Surveyors deal with the management, purchase, sale or leasing of land and property, as well as valuing and surveying all sorts of residential and commercial real estate, in the private and public sectors.
Homeowners will be familiar with surveyors who value properties and undertake structural surveys.
They can be involved right at the start of a project, buying land and planning and supervising construction. At the end, they’ll oversee a building that’s being demolished. Their rigorous training and practical experience allow them to offer impartial advice on many different property issues.
What do surveyors do?
Surveyors shape the world and develop the places where people live and work. Some look after existing buildings and land and services like roads, bridges and tunnels. Others work in construction projects, from high profile stadiums and skyscrapers to sustainable housing and urban regeneration.
Surveyors are at the leading edge of technology, using data analytics and 3D-modelling to create smart cities and greener transport systems. Meanwhile, in developing countries, surveyors help the poorest people to establish rights for their land.
Whatever the project, surveyors share an interest in real estate, great interpersonal skills and excellent project management skills. It’s a hugely varied and well-rewarded career, with different specialisms available and plentiful job opportunities in the UK and globally.
What’s the difference between a surveyor and a chartered surveyor?
In the UK, anyone can call themselves a surveyor. They can operate without training, experience or supervision, although in practice most surveyors work for reputable organisations. In contrast, a Chartered Surveyor must have recognised qualifications and experience and get regular updates and assessments.
To become a Chartered Surveyor, or a Chartered Building Surveyor or Chartered Quantity Surveyor, you must pass the professional exams of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Only members and fellows of the RICS are allowed to call themselves “Chartered” Surveyors and use MRICS or FRICS after their names.
Surveyor salaries average around £43,500 a year and Members of the RICS can expect to earn more than non-accredited surveyors. [source: RCIS]
How to enter surveying
To qualify as a Chartered Surveyor, you need to complete a degree accredited by the RICS. You’ll then spend time in employment undergoing your Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). You are granted Membership of RICS after your APC Final Assessment.
You can take an accredited conversion degree or postgraduate master’s degree in Real Estate, Estate Management or Surveying after your first degree.
You can also choose to take an apprenticeship route following your GCSEs or equivalents.
After qualifying, there are many businesses and organisations where you can start your career. Some offer apprenticeship schemes and graduate intake programmes. Many surveyors find their first job in surveying firms, estate agencies, house builders, construction companies and property developers.
Real estate investors and brokers, financial institutions and corporations that have large property portfolios also offer good opportunities. In the public sector, you can bring your skills to government departments, regional development agencies and local authorities, as well as hospital trusts and universities.
What makes a good surveyor?
You’ll need to be highly numerate and to enjoy working in variety of locations, with the travel and people contact that involves. The most successful surveyors are also excellent communicators – good at business relationships and sharing information.
They enjoy negotiations and they are skilled in getting the best results for their clients or employer. They’re good at presenting clearly and explaining their arguments and many have an entrepreneurial way of seeing the world. They’re IT-literate problem solvers who love finding new approaches and enjoy juggling many projects and priorities.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming a chartered surveyor, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.