Rotterdam School of Management

What does a building surveyor do?

Building surveyors offer professional advice on factors affecting existing buildings such as building defects, alterations, renovations and extensions, as well as on the design and construction of new buildings. They work mostly on site to monitor the performance of structures and devise ways to improve them or correct flaws in their design.

Surveyors work alongside local planning bodies, clients, construction workers and other professionals to ensure projects meet the relevant safety, sustainability and preservation standards.

Typical activities of the role include:

  • advising clients about building/property issues, which can include technical, financial, legal, environmental/sustainability, building regulation and restoration matters
  • undertaking building surveys.
  • monitoring the deterioration or defects of a property and offering advice on repair work
  • assessing the impact of unexpected damage on insurance, for example after a fire or flood
  • writing technical reports
  • negotiating the repair of work or a financial settlement if required
  • planning and overseeing building work on small projects that don’t require an architect
  • managing projects and/or multidisciplinary teams

While building surveyors are office based, they will make regular site visits and can work outside in all weathers. Building surveyors tend to work typical office hours, although extra hours may be required to meet report or project deadlines.

Typical employers of building surveyors:

  • Property firms
  • House builders and property developers
  • Housing associations
  • Local authorities
  • The civil service
  • Construction companies
  • Large corporate organisations that own or manage a lot of land, eg utility companies 

Qualifications and training required:

There are routes into a career as a building surveyor for both university graduates and school leavers. To get a graduate job as a building surveyor, you should have:

  • Undergraduate degree in building surveying 
  • or a postgraduate conversion course in building surveying.

Key skills for building surveyor:

  • Organisational skills and an eye for detail
  • Willingness to work outside in all conditions
  • Interest in and firm knowledge of the built environment, including building regulations and health and safety legislation
  • An understanding of how their recommendations will affect a construction project’s profitability
  • Relationship-building skills and a strong understanding of good customer service
  • IT skills, including knowledge of industry-specific software
  • Be analytically minded, with strong problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, both written and oral
  • Excellent project and time management skills
  • Teamworking skills

Recommended IBDP subjects needed to apply to university to study Surveying:

No specific IBDP subject requirements.