Working in the construction industry is an exciting prospect for those who enjoy jobs about detail, building reports and sharing their expertise on buildings. The building surveyor's role is varied, working on numerous building types, across locations and with different clients.
Being a building surveyor provides an opportunity to be a part of large projects and see the process of buildings being repaired, restored or working on preventative measures. It’s a technical role, ensuring buildings are preserved and kept in a strong condition.
What is a building surveyor?
A building surveyor is a varied and technical role. You will advise many clients from property professionals to property owners on maintenance, technical elements, construction, design or repair for many property types.
Building surveyors are an expert for advice. They offer professional advice affecting existing buildings including renovations and extensions, building defects, as well as design for the new buildings. It’s mainly an onsite role, monitoring structure performances and thinking of ways to improve existing designs.
As part of the role, you’ll complete building surveys (detailed reports) with your advice on what’s been identified and how to repair, maintain or restore the issue.
The projects you’ll be involved in can include existing buildings, the development of new ones, or buildings with significant historical appeal. For existing buildings, you can look into preventive measures to keep them in good condition and for both old and new, look to create more sustainable initiatives.
The role of building surveyors is for graduates. You typically require a degree or professional qualification approved by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Building surveyors have a team player attitude. They work alongside clients, construction workers, planning bodies and other surveyors to ensure the projects meet all the necessary safety and preservation standards.
- Advising clients on projects and determining the requirements.
- Manage and ensure projects are completed to schedule and budget.
- Identify existing building conditions and propose a plan for repair or restoration.
- Prepare scheme designs with a plan for the cost and project.
- Organise the various documents needed for building projects, including contractors.
- Advice on the sustainable impact of the building project, including energy efficiency.
- Advice on the supervision and management of maintaining buildings.
- Instructing on how is best to preserve or conserve historical buildings.
- Assess buildings and how they meet the needs of those with disabilities.
- Advise on property legislation, and building regulations and deal with planning applications effectively.
- Assess damage on properties for insurance purposes.
- Advise on health and safety for buildings.
- Prepare the insurance assessments and claims.
- Be an expert witness for legal proceedings.
- Establish and understand who is responsible for building repair costs.
- Advise clients on various issues including property boundary disputes.
As a significant role in the restoration or creation of a building, building surveyors have varied responsibilities. They include:
The building surveyor's salary can vary on experience, level and location, with higher wages in London. On average, the chartered surveyor's salary is around £45,571.25 annually. Building surveyor trainees or those with minimal experience can expect around the £27,000 mark, whilst the most experienced building surveyors can earn up to £70,000.
To reach a higher salary, you’ll need to work your way up the career ladder into a senior management or project management role. Alternatively, to increase your salary above the national average, you can work as a consultant or for your private practice. As a self-employed worker, what you earn is based on your set rates.
Building surveyors also can expect additional benefits including bonuses, company cars and pensions.
The role of building surveyors is for graduates. You typically require a degree or professional qualification approved by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). These subjects can include surveying degrees, construction degrees, and civil engineering, and any other construction-related subjects. Other subjects will provide relevant knowledge including mathematics degrees, economics degrees, geography degrees, languages degrees and urban and land studies degrees.
Studying a relevant degree accredited by RICS will qualify you to take the training and become a chartered surveyor. Although, if your degree is unrelated or isn’t accredited, you can take an RICS-accredited Master's degree, leading you onto chartered training. To study your postgraduate qualification, you can either do it within your university or through work, where some employers may be able to help you with funding.
The Chartered Surveyors Training Trust provides support to those training to become qualified surveyors, regardless of their social, academic or financial circumstances.
If you prefer to study whilst you work, an apprenticeship is a great solution.
If you are gaining a relevant foundation degree to a higher national diploma (HND) at a surveying technician level, you may be able to gain further qualifications through your role. This is all down to your employer and the in-house training opportunities offered.
Training and development
As a graduate building surveyor, if you’ve completed either a degree or Master's accredited by the RICS, then the next level is your chartered status. You can achieve this via the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), a work-based training scheme, that takes around two-three years. It includes on-the-job learning and meeting with a supervisor for assessments. When you’ve completed the APC, it can lead to RICS membership and your chartered surveyor status.
When it comes to continuing professional development (CPD), this is key for a building surveyor. You need to maintain practice standards and professional competencies. RICS are one of the professional bodies which can help support CPD with their range of training courses available. These courses range from technical topics to leadership and personal development.
Becoming a member of a professional body like RICS will also help with CPD because you’ll have access to a network of professional colleagues and professional journals, and further insight.
- A logical mind and practical approach to working.
- Strong technical knowledge of the building sector.
- The ability to develop long-lasting relationships with your team and clients.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- The ability to negotiate, present to others and report.
- Be able to identify problems and come up with solutions.
- Confident in yourself to take on high levels of responsibility with enthusiasm.
- A driver's licence to help you get from various sites.
- Confident with using a computer including computer-aided design (CAD).
- Knowledge of the building and construction industry.
- The ability to ensure you're adding value to client’s businesses or buildings.
- The ability to use your initiative.
As a building surveyor, you’ll be collaborating with other professionals and offering your expertise on improvements to new and existing buildings. This job requires the following skills:
If you prefer to study whilst you work, an apprenticeship is a great solution. There are various building surveying apprenticeship types from a surveying technician apprenticeship at level 3 to a chartered surveyor degree apprenticeship at level 6. These building surveying apprenticeships will help you gain your qualification and acquire hands-on skills for the role, and build your career. RICS has more information about building surveyor apprenticeships.
For building surveying graduates with this type of degree, you will already have completed a year in the industry which gives you an advantage over other candidates looking for the same job role. For further experience, there are many ways to gain it during your holidays whilst studying. You can apply for internships or work placements in relevant organisations. Internships can vary in length up to a year and are a great asset for your CV.
The career path of a building surveyor is endless, depending on what you’re looking to achieve long term. If working within the public sector, whether that’s for the local authorities or hospital trusts, you have the opportunity to go up the ladder into a more senior position. These can include managerial or technical positions with a higher level of responsibility.
You will advise many clients from property professionals to property owners on maintenance, technical elements, construction, design or repair for many property types.
Surveying jobs have the option with experience to progress into full project management. This can involve being responsible for the entire planning process including the control and coordination of the products from beginning to end. When successful in project management, it can lead you to become a department head or even a manager. Alternatively, if working privately, you can become a director within a private practice.
Further along in your career, there’s the option to specialise in certain areas and reach an expert-level status. This can be something like sustainability or working on a particular sector including residential.
The other option once reaching your chartered status is to set up your private practice or go self-employed as a consultant. This self-employed route puts you in full control of your career.
- Building Surveyor Salary — Check-A-Salary.co.uk Retrieved 9 September 2022.