unsure about surveying: what does a surveyor do?

14/01/2019

So you’ve decided you like the idea of getting into the world of surveying, but are a little overwhelmed by all of the different types. Our short guide and infographic can help clarify a few points and hopefully encourage you to begin your career in surveying today. 

Surveying is a diverse profession. Not only will your time be split between office and field work, the tasks vary depending on which specialism you decide to adopt. There are several different pathways you can take if you’re looking to begin a career in surveying, but which one will suit you best?  

What does a quantity surveyor do?

The role of a quantity surveyor (QS) is to manage the costs of a large construction project, from start to finish. As a QS you will make sure that the project meets the minimum legal requirements and quality standards. You will also require negotiation skills as part of your role will be to find the most cost-effective option for your client. 

Quantity surveyor salary: After completing a quantity surveying degree, salaries start between £20k - £30k and can rise up to £45k - £65k for senior positions. 

Land surveyor jobs. 

Like the great outdoors? A land surveyor (also known as a geomatics surveyor) works on sites due for development. You’ll work in a range of different areas like airports, landfill sites, mines and quarries, completing boundary surveys for your client. The role of land or geomatics surveyors is one of the most technologically advanced in the sector and has a role in construction, offshore engineering and geographical information systems.

Salary: After earning land surveyor qualifications, your starting salary will fall in the region of  £20k - £25k. The average salary for an experienced quantity surveyor is £45k, rising up to £70k with the seniority of the job. 

What is a party wall surveyor?

A party wall surveyor’s role is to settle disagreements arising from The Party Wall Act 1996. The Act was created to resolve disputes between neighbours who share walls or boundaries. As a Party wall surveyor, you would carry out descriptive and photographic surveys of the adjoining owner’s properties, to ensure that there is no risk of damage during or after building works have taken place. 

The role doesn't actually require qualifications and anyone can accept the appointment so long as he or she is not 'a party to the matter' in dispute, however, it’s advantageous to have a good knowledge of The 1996 Act. If you are working for a surveying company, it is more likely that you will need a degree in a type of surveying. 

Party wall surveyor salary: An entry level job with little experience could earn you a salary between  £22k - £26k. With more experience, you could begin to earn in the region of £44k - £50k on average. 

Becoming a valuation surveyor.

As a valuation surveyor, you will be responsible for completing valuation and property surveys. As an expert in valuation and rating work, you would usually specialise in a specific type of property, for example, residential or commercial. 

This role is definitely one for the mathematically-minded, as your focus will be on finance rather than construction. Valuation surveyors are usually members of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Valuer Registration Scheme (VRS) which requires an annual assessment. Most valuation surveyors work for corporate residential surveying firms conducting home buyers surveys and reports, or for local authorities. 

Valuation surveyor salary: At entry level, you will earn £23k - £30k, with the average salary rising to £46k with experience. By gaining a RICS membership, you could earn £60k and a FRICS (fellow) membership could earn you up to £79,500.

What is a building surveyor?

Building surveyor jobs can involve all aspects of property and construction, from mixed-use developments to domestic extensions. Day to day tasks will involve completing building surveys, advising on management and repairing, maintaining and restoring commercial and domestic properties. 

As you will need to be an expert in construction and architectural design to become a building surveyor, a relevant course at university is recommended. If you’re aiming to specialise in structures you’ll also need a more in-depth knowledge of physics, and a degree in structural or civil engineering would be advantageous.  

Building surveyor salary: A graduate building surveyor will be paid in the region of £22k - £26k. Becoming a chartered building surveyor can boost your pay up to £44k on average. Managerial positions can get you up to £70k and for senior and partners/directors, the wage can be three figures. 

How to become a chartered surveyor. 

Whichever route you decide to take, it’s always worth getting accredited by The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to add a financial boost to the role. A chartered surveyor salary tends to be a considerably higher, plus you will benefit from the seminars, training and events that the professional body put on for its members. To do this, you will have to complete a RICS accredited degree or an accredited postgraduate course.