What is property planning and development?

Planning and development work is a specialism within the broader real estate sector. Specialists in this area work at both strategic policy and operational levels. Their work impacts on the physical aspects of the built and natural environment, as well as social, economic and environmental aspects.

Development Surveyors source, appraise, value, and sell a wide range of land and property, including housing, retail and commercial premises. They oversee development projects, including residential, commercial and public builds, working with other professionals, managing budgets ensuring that all compliance, safety and risk management standards are met.

Development Surveyors also focus on maximising the value and return of assets, assessing the performance of an investor’s portfolio to ensure profitability and value.


What’s required for the role?

  • Excellent communication skills, including negotiation skills
  • Drive and the ability to build relationships and networks and generate new business
  • The ability to work well with clients and other professionals
  • Commercial awareness
  • Strong organisation skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Project Management skills

The details

Learn more about the role

What's the role like in practice?

Development Surveyors usually work in the private sector, advising on all aspects of the development process. You will need to liaise with clients and understand their business needs and objectives, as well as working with and supporting other professionals.

Development is an area which requires high level communication and interpersonal skills, developing and maintain relationships with current and potential clients and industry specialists.  The environment is often dynamic and demanding and uses real estate expertise and knowledge of the build life cycle to identify and achieve the world’s future sustainable development needs.

What's the work environment like?

Split between office and site visits with client meetings and presentations. Travel is often required and a flexible approach to working hours may be expected as projects reach critical points.

What qualifications are required?

A non-cognate or RICS accredited degree may be required, with most Surveyors working towards chartered status with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor (MRICS).

Is it for you?

You might like if you enjoy:

  • Using verbal communication skills to negotiate and generate new business
  • Project management

Other useful skills to have:

  • Using a wide range of data such as verbal, written, numerical and perceptual information
  • Analysing and identifying patterns in data
  • Working with different people such as clients and specialists
  • Doing deals and making transactions


How are developers responding to the need for sustainability?

Environmental and sustainability issues for planning and development specialists arise from various legislative, social and economic factors and these bring a focus on new information such as carbon accounting and Net Zero. The UK Government’s ongoing  review of an historic planning legal system means planners must negotiate a path through complex and changing regulations whilst maintaining focus on client objectives and managing public understanding of projects.

Clients, investors and occupiers’ commitments to reducing their ecological footprint (driven by ethics, customer demand or increased legislation) and the need to shape urban masterplans so that our cities remain relevant (as well as addressing investment risk) means the use of data to predict supply and demand of developments is a key factor in creating a clients project brief and setting  the framework for successful place making.

New technologies, multiple stakeholders, changing work patterns, social influences and the demand for sustainable buildings, meaningful spaces and placemaking are all bringing new challenges and knowledge requirements to planning and development specialists.

Employment opportunities

Where will it take you?

Employers include planning consultancies, firms of chartered surveyors, commercial development companies, public utilities.

Landowners, private developers, house builders and housing associations and large commercial retail, banking and entertainment organisations with in-house estates departments.

Firms may recruit graduates on to a graduate development programme, but opportunities exist for these with more general experience to specialise. Opportunities are available in the UK and globally.

Whilst many students have an RICS accredited degree, there may be opportunities for non-cognate graduates to join a firm and study for a property qualification whilst working.

There are also degree apprenticeships in Real Estate Surveying available which could lead to a career in this specialism.

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