Technical roles in Surveying; how varied are they?

Written by: Judith Portman
Published on: 10 May 2016

Freelance - Technical Surveying (March16)

Technical surveyors, (also known as surveying technicians,) carry out work supporting chartered surveyors. There’s a wide range of duties you could be responsible for, from drafting building design plans and mapping land use, through to making land and property valuations and even managing property auctions.

This might be an ideal career choice for you if you’re well-organised and can work in a methodical manner. It’s also perfect if you’re looking for a job which is both practical and varied. You’ll never be bored in this role! For example, working in the land sector is very varied: one day you may be advising landowners on a wind turbine scheme, the next, working with a Local Authority on development schemes or even monitoring wildlife conservation areas.

What should I expect from?

As a technical surveyor, (or surveying technician,) you’ll be responsible for a range of tasks supporting chartered surveyors, architects and engineers. The work covers all areas encompassing surveying, including land, building, quantity, planning, general practice and minerals.

Your duties will differ according to your area of work, but will include some of the following:

  • Drafting plans, using CAD (computer-aided design,) software.
  • Estimating and drawing up project costs. (Remember the definition of ‘estimate’ is ‘an approximate calculation or judgement of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something’, but this will still be expected to be as accurate as possible.)
  • Gathering and analysing applicable data, using it as the basis for preparing plans and reports.
  • Assisting in environmental impact evaluations.
  • Surveying buildings and mapping land use. The ability to correctly use precision measuring instruments is essential.
  • Valuing land, property and machinery for sale, purchase, taxation and insurance purposes, so it’s essential to keep abreast of latest price rises and drops, both locally and nationally.
  • Arranging auctions when it becomes necessary for an individual or company to sell assets.
  • Supervising construction crews while out on site.
  • Organising operative’s workloads and monitoring the progress of, (sometimes multiple,) projects.

You may undertake various admin duties, for example, writing up of reports for both managers and clients, as well as putting together contracts, tenders and bids for different projects.

What are the entry requirements?

There are various avenues to follow to become a technical surveyor.

Some employers, (surveying practices or construction firms,) may offer opportunities to train on a degree apprenticeship programme. The range of apprenticeships will vary by area and will depend on the local jobs market, and also the kind of skills employers are looking for. This route allows you to gain practical experience working, while also studying part-time for your degree.

Another route is to take a further education college course, learning skills necessary for the job. Courses relevant to this sector include:

Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment.

Level 3 Diploma in Civil Engineering for Technicians.

You can take higher education qualifications, including a foundation degree, HNC/HND in construction, surveying or civil engineering.

The Chartered Surveyors Training Trust (CSTT) offers annual surveying traineeships with ongoing support for suitable applicants.

When you are working, you can take further training to improve your prospects of forging ahead in your career. The qualifications you’ll be able to take could include:

  • Level 3 (NVQ) Diploma in Surveying, Property and Maintenance.
  • Level 3 (NVQ) Diploma in Geomatics and Site Surveying.
  • Level 3 (NVQ) Diploma in Built Environment Design.
  • Level 3 (NVQ) Diploma in Building Control Technical Support.

If you don’t hold a RICS-approved degree but have professional membership of a related institution, (The Chartered Institute of Building, for example,) then you may be able to register for the Associate Assessment administered by RICS, which can take up to a year to complete, leading to the AssocRICS qualification and membership. This may help if you’re working towards a chartered surveyor qualification.

The College of Estate Management (CEM) offers a wide range of qualifications through distance learning. Some courses require you to have a relevant work placement.

Where could I work?

  • Central or local government.
  • Construction firms.
  • Surveying companies.
  • Financial institutions.
  • Auction houses.
  • Antique and art dealerships.
  • Self-employment as a consultant.
  • Partnership with a chartered surveyor.
  • Managerial roles.
  • Town planner or wayleave officer jobs, negotiating land purchase and access arrangements for utility companies.
Skills, interests and qualities needed:
  • Good problem-solving, communication and negotiating skills.
  • Excellent maths skills.
  • Superior IT skills, (especially for CAD work.)
  • Be methodical in your work approach.
  • Ability to organise your workload.
  • Understanding of Building Regulations and other relevant legislation.
  • Great technical ability.

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