Building Surveyor Qualifications Explained

Building Surveyor Qualifications Explained

If you are considering employing a building surveyor (or perhaps even training to become one) it’s a wise idea to learn a little about the jobs building surveyors can undertake, as well as the various types of building surveyor qualifications that property surveyors can hold.

What Do Building Surveyors Actually Do?

Building surveyors are qualified professionals who specialise in advising their clients about the structural design, development and actual construction of new properties. They also provide advice and guidance about the maintenance, structural integrity, need for repairs and general conservation of existing residential and commercial properties which have already been built.

Broadly speaking, the work carried out by building surveyors can be grouped into four distinct skills areas: property surveying, planning related matters, legal and regulatory issues and property inspection.

In terms of day to day activities, the typical jobs carried out by building surveyors can include:

  • Surveying Properties. With appropriate building surveyor qualifications, a surveyor can carry out a structural survey for a property to identify any structural problems and make recommendations for any repairs which are necessary.
  • Insurance Assessments. If a property has become damaged as a result of fire or flooding, a building surveyor will visit the building to make an assessment of the damage.
  • Legal Advice. A qualified surveyor can advise clients on a variety of property related legal issues, such as boundary disputes.
  • Compliance With Regulations. The surveyor can inspect properties to make sure that they fully comply with appropriate Building and Fire Regulations.
  • Planning Issues. If you intend making a planning application or want a property extended, the building surveyor will be able to give you advice and prepare the necessary paperwork for you.
  • Energy Efficiency Reporting. A property surveyor can look at the energy efficiency of a property, and also prepare a Home Condition Report for the building (provided they hold the necessary building surveyor qualifications)

Which Organisations Issue Building Surveyor Qualifications?

Building Surveyor Qualifications

There are two main organisations which are responsible for issuing and regulating building surveyor qualifications.

Building surveyors can be authorised to practice by having accredited building surveyor qualifications from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (also known as RICS) or by holding certification from the Chartered Institute of Building (sometimes referred to as CIOB) to carry out building surveying work.

What Types Of Building Surveyor Qualifications Should Surveyors Hold?

There are several different types of building surveyor qualifications which are commonly used by property surveyors. The most frequent building surveyor qualifications that you’ll come across are Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Building Surveyors.

To become a Chartered Surveyor, graduates must first hold a certificate of qualification from a degree course which has been accredited by RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). RICS accredited degrees which are deemed suitable as professional qualifications include degrees in civil engineering, surveying, building engineering and building construction.

Following completion of this degree course, graduates must then attain the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (also known as APC). The APC can take between two to six years to complete, and is essentially a period where trainee surveyors are given practical work experience training to increase their professional skills and knowledge under close supervision. Once the APC has been successfully completed, applicants have all the necessary building surveyor qualifications and are authorised to call themselves Chartered Surveyors.

A similar training and education program is offered by the Chartered Institute of Building, which leads to Chartered Building Surveyor qualifications.

If you intend using a property surveyor to inspect a property you are considering buying, always make sure that they hold one of these professional building surveyor qualifications.