Is building surveying the right career for you?

Considering a career as a building surveyor? Here’s what you need to know

If you are organised and analytical with great communication skills, you might want to consider a career in building surveying.

Building surveyors play a vital role in the construction and property industries, and their skills and expertise are always in high demand. We spoke to surveying firm Pridmore Cox to find out more about what a career as a building surveyor involves, and how to know if it’s the right choice for you.

What does building surveying involve?

At its simplest, building surveying involves assessing the quality and condition of buildings, and providing advice on preserving or improving its condition. However, in reality it is a lot more varied than it sounds, and surveyors can work on a wide range of tasks, including dealing with planning applications, advising on repair, maintenance and restoration options, carrying out feasibility studies, preparing scheme designs, and advising on sustainable construction – to name just a few!

What skills and attributes are required?

There are a number of key skills and attributes that you need to possess in order to be a successful building surveyor. Communication skills are hugely important as you will be expected to interact with a range of different people – from instructing architects, to advising clients and even potentially acting as an expert witness in court. A large part of the role involves preparing reports, so you’re written communication skills also need to be up to scratch.

An analytical mindset and strong problem-solving capabilities are also required, as is the ability to multi-task and a good eye for detail – any errors or oversights could prove incredibly costly to your firm and your clients.

Alongside these ‘softer’ skills, technical proficiency is also a key attribute of a good building surveyor. A large part of building surveying involves preparing scheme designs for projects and plans, and for this you will need to be competent in technical programmes such as computer-aided design (CAD), as well as standard MS Office programmes.

What qualifications do I need?

In order to pursue a career in building surveying, you will also need to hold the right qualifications. The first step is to study for a degree – surveying is open to all graduates, but a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) accredited degree in a property or construction-related field offers the best prospects, providing you with the platform to eventually progress to chartered surveyor. If university isn’t for you, you have the option of learning on the job with an apprenticeship.

What are the career prospects?

Building surveying is a very varied field and, to a large extent, you can mould your career to fit your areas of interest. You can choose to move between roles in public sector organisations, such as health trusts, local authorities and universities, or work for a private consultancy, gaining promotion to more senior roles as your skills and experience develop. You also have the option of specialising in a particular area or sector. Once you gain chartered status, another option you have is to set up your own surveying practice.

Generally speaking, building surveying is a fairly well remunerated career, and the most experienced surveyors can earn an average of around £70,000 a year.

Building surveying is a demanding field that carries a lot of responsibility, but it can also be incredibly varied, mentally-stimulating and rewarding. So, if you have great communication skills, technical proficiency, commercial awareness and, most importantly, a passion for the industry, it could be the perfect career for you.