What is building surveying?

Building surveyors provide professional advice on property and construction projects, which can range from modest adaptations and repairs to multi-million-pound structures.

Building surveyors also inspect new and existing buildings, identifying defects and advising repair, maintenance and restoration. They may also implement preventative measures to keep buildings in good condition and look for ways to make buildings sustainable.

You may also project manage building works and some building surveyors offer a design service too.


What’s required for the role?

  • Report writing, good communication skills
  • The ability to work well with clients and other professionals
  • Commercial awareness as many building surveyors work in fee earning roles
  • Technical skills and a practical mind set
  • Good IT skills
  • The ability to drive is usually required

The details

Learn more about the role

What's the role like in practice?

Building surveyors work in all aspects of property including residential, commercial, leisure, agricultural and industrial markets and niche areas can include building conservation, insurance, rights to light, party wall matters and dilapidations. Building surveyors provide professional, technical, expert advice to clients and need an excellent level of technical knowledge as well as the ability to work with clients and other professionals.

Building surveyors can work in the public sector, private practice or may be self-employed. The job can be an active one, such as visiting and inspecting buildings and climbing into roof spaces so you may need a level of physical fitness. Building surveyors can cover large geographical areas and so a driving licence is usually required.

What's the work environment like?

Split between office and site work.

What qualifications are required?

An RICS accredited degree is often required, most building surveyors will work towards chartered status with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS).

Is it for you?

You might like if you enjoy:

  • Understanding how buildings are constructed and how the materials used affect the performance of a structure
  • Using science, technology and design to understand the links between construction methods and materials to identify problems and identify solutions

Other useful skills to have:

  • Using verbal and written communication skills to explain technical matters and write reports
  • Researching and explaining data in specialist areas
  • Working with different people such as clients, colleagues and the general public
  • Using visual intelligence and perceptual skills to use plans, charts and diagrams


How are building surveyors responding to the need for sustainability?

An understanding of environmental issues is particularly important for Building Surveyors. As both commercial and residential tenants and purchasers become increasingly aware of the environmental and sustainability implications of the buildings they use, building performance impact will influence the desirability (and therefore value) of a property. Environmental liabilities can lead to expensive remediation, repairs and dilapidation costs to owners, landlords and tenants too, so surveyors need to be aware of the potential issues and be able to recognise when specialist input from an environmental consultant is needed.

Building surveyors will also play a significant role in the drive to towards new targets for zero carbon homes. Effective retrofit interventions and the use of data and technology (such as thermal imaging  and intuitive cloud-based, data-driven platforms which eliminate damage to building fabric during surveying) will be essential in enabling improvements to housing stock performance and reducing environmental impact.

Employment opportunities

Where will it take you?

Firms often advertise for graduate with a building surveying degree, although trainee roles are sometimes available.

There are also degree apprenticeships in building surveying available.

Find out

Explore the role


Bridget Wells

Careers Adviser


+44 (0)118 921 4392

Admissions Team


UK (Free): 0800 019 9697 (Option 1)

International: +44 (0)118 921 4696 (Option 1)

Enquiries Team


UK (Free): 0800 019 9697

International: +44 (0)118 921 4696