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Glossary

AHD: Australian Height Datum. The origin height for all reduced levels as fixed by the Surveyor General.

Accredited Certifier: A person identified under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 as authorised to consent to the subdivision of land.

Accretion: The acquisition of extra land from the sea or its inlets, or from a stream, by natural, gradual and imperceptible means.

Alienation: The passing of Crown lands into private ownership.

Azimuth: The datum line specially determined from established survey monuments on public record and its bearing or direction, adopted by a surveyor as the base line for a survey. Alternatively the bearing used may be taken from astronomical observations.

Bench Mark: A survey mark used to establish the relative height of a feature in a plan - usually measured as a Reduced Level, AHD.

Body Corporate: The former management body of the common property under the Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act 1961 and the Strata Titles Act 1973. Now known as the Owners Corporation.

Boundary survey: A boundary survey is about determining, locating and defining the accurate location of the boundaries. This survey is commonly required when replacing boundary fences.

By Laws: By Laws are rules or regulations governing a Strata or a Community Development scheme which have been determined by the developer, or are statutory By Laws (exist at law). They apply to Strata Plans and Community, Neighbourhood and Precinct Plans and are set out in Management Statements.

Cadastre: The current subdivision pattern of a locality on the ground ie boundaries, roads, waterways, parcel identifiers, names etc. - "Cadastral" has a corresponding meaning.

Certificate of Title: A counterpart document to the Torrens Title land Register which is issued as a certificate of ownership and provides evidence of a person’s right to deal with the land in the title. A new edition of the CT is issued by LPI each time that a property changes ownership and when certain other transactions occur, such as registration of a mortgage or lease.

Common Property: In a strata scheme, it is all the areas of land and buildings not included in any lot. The property is owned jointly by all the unit owners in each strata. There is a separate title for the common property, distinct from the title held by each individual unit owner.

Community Title Subdivision: Community Title Subdivision means each individual owner owns their land and home, and also a share of the common grounds and community facilities. Large apartment complexes with common facilities such as pools are usually Community Title.

Compiled Plan: A plan of land compiled mathematically from existing survey information without further survey on the ground.

Contour survey: To determine the levels on the site to assist with building design a contour survey is used.

Deposited Plan: A plan of land deposited in LPI, which was not attached to a dealing or deed, showing land boundary information whether for a new subdivision or other purpose eg identifying the location of an easement, for land acquistion etc. The Registrar General may, for convenience, number or re-number other plans as deposited plans or prepare deposited plans of his own motion. Plans of strata schemes are called Strata Plans.

Detail survey: This survey is used to determine and locate features on a parcel of land. This includes both natural and artificial features, including vegetation, fences, boundaries, roads existing building and land utilities. A detail survey will usually include the levels and contours of the land. This survey is generally required when you are planning to construct or extend a building on your parcel of land, when you need to locate all features of your land, or when you want to have your land valued.

Easement: A right, attached to land (the dominant tenement), to use other land (the servient tenement) for a specified non-exclusive purpose known to the law, eg right of carriageway, easement to drain water - however the law recognises an easement in favour of a statutory authority without a dominant tenement, described as an "easement in gross".

Identification survey: A survey which is required for the purpose of identifying existing buildings and structures on a parcel of land. It may only be undertaken by a Registered Surveyor. It is the only process that connects physical entity of land to a legal title document. It is recommended that an identification survey is obtained when purchasing a property.

Limited Title: A certificate of title issued for land converted from Old System title whereby the boundaries have not been adequately defined in a plan of survey and/or have not been investigated in LPI. A limitation is recorded in the second schedule.

Lodgement: The acceptance by LPI of dealings, plans and other documents, either by hand or electronically, for processing and registration within that Office.

MHWM: Mean High Water Mark - the line defining the mean between the high tides at ordinary spring and neap tides.

Old System Land: Land alienated from the Crown prior to 1863 and not yet brought under the provisions of the Real Property Act 1900. As the State of New South Wales does not guarantee title to Old System land, purchasers must carefully examine the chain of title for a land parcel to ensure that the seller is the valid title holder and to know what reservations and encumbrances affect the land.

Positive Covenant: A condition imposed by, or for the benefit of a statutory body or a local council that binds the owner of land to perform a specified act eg to maintain a building and its foundations to ensure the safe working of a railway passing below it, or to erect a habitable dwelling upon the land within a specified period of time. The positive covenant must be in terms that directly require the owner of the land to do some action.

Primary Application: An application to bring Old System land under the provisions of the Real Property Act 1900. An application made to LPI by the property owner of Old System land to convert the Old System title Torrens Title.

Qualified Title: A folio of the Register in which is recorded a "caution" that has not been cancelled. A caution warns persons dealing with the registered proprietor that the land is held subject to any "subsisting interests" that may exist under Old System.

Reduced Level: The relative height of a point in relation to a known datum, usually AHD.

Reference Mark: A survey mark of a durable nature placed or situated near and connected by measurement to a corner, angle or tangent point of a survey.

Right of Way: A right of way is an easement allowing a right to use part or all of another property for access purposes.

Section 88B Instrument: An instrument under the Conveyancing Act 1919 lodged with a deposited plan or strata plan to create easements, restrictions on the use of land and positive covenants upon registration of the plan as an alternative to the creation of easements via a dealing.

Set out survey: This is a survey tool to locate proposed construction in relation to boundaries and other structures. 

Strata Plan: A plan lodged with LPI creating individually-owned lots and common property within a parcel of land defining lots by a cubic space(s). Normally, a strata plan pertains to multiple units within a building.

Subdivision Certificate: The consent of the required authority, Local Council, accredited certifier or the Crown to the subdivision of land. Endorsed in the panel on the plan.

Title Search: A title search is an inspection of the register which will indicate the current owner or owners of a property and also shows the estate and any other interests that may restrict full control of the property by the owner. These other interests are called encumbrances and could include mortgages, easements, or caveats. 

Torrens Title: A term used to describe the system of title (or land) registration devised by Robert Richard Torrens, and adopted in NSW from 1863. Under this system, title is guaranteed by the state and purchasers do not need to establish the chain of ownership when purchasing property. They can rely on a current Certificate of Title document to evidence ownership of land.