PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: Property Inspect – The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Surveyor

In this comprehensive guide to surveyors and the surveying industry, Property Inspect looks at the current state of the sector and how you can start a career in surveying.

Property Inspect is the most advanced home inspection & property management solution on the market, perfect for future-thinking surveyors to revolutionise their workflow. The Property Inspect app features unlimited digital forms to capture property conditions, photos and maintenance issues right from your mobile, desktop or tablet.

The property industry is an industry in need. Shortages of building surveyors were felt in the second half of 2017, posing a challenge for a sector that otherwise remains to be in a strong position.

Recently, due in part to the skills shortage and their awareness of their market worth, leaving them in a strong position to negotiate, new entrants into the industry and established surveyors have seen a reasonable salary increase.

Sector-wide, the demand for surveying roles is high. Employers are working hard to retain their surveyors, and they have also stepped up in other areas to attract new talent, placing a greater emphasis on competitive pay, a thriving work culture and career development prospects.

In this comprehensive guide to becoming a building surveyor in the UK, the company behind leading property inspection software Property Inspect looks at the industry as a whole, the role of a building surveyor, and how to get started in this fulfilling and varied field.

How many chartered surveyors are there in the UK?

What does a building surveyor do?

Surveying is a varied career with hundreds of career options. The blend of fieldwork and office work gives surveyors a diverse work week. Sometimes building surveyors will be on-site, using technology, liaising with clients, or working on projects from the office.  

Embarking on a career in surveying also affords the opportunity to work with a diverse team from a wide range of disciplines. Surveyors will regularly have the chance to work with developers, safety inspectors, architects and more, meaning no two projects are the same.

As the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors eloquently puts it: “Surveyors keep traffic flowing, water running and people moving. They shape our roads, bridges and tunnels, our skyscrapers, stations and stadiums. They work in mines and in fields, on cliffs and on beaches. They value the houses we live in and the places we work in. They create safer homes and happier communities.”

“Surveying is a fantastic career as I love seeing a project progress and knowing that I have played a key role in it. It’s also a very sociable career, whether that be clients or industry professionals, I get to meet extraordinary people on a daily basis.”

Uwais Paderwala, Apprentice of the Year 2018
Source: RICS

Typically, a building surveyor will take precise measurements and assess the quality of certain aspects of a property, before producing a report which will be used in legal paperwork. Building surveyors will also look at boundary lines, land restrictions, building age and quality, structure size, and much, much more.

Home surveys conducted by surveyors will conduct a thorough inspection of a property’s overall condition, looking at things like structural defects, subsidence and so on. A home surveyor will communicate the need for repairs or changes to the property, like damp or unstable walls, sometimes going into forensic detail.

All of this amounts to a comprehensive report that helps homebuyers or sellers make better-informed decisions.

What are the different types of surveyors?

Surveying is a diverse profession with no two roles the same. If you’re looking to embark upon a career in surveying, it’s good to know what position suits you best, as the duties of each will vary. Of the many specialisms available, the most common roles in surveying are as follows:

  • Land surveyor
  • Environmental surveyor
  • Rural Practice surveyor
  • Quantity surveyor
  • Party Wall surveyor
  • Planning and Development surveyor
  • Valuation surveyor
  • Commercial surveyor
  • Residential surveyor
  • Building surveyor
  • Chartered surveyor
  • And many more

Although the duties of each role are for the most part universal, depending on the employer you may well find that other duties come into play, too. Some specialisms may call for more fieldwork while others will be more office focused, others will strike a balance between the two. Whatever the case may be, each role within the industry is indeed varied and fulfilling, as shown by the growing number of surveyors entering the profession.

As a surveyor progresses through their career, they may also see a wealth of new opportunities before them. Most surveyors will work with teams across the different industries and sectors, such as in architecture, health and safety, or construction, to name a few.

All of this amounts to a satisfying career with excellent progression, good pay and benefits, and a wealth of varying career opportunities to explore.

What qualifications do I need to become a surveyor?

There are numerous routes to becoming a surveyor in the UK. As we discussed in this article, not all surveyors are chartered surveyors, so it’s possible to become a building surveyor without a degree. A chartered surveyor is someone who is a member of RICS, and their route into the field may differ from other surveyors.

​​To become a member of RICS, one doesn’t need to go down the traditional route of graduating from a full-time RICS-accredited degree course. One can opt to take an apprenticeship after their GCSEs.

Some apprenticeships, like a Surveying Technician apprenticeship, Geospatial Survey Technician apprenticeship, or a Chartered Surveyor apprenticeship, will also give budding surveyors a viable route into the industry. The latter apprenticeship takes five years, and the entry requirements generally include three A levels at Grade C or above. When the apprenticeship ends, it is counted as a degree and grants the surveyor membership to RICS.

A Surveying Technician apprenticeship, on the other hand, will take just two years to complete. Five GCSEs at Grade C, including maths and English, are generally accepted in the entry requirements. Completing this apprenticeship grants a Level 3 Diploma in Surveying, with the surveyor becoming an Associate member (AssocRICS) of RICS.

Alternatively, if one wishes to go down the degree route then there are a wealth of RICS-accredited degrees on offer. After completing this, the surveying graduate will then spend time on their Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) which, after passing, will grant them Membership of RICS accreditation. 

Some businesses will even offer apprenticeship schemes of their own, taking graduates at varying stages of their surveying career.

How much do building surveyors earn?

With no shortage of companies, there is a wealth of building surveyor opportunities to explore. Over 10,000 companies are listed on RICS Find a Surveyor resource, a handy online tool to scout potential employers or hire a RICS accredited surveyor.

The salaries range vastly, depending on the role within surveying, the qualification required, location and the level of RICS membership.

For example, the typical starting salary for a commercial/residential surveyor ranges from £23,000 to £30,000. A RICS associate surveyor will see their income rise to approximately £48,000, while a chartered member can earn north of £7,000. A RICS Fellow (FRICS), can earn in the six-figures. In contrast, a non-RICS member in this equivalent position will earn approximately £50,000 per annum less than a RICS member.

A graduate building surveyor can expect to earn between £22,000 and £26,000 per year. This rate will be higher in places like London, but it acts as a guide for surveyors looking to get a foothold in the industry. After some experience, the salary could go as high as £50,000. Partners or directors in their own surveying firms can net a six-figure salary.

On average, the salary potential for a building surveyor is an encouraging £48,000. Again, chartered surveyors earn more. In this case, 38% more than non-chartered surveyors.

The surveying industry outlook

All things considered, we see the surveying industry in a very strong place; excellent salaries commensurate with experience, a vibrant, innovative and varied work environment, and myriad career pathways and opportunities. In addition to this, surveyors are now entering the industry with new ideas, fresh approaches and a technological mindset. 

At Property Inspect, we support building surveyors every day with our end-to-end property management and home inspection software, helping surveyors of all stripes expand their capabilities, speed up their workflows and maximise the possibilities of their role even further.

Property Inspect

Property Inspect is a provider of property inspection and property management software for the multi-family & commercial real estate market in compliance, facility management, property inspection management, and more. From workflows to audits and assisted scheduling, on-hand with online and offline training and support, Property Inspect provides a complete package for the commercial real estate industry.

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