Building surveyors advise on various aspects of construction, maintenance, alteration and repair of residential and commercial properties.
Also known as
- Construction Surveyor
- Surveyor, Building
- Building Control Surveyor
Video: - Nishil: Building Surveyor
Building surveyors advise on the technical, legal and financial aspects of construction projects. This includes:
- alteration and repair.
Projects range from the design and construction of new buildings to the restoration of ancient monuments.
In building maintenance and renovation, building surveyors are qualified to inspect the quality of a property by identifying any problems that may affect the structure of the building, such as dry rot or damp.
If they detect any faults while conducting a survey, surveyors are required to locate the cause and provide a solution to prevent any further problems occurring.
Building surveyors also work out rebuilding costs for insurance purposes. This activity is very similar to the type of work that may be carried out by a valuation surveyor, who inspects residential property for buyers and sellers.
Building surveyors, carrying out work on new buildings, play an important role in the process of construction from beginning to completion. They play a key role in the design element. They also work closely with other professionals such as contractors, architects and engineers while on-site.
During the construction process, building surveyors tend to have a project management role by visiting sites and making sure that the whole process is running to plan and is completed to a high standard.
When carrying out site work, building surveyors must observe health and safety regulations.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As a building surveyor, you'll need:
- An interest in buildings and how they're built.
- Good communication skills, as you'll be dealing with clients and other construction professionals.
- Strong leadership qualities.
- To be well organised.
- Good problem-solving skills.
- Experience of using computer-aided design (CAD) software.
- Numeracy, design and technology, and information technology skills.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
Building surveyors earn in the range of £21,000 - £26,000, rising to £34,000 - £45,000 with experience. Salaries of over £60,000 are possible for senior positions.
Hours of work
Most work around 35-40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, you may have early starts and late finishes and you may need to work some weekends.
Where could I work?
Employers include central and local government, construction and property companies, surveying companies and banks, building societies and insurance companies.
Opportunities for building surveyors occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Opportunities occur for building surveyors to work independently, or as a partner with other specialists, in professional practice.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
You usually enter this career by doing a degree in building surveying. Or, you can do a degree in any subject and then do an accredited postgraduate course.
You don't always need a degree related to surveying to become a surveyor. Degrees in other subjects will often be acceptable. People with communication and business skills are highly sought after by this profession.
There are also some HNDs, HNCs and foundation degrees available in subjects related to building surveying and building in general. Check very carefully to make sure that they could lead to accredited degrees.
An Advanced, Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship is also great place to start. Take a look at the Subject Section to see what apprenticeship subjects are available.
Previous experience working in construction or planning would be really useful for this career.
Following the education stage, you will receive training on-the-job. To become a fully qualified member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), you'll need to undertake at least two years' structured learning whilst in employment. Full members of the RICS are given chartered status. This is the highest level of competence in a profession.
There are a number of postgraduate courses related to surveying available in the UK.
Experienced surveyors can move into senior roles, such as chief surveyor. Some surveyors become self-employed.
To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A* - C, including English and Maths, and possibly two A Levels.
To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.
To enter an accredited degree course in building surveying, you will usually need:
- 2/3 A level
- GCSEs at grade C or above in your A level subjects.
- A further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and Maths. A science subject may be preferred.
Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:
- Edexcel (BTEC) Level 3 National qualifications.
- The International Baccalaureate Diploma.
However, entry requirements for different courses vary, so check university prospectuses for more details.
You can also enter this career with an HND or foundation degree. To enter a relevant course, you will usually need:
- 1 A level.
- A GCSE at grade C or above in your A level subject.
- A further 3/4 GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and Maths.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Late entrants usually have skills gained in a related field, such as construction or planning.
Adult entrants can progress as technical members (AssocRICS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in.
These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.
If you are a graduate without an accredited degree, you can take a two-year postgraduate conversion course in surveying. Preference may be given to those with a related degree subject, such as construction or building.
The College of Estate Management and Heriot Watt University offer postgraduate degrees in Building Surveying, by distance learning.
Some people enter junior positions via a Surveying Advanced Level Apprenticeship.
- 5% of surveyors work part-time.
- 19% have flexible hours.
- 6% work on a temporary basis.
Professional institutionsProfessional institutions have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
The RICS is the main professional institution for people working in surveying careers.
Local government vacancies
myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies
Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
Address: Englemere, Kings Ride, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7TB
Tel: 01344 630700
Skills for the construction industry
Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH
National Heritage Training Group (NHTG)
Address: Carthusian Court, 12 Carthusian Street, London EC1M 6EZ
Tel: 01342 326171
Construction Employers Federation (CEF)
Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU
Tel: 028 9087 7143
Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH
Tel: 0844 5768777
Tel: 0344 994 4010
Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)
Address: Lutyens House, Billing Brook Road, Weston Favell, Northampton NN3 8NW
Tel: 01604 404121
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Address: RICS HQ, Parliament Square, London SW1P 3AD
Tel: 0870 3331600
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Scotland
Address: 9 Manor Place, Edinburgh EH3 7DN
Tel: 0131 2257078
Chartered Surveyors Training Trust (CSTT)
Address: 6-8 Gunnery Terrace, The Royal Arsenal, London SE18 6SW
Tel: 020 7871 0454
University College of Estate Management (UCEM)
Address: Whiteknights, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AW
Tel: 0800 0199697
Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES)
Address: Dominion House, Sibson Road, Sale, Cheshire M33 7PP
Tel: 0161 9723100
Surveying Your Future?
Publisher: Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES)
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844
Become a Surveyor
The Survey Association