what is a building surveyor?

Building surveyors offer professional advice on construction matters affecting new buildings or maintaining existing properties. Unlike other surveying roles that are desk-bound, you will spend most of your days on building sites providing technical guidance to construction professionals or property owners.

In new constructions, a building surveyor points out flaws in the design that could hinder the house's functionality. Since you monitor the construction process, you can help to devise ways to improve performance.

Before construction, building surveyors assess the designs and help their clients achieve the intended function of the house. For instance, you can adapt the design plans to suit people with special needs.

You should also provide technical advice on the environmental impact of the construction. This includes recommending ways of improving energy efficiency and using sustainable building methods.

what is the role of a building surveyor?

As a building surveyor, you assist homeowners in keeping their property in the best condition for sale. Your role includes house inspection before a sale to determine the property's condition. When you identify defects, you can propose repairs and renovations to improve the home's market price. A building surveyor also helps acquire planning permissions for remodels and guides the construction crew on preserving historic buildings.

As a building surveyor, you will work alongside various construction professionals and clients in the public and private sectors. Sometimes, you also assist with contracting and estimating the costs for the building crew.

Would working as a building surveyor suit your interest in building law? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a building surveyor role.

building surveyor jobs

average salary of a building surveyor

According to National Careers, the average salary of a building surveyor at an entry-level position is £25,000 per year. The compensation package rises to £70,000 annually when you have additional qualifications and years of experience.

Apart from salaries, building surveyors enjoy monetary and non-monetary benefits like pension contributions, medical insurance and transport allowances. When you work extra hours in the evenings or weekends, your earnings include overtime pay or end-of-year bonuses.

how to increase the salary of a building surveyor

Your salary as a building surveyor often depends on your qualifications and experience level. At entry level, you have minimal experience and less transferable skills, which affects your compensation package. Your qualifications also determine your earnings. For instance, chartered building surveyors are likely to earn more due to their additional certification.

The company for which you work also determines your salary. For instance, small and medium-sized companies are likely to pay less than multinational construction or property development companies.

Working for the private sector also has numerous perks, including higher salaries and multiple benefits compared to the public sector. If your earnings are based on the projects you undertake, you will earn more if you work on significant projects.

Close up - Smiling male looking away.
Close up - Smiling male looking away.

types of building surveyors

Types of building surveyors include:

  • public building surveyor: when you work for the local government, you ensure that public buildings meet the required standards according to building laws. For instance, you need to ensure the plans have wheelchair access and don't compromise safety standards. You also maintain historical buildings under the government.
  • private building surveyor: as a corporate building surveyor, your work depends on the employer. You can assist homeowners with maintenance and repairs that need planning permissions in residential properties. You also evaluate the plans to ensure that they meet all functionality requirements.

working as a building surveyor

If you enjoy working in the construction industry, you will probably fancy working as a building surveyor. Let's explore the work schedules and primary duties in the role.

building surveyor job responsibilities

Your role as a building surveyor involves multiple tasks, including:

  • building inspections: as a building surveyor, it is crucial to ensure that buildings are safe. You will carry out internal and structural inspections, including electrical and plumbing works, to determine if a building meets set safety standards.
  • making sure buildings are energy efficient: a building surveyor’s role is to make certain that construction projects or residential properties conform to the required energy standards. You can also recommend sustainable construction methods to protect the environment.
  • getting the proper paperwork for construction projects: clients rely on building surveyors to obtain all the necessary construction documentation. That means that you will assist with planning permission, maintenance agreements and demolition licenses.
  • planning and overseeing minor remodels: sometimes, you are responsible for remodelling or demolition projects. Minor projects that don't need an architect can use the skills of a building surveyor to create the plans and oversee the work.

work environment

As a building surveyor, your work is at the office or on site. When you prepare building plans, review designs or do property searches, you can work from the office. You also host consultations and client meetings in your office.

While office work is crucial, you spend most of the days outdoors. You will visit different homes for consultations or inspections before remodelling or renovation. Building surveyors also work on construction sites to review structures and recommend methods of improving the functionality of buildings. When working on site, you need to wear a hard hat and other protective clothing.

who are your colleagues?

As a building surveyor, the people with whom you work will be dependent on your field. Your colleagues may be quantity surveyors, construction managers and contracts managers. You will also work in close proximity to project managers and architects, as well as other specialists who could include civil engineers, estate agents and property valuers.

work schedule

You can become a full-time or part-time building surveyor. Full-time building surveyors work the standard office hours from 9am to 5pm. You also have to meet with clients when they are free, which means that you could work on weekends when your clients aren't going to work themselves.

You are likely to work more than 40 hours a week unless it's a part-time position. Freelance work and short-term contracts are also common for building surveyors. Your job involves a lot of travelling, including meeting with contractors and clients out of town.

job outlook

As a building surveyor, your career progression depends on the sector in which you work, whether it is real estate, residential construction, public or corporate companies. You can move between various government facilities in public positions before landing a senior role. The corporate environment usually provides a structured career progression from entry-level positions to managerial roles.

When you have chartered status, your professional qualifications are recognised worldwide. Hence, working abroad in large multinationals is a possibility. Some building surveyors also specialise in construction and take up other roles like project or construction manager.

advantages of finding a building surveyor job through Randstad

Finding your building surveyor job through Randstad provides important advantages such as:

Want a permanent contract? A temporary job as a building surveyor is often a stepping stone to an attractive permanent job. Every year, thousands of people earn a permanent contract with great employers thanks to a temporary job found through Randstad. What's more, many companies recruit their permanent employees through Randstad, too!


education and skills

Wondering how to become a building surveyor? You need these qualifications:

  • university: you can become a building surveyor by undertaking an undergraduate programme certified by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Some of the relevant courses to pursue include construction management, civil engineering, building engineering and surveying. Alternatively, pursue a postgraduate qualification in surveying if you have a degree in another subject. The conversion course could be a postgraduate diploma or master's degree.
  • apprenticeship: depending on the qualifications  that you gained at school, you may be able to become a building surveyor through an advanced apprenticeship or higher degree apprenticeship. Joining the training helps you to acquire relevant skills and knowledge for the role as you work towards a chartered surveyor status.
  • certifications: when you have a degree or postgraduate qualifications, you can aim for a chartered surveyor status. You need to complete the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) and register with RICS.

skills and competencies

The following skills and competencies are necessary for a building surveyor:

  • critical thinking: as a building surveyor, your job is to identify potential problems from a building's structure or design. You need critical thinking skills to analyse the building plans, evaluate the structure and find ways to improve its functionality. You are also in charge of property appraisal before remodelling.
  • people skills: as a building surveyor you will be communicating with various people, from clients to construction professionals and other surveyors. Hence, you need people skills to build friendly and positive professional relationships. People skills also help you to settle legal disputes and clearly explain various building features.
  • computer skills: a building surveyor’s job involves creating building plans and layouts using computer-aided designs. Computer skills will come in handy when preparing the plans or preparing contracts for your clients.
  • leadership skills: building surveyors have a supervisory role that includes guiding the construction or renovation crew to complete tasks. Having leadership skills can help you to inspire and motivate your teams to be productive. You also need leadership skills when advising clients on the best plans or practices for various projects.
two colleagues talking while walking
two colleagues talking while walking


FAQs about working as a building surveyor

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