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Survey can find problems before construction starts

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by Kris Ann Hegle

SBJ Contributing Writer

The next time you see a person wearing a backpack and carrying a long pole, don't assume it's a hiker. That person may be a land surveyor for Ozark Mountain Land Surveying Inc.

Ozark Mountain Land Surveying is one of the surveying and engineering firms in the area using the latest technology a backpack containing a Global Positioning System. The GPS allows surveyors to measure down to the millimeter in much less time than traditional surveying methods.

According to Larry Jansen, president of Ozark Mountain Land Surveying and a Missouri-registered land surveyor, less time in the field means clients save time and money.

Jansen and his brother-in-law, Lyndel Link, who serves as vice president, founded Ozark Mountain Land Surveying in 1994. Before striking out on their own, both Jansen and Link had worked for other survey companies in the area. Indeed, there's no shortage of land surveyors in Springfield, which has more than 25 surveying and engineering firms.

Although the company advertises, the majority of business comes through word-of-mouth and from contacts that Jansen and Link have made through the years. The two also made a commitment early on to use the latest surveying and engineering technology to make Ozark Mountain Land Surveying stand out from the competition. According to Link, purchasing equipment was one of the business' early challenges.

"For the first year, it seemed like every time we turned around, there was something else we needed to buy, and none of it was cheap," Link said. "We're probably one of the more progressive companies in the area when it comes to our equipment."

Jansen and Link's progressive style also carries over to employee relations. Although Ozark Mountain Land Surveying keeps regular business hours, much of the work is done in the field. Consequently, most of the company's employees who work as surveyors set their own work hours.

"We check everyone's work," Link said. "But our employees are experienced professionals. They know what they have to do to get the job done, and they do it."

The majority of projects undertaken by Ozark Mountain Land Surveying focus on residential construction and development in communities within a 60-mile radius of Springfield.

Surveyors do boundary and topographical surveys, construction staking and look for encroachments. The firm also employs a civil engineer who helps with the subdivision design of the 40-plus subdivisions the company has designed to date.

Link also makes a point to keep on top of changing regulations, and he is a member of the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors and the Home Builders Association of Springfield, which meets regularly with the Greene County Planning and Zoning Department to discuss changing regulations and zoning concerns.

"Sometimes, the public may not think the county is looking out for their interests," Link said. "Being on the inside of the process has made me realize that the planning and zoning regulations more than adequately protect the public."

In addition to working for local land developers, Ozark Mountain Land Surveyors also gets business referrals from banks in the area.

Before approving a home loan, some banks require a property survey to establish clear title. Occasionally, owners of existing homes will contact the firm, as well.

Once, Ozark Mountain Land Surveyors was contacted by a homeowner who had built his home over one of Southwestern Bell's main underground telecommunications lines, according to Link. The homeowner had been told he would have to move his house or pay for Southwestern Bell to move their cable. In the end, the cable was moved.

"Most people are using every last penny they have to get into a house," Link said. "If you don't pay that little bit extra to get your property surveyed, beware. I can't tell you how many situations I've seen, from encroachments to boundary problems, that could have been avoided if only a surveyor had been used first."

Although Ozark Mountain Land Surveying isn't lacking for competition, the company has posted a profit every year since its inception, according to Jansen. The firm also has grown from four employees to 15 within the past five years, and office space is at a premium right now, Jansen said.

In the coming year, Jansen and Link plan to move the bulk of their operations to a new office on Springfield's south side, and the North West Bypass location will become a satellite office. The two also are considering opening other offices in surrounding communities.

"It's taken a lot of support from our wives to get this business off the ground," Link said. "Now that we're established, the time is right to expand."[[In-content Ad]]

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