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Rising to the challenge: the best way to find your perfect Building Surveying role.

Written by: Judith Portman
Published on: 26 Apr 2016

    Freelance - Building Surveying (March 2016)q

    Surveying is an appealing career path and its diversity is probably one of the most exciting aspects of gaining a foothold in this profession. Covering almost every aspect of land, property and construction, you can choose from a wide variety of career options sure to quench your thirst for ascending the career ladder.

    It doesn’t matter which field you’re interested in, you’ll find your perfect role in one of seventeen areas of professional expertise, spread across 3 important sectors, covering land, property and construction.

    Unbelievably, everything connected to these sectors represent a massive 70% of global wealth! That's how potentially important surveyors are, not only in maintaining our current lifestyles, but also in protecting the planet and learning how to unlock the potential value of both land and mineral reserves from the earth.

    Surveying is essential to our everyday lives, and represents the physical foundations for our global economy. As such, the role of a chartered surveyor is super-important and you’re about to springboard yourself into a highly worthwhile and exciting career.

    You could work with local authorities, construction and engineering firms, building conservation bodies and specialist surveying practices. Progression options include project/senior management, partnership in a private practice, becoming self-employed as a consultant, or working in building control.

    What can I expect?

    The focus is usually on three main areas of surveying, legal work, and planning and inspection. Daily activities could include:

    • Surveying properties to identify structural faults, and making recommendations for getting repairs implemented.
    • Following a fire or flood you may need to assess ensuing damage for insurance purposes.
    • Finding out those who are responsible for repair costs.
    • Assisting and advising clients on various property issues such as boundary disputes.
    • Acting as an advocate or supporter to your clients, becoming an expert witness if necessary during varied legal proceedings.
    • Inspecting properties, ensuring they’re in line with current building regulations, as well as any applicable fire safety and accessibility standards set down by various governing bodies.
    • Correctly handling planning applications and dealing with applications for both improvement and conservation grants.

    As you progress, other duties could include supervising and being responsible for a surveying team.

    Do I have what it takes to rise to the challenge?

    To qualify as a building surveyor you need to complete a degree, accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Following, there will be a period of professional development training. Accredited RICS courses are available in these subjects:

    • Surveying.
    • Construction.
    • Civil engineering.
    • Building engineering.

    If your degree is not RICS accredited, you will need to complete a postgraduate course in surveying, either through a graduate training scheme, or by studying full-time at a RICS-accredited university. If already working in engineering or construction, it’s possible to take a distance-learning postgraduate conversion course through The College of Estate Management (CEM).

    If you hold an HNC/HND/foundation degree in surveying or construction, you may be able to begin as a surveying technician, gaining more qualifications to become a qualified building surveyor.

    There are employers who offer the opportunity to train and learn more on a degree apprenticeship programme. This route will allow you to work while studying part-time for your degree.

    Further training and development

    It’s expected for you to continue your professional development, working towards achieving coveted chartered status. This can be through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or The Chartered Institute of Building's (CIOB) Faculty for Architecture and Surveying.

    When you hold an RICS-accredited qualification, you can go on to complete the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), meaning a period of supervised practical training, building your professional knowledge and skills as you progress. Postgraduate experience may last 2-6 years before passing the APC, leading to chartered status.

    The CIOB has a variety of pathways to chartered membership, depending on your qualifications and experience. You could work through a Professional Development Programme (normally 2-3 years,) followed by a Professional Review.

    In conclusion

    To be a successful building surveyor, you should have:

    • Excellent problem-solving skills.
    • Superior STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
    • Ability to work to a high degree of accuracy and interpret data.
    • Excellent negotiation, communication and presentation skills.
    • Ability to effectively prioritise and plan.
    • Understanding of client’s needs.
    • Commitment to continuing your professional development.
    • Ability to work as part of a team.
    • Comprehensive knowledge of building regulations.
    • Understanding of planning legislation, as well as health and safety regulations.
    • Language skills may be useful should you wish to work with overseas clients.

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