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Insights What does a building surveyor do and why should you become one?

Considering a career change? 

The construction industry is growing at a never-seen-before rate. In fact, the global construction industry is set to almost double in size, growing from $7.3 trillion in 2021 to $14.4 trillion by 2030.

Industry growth means there is and will continue to be an increasing demand for construction professionals to help overcome industry challenges. Building surveying is one profession whose skills will be invaluable to creating a bright and sustainable future, making careers in this area both financially rewarding and exciting.

In this article, we offer insight into building surveyor careers. We will cover what the roles and responsibilities of a building surveyor are, what you could expect to work on as a building surveyor, and why this can be such a fantastic career path. We also offer you some advice on the best places to go if you decide that building surveying might be the next best step in your career.

Roles and responsibilities of a building surveyor

A role as a building surveyor can see you taking on many different roles and responsibilities, such as:

  • Completing on-site property surveys 
  • Project management 
  • Contract management 
  • Managing clients 
  • Identifying defects 
  • Working across sites and in the office 
  • Offering advice on remedial works 
  • Drafting reports and making recommendations 
  • Generating schedules and budgets 
  • Collaborating with clients and their contractors to monitor progress
  • Consulting on environmental concerns 
  • Highlighting safety issues 
  • Providing advice on potential alterations, extensions and improvements

What to expect in a building surveyor career

Although most people know building surveyors for the role they play in the house-buying process, the profession is much wider-reaching than that. In fact, building surveyors are involved throughout the entire lifecycle of buildings and the construction process. Many building surveyors find themselves applying their skills and expertise to new challenges every day.

As a surveyor, you could find yourself working on any aspect of commercial or residential property ranging from the acquisition of land, planning, monitoring construction, the sale and purchase of property and even throughout the decommissioning process. Some surveyors specialise in just one or two of these responsibilities, whereas others could find themselves undertaking all of those listed throughout an average working year.

Not only are a building surveyor's roles and responsibilities diverse, but so too can be the areas in which they focus their talents. For example, some surveyors may specialise in surveying and offering expertise on historical buildings, whereas others can pursue exciting careers in new high-tech and sustainable cities. Some building surveyors can even find work in areas such as TV and film. As a surveyor, you will work with a variety of professionals including architects, property developers, asset managers and health & safety experts.

Why consider becoming a building surveyor?

Becoming a building surveyor is a great option for those who want to make a positive difference in the world. This is especially true for those that want to focus on developing new and better living spaces. As a building surveyor, you will be given the opportunity to contribute to tackling some of the biggest issues currently facing world populations.

For example, building surveyors can support projects that help tackle climate change through the development of new, high-tech sustainable cities. They can also play an active part in improving urbanisation, migration and planning of resource scarcity. Ultimately, a career in building surveying will help you focus your talents on creating a better world.

Find your place at AtkinsRéalis

A building surveyor career is exciting and rewarding. Starting as a junior, apprentice or assistant building surveyor can be a fantastic place to start your journey. These options offer you hands-on experience in surveying and provide you with the opportunity to try out different aspects of the profession.

Career progression from these entry-level roles will see you take on more responsibility, tackle bigger challenges and even potentially manage a team of other professionals as a managing building surveyor. Building surveying is not only an exciting career but can also be financially rewarding - especially as you start to climb the career ladder.

Interested in starting a career as building surveying? Then check out the building surveyor jobs currently available at Atkins and Faithful+Gould.

Want to stay connected and aware of upcoming opportunities? Then you can also join our talent community.