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How To Build A Career As A Building Surveyor

Lucrative Role Offering Guidance Within Construction

A career as a building surveyor can offer fantastic prospects for those interested in construction or civil engineering.

There’s excellent news for graduates, as the latest Prospects data reveals that the unemployment rate for recent graduates has fallen to the lowest rate in 39 years. In 1979, only 4.9% of grads had yet to find work, six months after leaving university. But in 2018, this rate is only slightly higher at 5.1%. Even more encouraging is that the number of graduates who have secured professional-level positions has jumped from 71.4% to 73.9%. One career that has excellent opportunities for graduates is as a building surveyor. Learn how to get started in this interesting and lucrative industry.

The Role Of A Building Surveyor

The main responsibilities involved in this role centre around providing professional guidance about property construction and renovation works. The breadth of projects you’re involved with might range from minor repairs of existing properties to brand-new multi-million-pound constructions. There will also be scope for preventative maintenance of historical buildings such as churches or listed properties, as well as looking to the future by implementing sustainable practices in new projects.

Your Daily Tasks

Typically, the role of a building surveyor involves working on a 9-5 basis. You’ll likely attend site visits, then spend time in the office putting together extensive reports on your findings.

There’s a certain amount of project management involved as a building surveyor, particularly as you become more experienced and climb the career ladder. As such, you’ll be required to liaise with clients about their designs, carrying out measured building surveys, putting strict budgets in place and appointing contractors to carry out the proposed works. As you’d expect, the legalities surrounding construction are also a huge part of the role, so you’ll need to be well-versed in planning regulations and applications, offering guidance on best practices to your clients and ensuring that all boxes are ticked along the way. You’ll likely come across typical stumbling blocks such as party walls and ‘right to light’ disputes.

How Secure Is The Work?

A career in the building industry can often be seen as risky, as at times when the economy falls flat, work for architects for example can dry up somewhat due to a lack of money. However, building surveyors are much more cushioned from any negative impact that the world economy has on construction, as they can also work with existing building stock on matters such as refurbs, insurance, maintenance and dilapidations.

Salary Expectations

When you start out as a building surveyor, you could expect to earn between £22-26k, but this can quickly rise up to £40k once you become more experienced. For those who have been in the industry for years, and perhaps have specialist knowledge, it’s feasible to be looking at earning up to £70k, with the potential for partners and directors to earn more.


There are a number of paths into this career, but many begin by taking a degree that has been accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) such as civil engineering, construction, or surveying. If you have a degree in a different subject, you could consider taking a post-grad course in surveying. Alternatively, if you aren’t degree educated, but have completed foundation studies or an HND/HNC in a related subject, then it might be possible to work either as an apprentice or as a technician and then study for your qualifications whilst you work on the job. This can be a great way for you to understand the role whilst completing your studies.

Now is a great time to be a graduate – so if you’re looking at heading to college or university soon, know that you’ll likely have a bright future if you opt to become a building surveyor.