Building surveying is perhaps the only recession-proof job option in the construction sector. Recession often impacts new building constructions, but usually does not affect maintenance and improvement of existing building stock – an area where most building surveyors work.
Aspiring building surveyors in the UK have more reasons to cheer! The country’s construction sector is set to grow at a steady pace over the next few years. More importantly, private housing repairs, maintenance and improvement (RM&I) will grow at 3-4 percent per year until 2020, estimates the Construction Products Association (CPA).
If you are planning a career in building surveying, you are definitely on the right track. But before you start your preparation, here are some important things to know about the nitty-gritty of this career option.
Job DescriptionBuilding surveyors usually provide advisory services on all areas of property and construction. Their services are available for both planning and development of new buildings and repairing maintenance, improvement, and restoration of existing stock. They work on almost all types of construction projects, including commercial, industrial, and residential projects. As a building surveyor, you may need to advise on how to preserve and restore a historic building or how to make a building more sustainable. Your job will usually involve surveying properties, planning and monitoring building works, and providing advice on legal, financial and technical issues associated with property and construction. Your duties may vary depending on the project and company you are working for, but usually include;
Carrying out land and property surveys and valuationsChecking buildings for any defects and advising clients accordinglyIdentifying project requirementsEstimating cost and timeline for the projectCarrying out feasibility studiesPreparing contracts, budgets and other documentsWriting technical reportsAdvising clients on sustainable constructions, building regulations and safety standardsOffering advice on legal, financial and technical issuesMonitoring the progress of works and ensuring the project completes on time and within the budgetAdvising clients on boundary disputes
Educational QualificationGraduates from any degree discipline are eligible to enter into this profession, but employers usually prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in building surveying or related subjects, such as construction, economics, civil engineering and urban and land studies. You’ll get a competitive advantage during job hunting, if your degree is accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) or the Association of Building Engineers (ABE). In addition to formal education, you need some professional development training to increase your chances of getting a job. If you have a non-accredited degree or a degree in an unrelated subject, you should take up a RICS-accredited postgraduate course to give yourself a level playing field. Most employers look for candidates with some hands-on experience - hence joining a training course on building surveying after graduation would be a good idea.
Skills RequiredYou need a diverse range of skills and personal attributes to excel in this career. While being intelligent and analytical, you should have thorough knowledge of building techniques and regulations. A good candidate for this profession will have the following skills and qualities.
Excellent problem solving skillsAn eye for detailExcellent written and verbal communication skillsPresentation skillsReport writing skillsExcellent maths skills and good understanding of science and technology
Career Opportunity and SalaryBuilding surveyors find employment opportunities in a wide variety construction markets, including domestic and commercial markets. Typical employers include survey firms, housing associates, loss adjusters, local authorities, utility companies and construction companies. There is a good opportunity for career growth. You can start as a building surveyor and gradually move up the career ladder to become a project manager or senior manager. It is also possible to start your own private practice. Salary of building surveyors varies depending on location, skills, qualification and experience. For instance, London offers a higher salary than most other cities in the UK. If you enter into this profession after graduation, your salary could be anywhere between £19,000 and £23,000. In comparison, charted surveyors can expect between £22,000 and £27,000. With experience, your salary will increase and may reach around £50,000 after five years and around £70,000 after 10 years.
If you have a logical mind with strong interests in building techniques and methods, you are perhaps a good candidate for this profession.