Protecting survey marks

What are survey marks?

Survey marks provide important information to a wide range of people in the community. They are mainly used to support the surveying of property boundaries, but are also important to engineering, road construction, map production and other land surveys.

There are thousands of survey marks in and around the ACT. Many are below ground level and cannot be seen from the surface, which is why it is important to check what will be effected before you begin construction. The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) provides a service that helps to preserve the marks. If you are planning works that could disturb survey marks, it's important that you contact EPSDD for help before you begin.

What survey marks look like

There are many types of survey marks, but the most common forms are:

  • Coordinated reference marks (CRMs)
  • Kerb bench marks (KBMs)
  • Steel rods (SRs)
  • Drill hole and wings
  • Buried marks (such as pipes or concrete blocks that cannot be seen from the surface).

Disturbing survey marks is an offence

Responsibility for the reinstatement or replacement of marks destroyed or disturbed rests with the individual or organisation under Section 53 of the Surveyors Act 2007.

If a survey mark is likely to be disturbed (even by a few millimetres) a registered surveyor must oversee the reinstatement or replacement to the standards set by the ACT Surveyor-General.

What you need to do before you start work

If you are doing any construction work, no matter how small, it is important that you check whether there are any survey marks close by that could be damaged. Everyone, from individual property owners to large organisations, has this responsibility.

Contact EPSDD's survey office well before you start work to provide a plan of proposed works. EPSDD will provide information on marks that may be at risk and where they are so you can either:

  • divert your works to avoid disturbing the marks,or
  • contract a registered surveyor to protect the survey marks by offsetting and replacing them prior to commencing your works.

When planning your works contact:

Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate
Office of the Surveyor-General
16 Challis St
Dickson ACT 2602

Phone: 02 6207 1889


EPSDD will provide, free of charge:

  • advice on what marks (if any) will be affected by your works
  • prints of survey plans identifying any marks that may be affected.

Coordinated reference mark
Coordinated reference mark (CRM)

Cover box for a sub-surface steel rod (SR)
Cover box for a sub-surface steel rod (SR)

Kerb bench mark (KBM)
Kerb bench mark (KBM)

Drill hole and wing in a concrete kerb
Drill hole and wing in a concrete kerb