Whether your ambition is to become a building or quantity surveyor or you're just looking at what the sector has to offer, explore the range of surveyor careers open to graduates
Building control surveyor
You'll be responsible for checking whether proposals for new or renovated buildings meet relevant regulations and, if they don't, providing advice on how to adapt the plans.
Among your duties will be inspecting building sites while construction is in progress, testing foundations and drainage works, writing reports following visits and issuing certificates when work has been completed to the required standard. You'll also have to be tactful and firm when explaining that work is not up to scratch.
Employed by local authorities throughout the UK, as well as in the private sector in England and Wales, it's essential that you keep up to date with legislation in areas such as public health, fire safety, energy conservation and accessibility.
Find out more about what it takes to become a building control surveyor.
Compiling reports known as building surveys, you'll identify problems and suggest options for repair and maintenance. You'll advise on the restoration of existing buildings and the design of new ones, with the aim of ensuring that buildings are sustainable.
It's likely that you'll spend a lot of time working on your own on-site visits, and you'll also need to be willing to travel. Good communication skills are vital so you can relay your findings and advice to clients.
If you don't have an undergraduate degree accredited by a professional body such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), you can take a RICS-accredited Masters course. You'll then be eligible to work towards gaining chartered status, leading to more senior positions and higher salaries.
Take a look at the building surveyor job profile.
You'll be involved in the management, purchase and sale or leasing of land and property. Specialising in either residential or commercial property, your role may be focused on consultancy, development, investment, management or planning.
Knowledge of the current property market is essential as you apply your expertise to value properties, assess the viability of developments, negotiate rents, sell and buy property on behalf of clients and manage portfolios, among other duties.
As with several property and construction careers, a RICS-accredited degree at undergraduate or postgraduate level will help you get started and give you the chance to work towards chartered status.
Learn more about launching your career as a commercial/residential surveyor.
Working from proposals and blueprints, you'll calculate the labour, time and material requirements of a project in order to estimate the costs involved. You'll present your findings to potential clients, aiming to win a competitive bidding process by offering the best price and quality.
You may be asked to estimate the costs of a one-off construction project, or for ongoing maintenances over many years. While estimators are typically office-based with regular hours, you'll need to be willing to work longer when submission deadlines approach.
A degree in a subject such as structural engineering or civil engineering will give you an advantage, but it's also possible to become an estimator by first gaining experience as a survey technician or assistant.
Explore the role of an estimator.
A career that spans both the construction and energy and utilities sectors, as a minerals surveyor you'll assess the commercial potential of mining or quarrying sites, investigate environmental impacts and negotiate legal contracts.
You'll also be involved in the management of the site while extraction is ongoing and restoring the land afterwards. Liaising with the public and local authorities to provide information and advice is a key part of the role.
A degree in a relevant subject such as civil or mining engineering, earth sciences, economics, geography, geology or surveying will be beneficial. It's also a good idea to work towards chartered status with RICS.
Read more about the role of a minerals surveyor.
Planning and development surveyor
Your job as a planning and development surveyor is to advise public and private sector clients on their investment choices, taking into account economic, social and environmental factors. It's crucial that you have a good understanding of rapidly-changing market conditions to provide insights into planning, development, conservation and transport options.
Tasks include identifying new investment opportunities, negotiating competitive proposals, preparing and presenting planning applications, managing projects and ensuring compliance with relevant legislation.
You'll need an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or postgraduate or professional qualification accredited by RICS, in order to progress in this profession.
Employers include planning consultancies, commercial development companies, property firms, landowners and public utilities.
Browse the planning and development surveyor job profile.
Playing a crucial role in building and civil engineering projects, as a quantity surveyor you'll manage costs throughout and ensure value for money while guaranteeing that required standards are still met and quality is maintained.
You'll be involved in undertaking feasibility studies and analysing costs, identifying commercial risks, advising on contracts, arranging payments and allocating work to subcontractors.
Studying for a RICS-accredited undergraduate degree or postgraduate conversion course are the most common entry routes, allowing you to work towards becoming a chartered surveyor. You'll require a combination of excellent financial management skills and in-depth knowledge of the property sector.
Discover more about how to become a quantity surveyor.
Rural practice surveyor
Careers in property and construction are most commonly associated with city-based developments and investments, but if your interests lie in rural land and property then this may be the job for you.
As a rural practice surveyor, you'll advise clients in your areas of specialist knowledge, which could be agriculture, auctioneering and valuation, environmental regulations and practices, forests, or property and management.
Your duties might include managing rural estates (such as farms), identifying new uses for rural properties, valuing land, assisting clients who want to buy rural property and advising on how to enhance landscapes.
For more information, view the rural practice surveyor job profile.
You'll be a key part of the site management team on projects ranging from small scale to multi-million-pound ventures. Your input will be technical, organisational and supervisory, working alongside architects, construction managers, engineers and surveyors.
As the main on-site technical adviser for subcontractors, craftspeople and operatives, your duties will encompass the day-to-day management of the site, efficient organisation of facilities and monitoring of the labour force, as well as setting out and surveying the site.
Employers typically require a degree or HNC/HND in a relevant discipline, including building engineering, building surveying and construction studies.
Explore the site engineer job profile to find out more.
Find out more
- Consider what you can do with your degree in quantity surveying.
- Read our 7 tips for getting into civil engineering.
- See what else the property and construction sector has to offer.