Residential Developer Begins Construction On Property Without Legal Access

    Civil Engineering Expert Witness

    This case involves the owners of a recreational camp in a residential community who entered into an agreement with a developer to buy a piece of land owned by the developer and build an annex for additional camp activities. Once the agreement was entered into, construction began progressing as expected. After 11 months, however, the developer informed the camp owners that the property lacked legal access and that the town would not allow utilities or the road to the annex. The owners of the annex sought an expert in civil engineering for residential development to describe how one ensures that plots have legal access.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please briefly describe your work ensuring legal access properties.

    Expert Witness Response E-125762

    As a registered civil engineer and a licensed professional land surveyor for 30+ years, I have unique experiences ensuring that properties I have advised on, totaling over 30,000 acres, have access. I am currently working on property surveys involving up to 15 square miles each. I have served as an expert witness for 30+ years, and I have courtroom, deposition, and exhibit preparation experience involving access. I have worked on similar access cases, including one involving a lack of due diligence and a mistaken determination by a professional engineer. It would be odd to think that the builder had progressed on the construction for some time only to then find the house does not have “legal access.” The developer had been taking access for months. Each case is different and the area over which access is taken is unique and must be looked at individually. I don’t know how you have determined that the couple does not have legal access. Further, the owners should look at their title insurance policy to check for coverage as these cases are expensive to bring to court.

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