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Building surveyor

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Building surveyors advise clients about the design, construction, maintenance and repair of buildings.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £70,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need to complete a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredited degree course, like surveying, construction, civil engineering, or building engineering, followed by professional development training.

If you have a non-RICS accredited degree, you’ll need to take a postgraduate course in surveying. You could do this through:

  • a company's graduate training scheme
  • studying full-time at an RICS-accredited university
  • taking a distance learning postgraduate conversion course (if you’re already working in engineering)

If you have an HNC, HND or foundation degree in surveying or construction, you may be able to start working as a surveying technician and then take further qualifications.

Some employers may also offer a degree apprenticeship programme.

The RICS has  more information about surveying careers and accredited degree programmes.

2. Skills required

You’ll work with clients ranging from homeowners to large commercial and industrial companies.

You’ll need:

  • good problem-solving skills
  • the ability to work to a high degree of accuracy
  • the ability to interpret data
    strong communication, negotiation and presentation skills
  • the ability to prioritise and plan effectively

Language skills might also be useful if you want to work overseas, or for a company with international clients.

3. What you'll do

You’ll work in surveying, legal work, and planning and inspection.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • surveying properties, identifying structural faults and making recommendations for repairs
  • assessing damage for insurance purposes
  • establishing who’s responsible for building repair costs
  • advising clients on issues like property boundary disputes
  • acting as a client’s supporter or acting as an expert witness during legal proceedings
  • checking properties to make sure they meet building regulations, and fire safety and accessibility standards
  • dealing with planning applications and with improvement or conservation grants

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £26,000

Experienced: £28,000 to £40,000

Highly Experienced: up to £70,000

Partners and directors could earn more.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

Your time will be split between office and site work. 

Some contracts may involve spending periods of time away from home. 

A driving licence may be required.

Site work takes place in all weather conditions, and you may have to work on dangerous structures and at height.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into project or senior management.

You could go into partnership in private practice, or become self-employment as a consultant.

You could also move into a related field, like building control.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018