What is a Surveyor?

Did you know that surveyors are involved throughout the lifecycle of buildings and construction projects? From purchasing the land, to planning and monitoring the construction and managing the finished building. They are even involved in a building’s final demolition decades later! 


But what do they actually do?


In 2021, there was a total of 67,500 surveyors in the UK; all of who play a central role in shaping the world around us. From the houses you live in, to the buildings you work in and the hotels you stay in, these were all overseen by surveyors!
Surveyors play a key role in developing new high-tech, sustainable cities, tackling climate change and solving global issues like urbanization, migration and resource capacity. They are highly-trained property professionals who offer expert advice on the value and condition of buildings. Within the UK, they are usually members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). When a surveyor becomes chartered, this means that they have achieved the ‘gold standard’ of professional competence.
What do surveyors do?
What surveyors do depends on the type of survey they commission. There are three separate surveys:
  • Condition Report
    • These are straightforward surveys carried out in relatively modern houses where no major problems are anticipated. The construction and condition of properties will be described with a clear traffic light system with green requiring no action, amber for defects that require repair but aren’t urgent and red for urgent and serious problems.
  • Homebuyer Report
    • A homebuyer report is a standard format inspection and report carried out by a Chartered Surveyor. This includes everything that is in a condition report but is more extensive. The report will also include a budget for any repairs along with advice on future maintenance.
  • Building Survey
    • This is the most thorough report done by a Surveyor. They report on the condition of the property and are carried out by chartered surveyors. Building Surveys aim to describe how the property is built along with the materials used. It also includes the visible defects as well as potential problems which are caused by hidden flaws.
Surveyors carry out visual inspections of all parts of a building that can easily be seen or reached. They are unlikely to look under floorboards to check heating pipes or remove electrical fittings. However, if a longer and more detailed inspection is needed, a surveyor is likely to inspect roof spaces and lift manholes.
What Surveyors don’t do 
However, if a surveyor does pick up on a potential problem, further investigation is required but won’t be carried out by them. For example, if there is a problem with switches or plugs, further inspection would need to be carried out by an electrician, not a surveyor. Similarly, a structural engineer may be needed to look at subsidence problems involving the potential movement of the roof or walls.
How do you become a surveyor?
To qualify as a Chartered Surveyor, you need to complete a degree accredited by the RICS. After this, you will then spend time in employment undergoing your assessment of professional competence (APC). You are granted membership of RICS after your APC final assessment.
If the university lifestyle is for you, there are plenty of courses at UK universities that cover land, property and construction that are accredited by RICS. Therefore, there are surveying courses suited for you – no matter where you want to study or what your ambitions are.
Surveying options at University 
Surveying related university courses are hugely varied. They cover many subjects including:
  • Environment and Sustainable Development
  • Real Estate Management
  • Building Surveying
  • Geospatial Science
  • Commercial Property
  • Construction Management
  • Spatial Planning
  • City Planning and Design
  • Urban Studies
  • Architectural Technology
  • City and Regional Planning
  • Property Investment
  • Management Consultancy
If you’ve already completed an undergraduate degree, there are plenty of postgraduate degrees to become part of the global profession.
Apprenticeships are also another recognised route to becoming a surveyor. Apprenticeships are an effective way of learning as instead of always being in a classroom, you learn on the job. There are many benefits of a surveying apprenticeship including:
  • Earning whilst you study
    • Whilst you study and work on the job, you will also be paid. There are no tuition fees or student loans.
  • Learning new skills
    • Rather than learning 100% in a classroom, you learn new skills on the job and build  your professional network
  • Qualification
    • You will earn an industry-recognised qualification that can be used around the world
  • Opens a door
    • An apprenticeship in surveying opens the door to diverse and exciting ranges of surveying careers.
Interested in a surveying career or looking for a new opportunity? Check out the jobs we have available below!

Rural Surveyor

Location: Oxford
Rewards: £25,000 – £45,000 DOE, Hybrid, Bonus, Enhanced pension contribution, company benefits package, huge career progression

Rural Surveyor

Location: Seven Sisters
Rewards: £35,000 – £50,000 DOE, Hybrid, Bonus, Enhanced pension contribution, company benefits package, huge career progression
Senior Building Surveyor
Location: Oxfordshire
Rewards: £45,000 – £55,000, agile working philosophy, bonus scheme, professional memberships, employee assistance Programme 35 days holiday (inclusive of bank holidays and your birthday), workplace pension scheme