How to Select a CFedS

Tribes or Individuals (using un-appropriated funds)

Only a BLM cadastral surveyor or Professional Land Surveyor who is certified by the Certified Federal Surveyor (CFedS) program should conduct boundary surveys of any Indian land. To find a CFedS in your state, click on the "Locate a CFedS" button on the left side of the screen. Before selecting a surveyor you should determine if a federal authority survey is necessary. A CFedS survey is not automatically a federal authority survey. Consultation with BLM is required and certain requirements must be met. Generally a federal authority survey will be required when:

  • A new parcel is being created to be conveyed by a fee patent.
  • There are existing boundary disputes or it is anticipated that a dispute may arise. (43 IBIA 127, "BLM is the official surveyor of Indian Lands. As such, the Department relies exclusively on BLM surveys to determine property boundaries")
  • The survey of reservation boundaries.

A federal authority survey should be considered when:

  • In the course of the survey it will be necessary to create, reestablish, mark, or define legal corners or boundaries of Indian lands.
  • Most of the evidence of the original survey has disappeared.
  • Surveys involving water boundaries and riparian rights are present.
  • The survey is for a fee to trust conveyance.

Remember, only BLM can authorize a federal authority survey (43 IBIA 127). If a federal authority survey is necessary you have three options: 1) in cooperation with BLM utilizing the process defined in the Indian Self-Determination Act, 2) federal authority CFedS survey, and 3) survey executed by BLM. You should talk with your BILS or BLM, State cadastral office to determine which process is best suited for your particular survey. For contact information click on the "BILS Listing" or "State Cadastral Offices" button on the left side of the screen.

If a federal authority survey is not necessary, begin your selection process by considering the surveyor's qualifications. Remember the CFedS have completed a comprehensive training program covering all aspects of boundary surveys, but with special emphasis on the survey of Indian land. Additonally, completion of one CFedS continuing education course must be completed annually. These courses cover advanced legal and technical boundary survey issues and are shown on the CFedS Roster. The surveyor's past experience and references should be requested. Like many professions, price is not the sole indicator of the quality of work that will be done for you. Select a land surveyor only when you are confident the person has the necessary knowledge and experience to provide an accurate and legally defensible survey.

Surveying is a highly technical field that requires expertise in real property law, public records research, evaluation of historical survey evidence, mathematics, statistics, measurement systems, planning regulations and current computer technologies.

Surveyors are often retained:

  • To survey and monument home-site leases.
  • Prior to purchasing real property.
  • Prior to beginning any construction improvements within property boundaries.
  • When dividing parcels of land for sale or adjusting existing parcel boundaries.

Tribes, BIA or Other Federal Agencies (using appropriated funds)

When selecting a Registered Professional Land Surveyors to perform boundary surveys paid from appropriated funds, the process defined in Public Law 92-582 (as amended) must be followed.

Public Law 92-582
92nd Congress, H.R. 12807
October 27, 1972

An Act

To amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 in order to establish Federal policy concerning the selection of firms and individuals to perform architectural, engineering, and related services for the Federal Government.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (40 U.S.C. 471 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new title:

"TITLE IX - SELECTION OF ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS"

"DEFINITIONS"

"Sec.901. As used in this title"

"(1) The term 'firm' means any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity permitted by law to practice the professions of architecture or engineering."

"(2) The term 'agency head' means the Secretary, Administrator, or head of a department, agency, or bureau of the Federal Government."

"(3) The term "architectural and engineering services" means -

  1. professional services of an architectural or engineering nature, as defined by State law, if applicable, which are required to be performed or approved by a person licensed, registered, or certified to provide such services as described in this paragraph;
  2. professional services of an architectural or engineering nature performed by contract that are associated with research, planning, development, design, construction, alteration, or repair of real property; and
  3. such other professional services of an architectural or engineering nature, or incidental services, which members of the architectural and engineering professions (and individuals in their employ) may logically or justifiably perform, including studies, investigations, surveying and mapping, tests, evaluations, consultations, comprehensive planning, program management, conceptual designs, plans and specifications, value engineering, construction phase services, soils engineering, drawing reviews, preparation of operation and maintenance manuals, and other related services."

"POLICY"

"Sec.902. The Congress hereby declares it to be the policy of the Federal Government to publicly announce all requirements for architectural and engineering services, and to negotiate contracts for architectural and engineering services on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualification for the type of professional services required and at fair and reasonable prices."

"REQUESTS FOR DATA ON ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING SERVICES"

"Sec.903. In the procurement of architectural and engineering services, the agency head shall encourage firms engaged in the lawful practice of their profession to submit annually a statement of qualifications and performance data. The agency head, for each proposed project, shall evaluate current statements of qualifications and performance data on file with the agency, together with those that may be submitted by other firms regarding the proposed project, and shall conduct discussions with no less than three firms regarding anticipated concepts and the relative utility of alternative methods of approach for furnishing the required services and then shall select therefrom, in order of preference, based upon criteria established and published by him, no less than three of the firms deemed to be the most highly qualified to provide the services required."

"NEGOTIATIONS OF CONTRACTS FOR ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING SERVICES"

"Sec.904. (a) The agency head shall negotiate a contract with the highest qualified firm for architectural and engineering services at compensation which the agency head determines is fair and reasonable to the Government. In making such determination, the agency head shall take into account the estimated value of the services to be rendered, the scope, complexity, and professional nature thereof."

"(b) Should the agency head be unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with the firm considered to be the most qualified, at a price he determines to be fair and reasonable to the Government, negotiations with that firm should be formally terminated. The agency head should then undertake negotiations with the second most qualified firm. Failing accord with the second most qualified firm, the agency head should terminate negotiations. The agency head should then undertake negotiations with the third most qualified firm."

"(c) Should the agency head be unable to negotiate a satisfactory contract with any of the selected firms, he shall select additional firms in order of their competence and qualification and continue negotiations in accordance with this section until an agreement is reached."

40 USCS § 1102

§ 1102. Definitions

In this chapter [40 USCS §§ 1101 et seq.], the following definitions apply:

(1) Agency head. The term "agency head" means the head of a department, agency, or bureau of the Federal Government.

(2) Architectural and engineering services. The term "architectural and engineering services" means--

(A) professional services of an architectural or engineering nature, as defined by state law, if applicable, that are required to be performed or approved by a person licensed, registered, or certified to provide the services described in this paragraph;

(B) professional services of an architectural or engineering nature performed by contract that are associated with research, planning, development, design, construction, alteration, or repair of real property; and

(C) other professional services of an architectural or engineering nature, or incidental services, which members of the architectural and engineering professions (and individuals in their employ) may logically or justifiably perform, including studies, investigations, surveying and mapping, tests, evaluations, consultations, comprehensive planning, program management, conceptual designs, plans and specifications, value engineering, construction phase services, soils engineering, drawing reviews, preparation of operating and maintenance manuals, and other related services.

(3) Firm. The term "firm" means an individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity permitted by law to practice the profession of architecture or engineering.