While searching for new property that you want to buy, you have probably noticed that most land is classified in one of two ways: It is either a buildable lot or a non-buildable lot. Depending on what you want to do with the property, you need to pick the right type before you make a purchase. For example, if you are just buying some land so that you can have lake access and you only want to camp on it, the lot does not need to be buildable at all. If you want to put up a cabin on the lake, though, you need to choose a different lot. What goes into determining how the lot can be used?
There are a few factors, and one of them is the proximity to the water. When you get near the lake – or close to a river, ocean, or any other body of water – you often have water underground as well. In some cases, it is deep enough that it makes no difference, but it can be a hazard in other cases. If the ground is saturated just two feet below the surface, there is no way that you can build there. You would not even have enough space to lay a foundation, and any building that was created on the site would be very unstable and prone to flooding.
Another thing that has to be considered is the rate of erosion. The underground water and the water in the lake can both eat away at the shoreline. Over time, the lake will expand. Now, this often takes hundreds of years, so you probably have nothing to worry about. However, if they find that the rate of erosion is too fast, they will not let you build. You cannot put up a house on a bluff that overlooks a lake if the bluff is going to collapse in ten years and dump the whole house into the water. This is a serious issue now with some older homes, so they are trying to prevent the same thing from happening with new ones.
To learn more about the lot, the inspectors will often use an Advanced Geosciences resistivity survey. This simple survey creates a map of what lies underground, and they can then consult the digital map to see where the water is located and it if is safe for anyone to build.