What is a Building Surveyor?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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Building surveyors work onsite during the construction of new buildings, and they also help to maintain older buildings. The main task of a building surveyor is to advise construction workers on design, maintenance, repair, structure, and restoration of a building. The professional advice provided by a building surveyor is used by contractors, investors, and construction crews alike.

The tasks that a building surveyor must complete are hardly ever the same from project to project. Surveyors can be responsible for making sure that a project is completed on time, and they can also be asked to negotiate legal issues. A large portion of a building surveyor's work involves advising others on the complexities of a structure.

Surveyors may provide professional advice on crating an ecological structure, the many ways to preserve a historic building, pointing out health and safety concerns, and ways to make a building energy efficient. Most building surveyors work as independent contractors, though some are permanently employed.

Clients of building surveyors tend to include local and government departments, architects, homeowners, planners, tenant groups, and many others. On occasion, building surveyors may also be called upon in legal disputes in order to act as expert witnesses. Presently, building surveying is only recognized as an independent career in Australia and Britain.


Still, surveyors who work within North America are quickly becoming more and more prevalent. Building surveyor accreditation can only be obtained in Britain and Australia through professional organizations such as the Chartered Institute of Building, the Incorporated Association of Architects and Surveyors, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Often, the position of a building surveyor within a company cannot be obtained without some form of accreditation. In addition to proper accreditation, vocational experience is also required. Two years of vocation education will suffice, though a longer amount of time spent in vocation is optimal.

If a professional accreditation cannot be obtained, surveyors must gain work experience. Often, three or more years of work experience can replace formal schooling, though this must be backed with proven industry knowledge. A fine demonstration of this knowledge includes at least one year of industrial job placement.

Overall, surveyors within this field must be highly analytical, well-versed in information technology, able to solve problems efficiently, and be well-educated in various managerial tasks. Surveyor positions often require a large amount of customer relations, which requires surveyors to obtain basic social skills in addition to all other skills mentioned above.


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Post 3

If you are working as a surveyor make sure you buy professional indemnity insurance. You will be making some important decisions, and sometimes things don't work out as planned.

Post 2

@Bakersdozen - One branch of my family live in the UK and my cousin there works in property surveying.

It seems you need at least a basic pass in math to get onto an apprenticeship or into a university program. It's probably something you could brush up on if you have the other qualities and skills needed.

Building surveyor salaries seem quite competitive and it sounds like a varied and satisfying career to me.

Post 1

I did an online career question and answer session and chartered building surveyor was one of the suggestions for me. I didn't really know what this job involved, so this information is really useful.

Although I would say I have strong communication and people skills, my math ability is pretty weak in comparison. Wouldn't that be a drawback?

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