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Grading Permit Plans in Pennsylvania: Can a surveyor calculate and sign off on Infiltration Beds and trenches?

I am a licensed surveyor in Pennsylvania and work for a full service Civil Engineering Company.  I have been getting a lot of requests for grading permit plans.  More and more townships are requiring Infiltration beds for roof drainage discharge.  Also, Infiltration trenches along driveways.  The calculations are pretty straight forward.  Can a PA licensed land surveyor sign off on a house permit plan containing these drainage features?  I have always had an in house licensed engineer perform the calculations. But I am just curious if any Pa licensed surveyors have ever done this work?  the PA survey practice literature is very unclear in my opinion as to what a surveyor can or cannot do.  The last thing I want is to get in trouble for performing "engineering" without a license.

Thank you!

This Content Originally Published by a land surveyor to Land Surveyors United Network

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Welcome!   This question is very specific to Pennsylvania so it may be more appropriate to ask inside the Pennsylvania Land Surveyors Group / Forum as members in there live and work in the state...


If you are an LS in any state you should keep up with your regs I would think.  Anyway here is a link to a pending bill for you to look at.  Should answer your questions.

Good Luck,


My experience has been that it depends on the reviewing code officer or engineer for the municipality where the work is being done. Most want to see a PE license for anything more than simplified stone pit calculations.

I took a quick look at this new bill proposal. Perhaps someone can clarify this for me. Are they now removing any and all applicable stormwater design rights from a PLS in PA? If so, they should probably take all the stormwater calcs off the state specific exam. I know that has been a major stumbling block for many candidates.

Nice talking wit y'all.


thank you all for your feedback.  I will print that doc out now and review.  Basically as a PA land surveyor I have always shied away from any engineering design because Like I said it is vague, at least in PA.   In regards to "Engineering Design" The Pa Manual of Practice  for Land Surveyors states - "Land Surveyors shall engage in these practices only to the extent of their competence".  Like what the heck is that supposed to mean?  Do it at your own discretion, but if you screw it up then you get reprimanded for practicing engineering without a license?  That statement has always puzzled me.  Never really cared because I always avoided any storm or major grading design as I have engineer associates that I can tap into.  However,  I do a lot of on lot grading permit plans.  Within the last 5 years or more, infiltration beds and/or infiltration driveway trenches are becoming a standard requirement by townships.  So, it seems as if  I should really be having an engineer sign off on these plans?  I don't like it.  Just maybe another service historically provided by surveyors in the past that is going the way of the dodo.  Also, I agree with the comment regarding storm calcs on the survey exam.  Why is that such a big part of the exam if a surveyor isn't permitted to apply it?   Or at least why isn't the application clearly identified and spelled out in the manual of practice so that is isn't so ambiguous?


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