Permanent survey marks

Land boundary protection after bushfires

Permanent survey marks (PSMs) are major reference points placed by surveyors. Their long-term retention benefits the community by providing clear-cut restoration of property boundaries and the reduction in survey costs for construction and development.

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that PSMs are protected. If you are conducting any type of construction or earth moving work, no matter how small, you must make sure that you do not damage, move or destroy a PSM.

Under the Survey Act 1992, a PSM must not be disturbed without prior approval of the Surveyor-General. There is provision under the Act for fines of up to $2000 per PSM disturbed, damaged, removed or destroyed.

Common causes of damage to, or destruction of PSMs are:

  • constructing driveways, roads, footpaths and pram ramps
  • building fences
  • landscaping
  • installing underground services.

It is important that PSMs remain visible and, under the Act, surveyors are able to break any surface, including driveways, footpaths and landscaped areas, to locate a PSM.

Call 8226 2464 before any construction work. One call could protect a permanent survey mark and avoid a $2,000 fine.

How to find a PSM

PSM brass plaquePMS steel cover

In metro areas

PSMs are shown on survey plans with references to the boundary corner but do not mark the boundary corner.

They are made of concrete blocks, approximately 200 mm square and 300 mm deep with a brass plaque or metal rod at the centre.

Most PSMs are situated below ground level and are not easily identifiable. In urban areas, they may be covered with a steel lid.

rural PMS witness post

In rural areas

In rural areas, PSMs are often marked with a blue star dropper and red indicator plate.

In the Riverland, many PSMs are concrete pillars 400 mm above ground level. This makes them easier to locate and prevents them from being accidentally destroyed by machinery.

white PSM witness post red image plate from PSM witness post

In areas being developed

In areas being developed, they are usually marked with a white PVC post and red indicator plate with the location of the buried PSM shown on the red plate.

There are no definite rules about where a surveyor will place a PSM. In urban areas, they are usually placed in footpaths near street corners and bends or next to the back of a kerb.

In rural areas, PSMs are usually located in the road reserve, next to fencing at prominent road bends or intersections. Occasionally, they are located on private property

Where to find survey mark locations

Approximate locations of PSMs can be found from the Survey Mark dataset of the LocationSA Map Viewer.

Horizontal coordinates, elevation and survey plan information relating to PSMs can be found on the South Australian Integrated Land Information System (SAILIS) Survey Mark search.

Information relating to the codes in the Survey Mark search can be found in the Hundred Codes (109.0 KB XLSX) documents.

If you would like to know the exact location and the best course of action for a PSM next to your property, please contact the Surveyor-General's Survey Operations Unit. Phone: 8226 2464

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Page last updated 12 October 2021

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