any person employed by him or her in relation to the cadastral survey, 
  • (1)(d) to have certified to the accuracy of any cadastral survey carried out by the cadastral surveyor or under his or her personal direction if the operation of pegging and ground marking, and all other requirements of the cadastral survey, have not been carried out in accordance with standards set under Part 5. 


Dispensation requirement to act as a rule

When a surveyor has had a dispensation granted by the Surveyor General (or his delegate) allowing an exemption from a particular requirement or specifying alternative requirements, the dispensation becomes part of the rules for the purpose of the surveyor's certification for that survey [s 47(6) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002].  The surveyor must either fully comply with the terms of the granted dispensation or with the normal rule(s).

Availability of dispensation

Dispensations are not specifically provided for in the Rules but can be considered under s 47(5) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002.

Generally dispensation requests will only be granted where:

  • there are no significant risks to the cadastral outcomes,
  • the circumstances are exceptional, and
  • the particular case is not covered by the Rules.

Dispensation requests must be accompanied by sufficient relevant information. Read more about how to apply for a dispensation and the information that must be included. 

Requirements relating to field information

Field information consists of entries made at the same time as the facts of a survey are ascertained.  It is therefore particularly important as evidence of the survey, as recognised in the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 and by the New Zealand Courts.

All relevant field information must either be included in the CSD to which it relates or be retained for at least seven years from the date of certification of the CSD (r 14).

Last Updated: 7 December 2018
Authority: Surveyor-General - Section 7(1)(ga) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002
LINZ OP G : 00060