Building Surveyor

Every local authority has considerable investment in real estate (land, property and buildings) which has to be managed by the chartered surveyor. When you see wheelchair access being called for in a public building or planning permission being sought for the erection of a supermarket on public land, the surveyor will be at the heart of the matter. There is a specialist surveyor to cover each of the following functions:

  • building;
  • quantity;
  • land measurement;
  • valuation;
  • planning and development;
  • technical surveys to support the chartered surveyor.

The first of these, building surveyors, are responsible for maintenance, repair and improvement of all property owned by the council and the post can be found in every type of authority. They are part of the Building Consultancy Service.

Work Environment
Surveyors spend around half of their time on outdoor sites and attending external meetings and also work in an office writing reports, dealing with administration and preparing plans. Protective clothing is provided for site visits.

Daily Activities
Building surveyors work in a team monitoring and maintaining council property. They specialise in the maintenance of council properties ensuring that all the public assists are in a good state of repair, are fit for the purpose of delivering service and are legislatively compliant. They work to the head of building consultancy services and under the guidance of the principal surveyor to ensure an effective and economic service for the citizens of the local area. This will entail giving advice about associated legislation within a framework of customer satisfaction. The use of computer based software is a major part of the work. Building surveyors have full responsibility for:

  • assessing building condition and providing detailed specifications for works in association; 
  • inspecting building work and taking action in respect of: contract management, legislative compliance, demolitions, scaffolding and hoarding, fire/energy, other public safety issues and access for disabled people; 
  • marketing and promoting the service; 
  • writing detailed, accurate records and reports; 
  • implementing new initiatives designed to improve quality of service; 
  • participating in staff development appraisals; 
  • training new recruits to building surveyor or technician jobs; 
  • being on hand to provide any 'out of office hours' service dealing with major emergencies.

Skills & Interests
To do this job well you must have/be:

  • a dynamic person who is well organised and able to manage own time and workloads and meet deadlines; 
  • good interpersonal skills, be able to work on own initiative; 
  • communication and customer skills; 
  • able to work under pressure; 
  • good keyboard skills; 
  • a working knowledge of the building regulations and associated legislation;
  • a working knowledge of databases; 
  • enthusiastic, self motivated, flexible, polite and helpful towards customers; 
  • a proactive approach to the development of new techniques; 
  • able to work harmoniously in a team.

Entry Requirements
Minimum entry requirements are a BTEC/SQA HNC/D in a relevant subject such as property, the built environment or construction.  Or, you should hold or be working towards either a construction related degree or recognised construction related qualification.  You should have at least one year's experience of working within a building surveying office and be confident in the use of Microsoft Office applications and preferably have a working knowledge of AutoCAD and NBS.  Some colleges offer Apprenticeships in Building Surveying.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
Surveyors are widely employed throughout local government and there are many opportunities for specialisation in other branches of the job, particularly in larger authorities. You can step up the grades within the post with further qualification and experience The next step up is principal surveyor. Professional training leads towards corporate membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  Other posts to look towards are Surveying Technician, Architect and Architectural Technologist.

Further Information & Services
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists
Construction Skills
Apprenticeship information

Careers Wales have produced Spotlight articles on careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths): and careers in construction:  

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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