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Planning in Property - the pathway to a great career

Written by: Judith Portman
Published on: 24 Mar 2021

Freelance - Planning (March16)

As a Planning and development surveyor, you would be working on a wide range of projects from urban regeneration, through to having a hand in the interesting world of rural conservation – this is an ideal environment for you if you are passionate about the countryside. You would be involved in every stage of a project, from initial assessments and on to completion.

This will be a fitting role for you if you’re looking for a position offering plenty of variety and you’ll need great research skills, and be able to interpret a range of different sorts of information to assist in making decisions.

To get into this career, you will generally need a degree or professional qualification in surveying or a related subject, which has been accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

What daily activities can I expect?

Planning and development surveyors are responsible for assessing, designing and managing development projects in rural areas, as well as towns and cities.

Your role as a planning and development surveyor may include the following:

  • Regeneration of run-down housing estates.
  • Redevelopment of what used to be known as 'brownfield' or industrial sites.
  • Property conservation in both rural and urban areas.

You would be expected to be involved in every stage of activities, right from initial site assessments and on through to completion. Projects do vary quite widely, and so your duties could include some or all of the following:

  • Researching current market information such as land and property records.
  • Analysing figures with the use of appropriate software.
  • Evaluating whether presented plans are workable.
  • Demonstrating your recommendations to clients in a presentable manner.
  • Managing planning applications.
  • Establishing sources of finance from investment companies, funding bodies and development agencies.
  • Negotiating tenders and contracts.
  • Advising clients regarding financial and legal matters pertaining to things such as compulsory purchase orders.
  • Calculating what the likely impact of a development would be on an economic, social and environmental basis.

The role involves working closely with town planners, architects and construction experts. When a project is completed, there is the possibility you could undertake a marketing role, helping to promote the development site to those who may be interested.

What are the working hours and conditions?

Expect to work 35-40 hours per week, some of which may mean early starts, late finishes and working weekends, to ensure that deadlines are met.

Your working day could be split between the office and being on-site. Some contracts may involve being away from home, either overnight or on an extended basis.

What are the entry requirements?

A degree or professional qualification accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is necessary to work as a planning and development surveyor. Appropriate subjects include:

  • Surveying.
  • Business studies.
  • Economics.
  • Estate management.
  • Land and property development.

If your degree is non-accredited, a RICS' accredited postgraduate course in surveying will be necessary. This could be through an employer's graduate traineeship, or alternatively, through full-time study.

If you’re already working in property or construction, think about a distance-learning postgraduate conversion course through The College of Estate Management (CEM).

If you hold an HNC/HND or foundation degree in surveying or construction, you may work as a surveying technician, taking further training to fully qualify.

Is further training and development available?

Yes, indeed it is recommended that you continue updating your knowledge and skills all throughout your career. This would usually be by working towards Chartered status with the RICS or The Chartered Institute of Building's (CIOB) Faculty for Architecture and Surveying.

To qualify for RICS Chartered status, it’s necessary to complete the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) while working. You need at least two years' applicable post-graduate work experience and to attend an evaluation in front of a panel of assessors.

Your employer may ask you to take one or more of the following work-based qualifications:

NVQ Diploma Level 3 in Built Environment Development and Control Technical Support

NVQ 3 and 4 in Construction Contracting Operations

NVQ 3 and 4 in Surveying, Property and Maintenance.

What skills, interests and qualities do I need?
  • Superior communication, negotiation and presentation skills.
  • Strong STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
  • Understanding of local planning policies and procedures.
  • Enhanced research and computer skills.
  • Exceptional budget awareness and financial skills.
  • Ability to feel comfortable at networking.
  • Understanding of environmental and tenable development issues.
  • Enhanced report-writing skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team, dealing with a wide variety of people.

If you are interested in working within the planning sector within property - check out the current opportunities that are on our site.