Building surveyors are professionally qualified specialists in different aspects of building construction, including:
- The safety and condition of existing buildings
- Structural integrity requirements for different types of buildings
- Local municipal or other governmental regulations
- Repairs, restoration and demolition.
Building surveyors are vital members of the project team, and may be brought in as independent and unbiased experts. Typical work activities involve advising and preparing documentation on building design and addressing statutory and regulatory requirements.
Surveyors also address defects in existing construction, and list requirements for renovations, bringing non-compliant construction up to code and assessing legal and financial liabilities in a nod to the health and safety brigade.
More exotic tasks include the restoration and conservation of old, historic and heritage structures.
Salary & benefits
Entry-level salaries range between £18,000 and £25,000. Building surveyors with ‘chartered’ status earn upwards of £30,000, while those with more than five years of experience can expect salaries upwards of £50,000.
Generally, standard benefits such as pension, healthcare, life assurance and lifestyle benefits are provided. Those based in and around London receive larger compensation packages, given the increased costs of living.
Expect to be working extra hours, or on weekends and holidays during tight project deadlines.
Frequent travelling is also necessary, so flexibility and adaptability in moving locations and handling dynamic work situations is crucial, especially in cases of non-compliance or liabilities arising out of negligence, construction defects or health and safety issues.
Academic requirements are more or less similar to those required for quantity surveyors: an accredited 2.1 or higher RICS or CIOB degree, or a regular degree followed by an accredited conversion course.
Other important skills are commercial awareness, creative and logical thinking, good communication and organisational skills, people management, and general business skills.
Most construction and property development companies offer annual graduate entry programmes, industrial work experience and vacation placements.
Completing a placement while still studying in a degree programme adds weight to your CV and paves the way to securing a full time position after graduation.
Training & progression
Initial training takes place over a two year period and includes hands-on training and preparations for completing the APC. Career progression depends upon performance, skills development and fulfilling continuing education and certification requirements.
It also depends upon the size of the employer, extent of business operations and existing organisational structure.
For example, large construction companies with a significant overseas presence or project experience can provide international opportunities for high-performing individuals.