Career outlook for building surveyor

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Five year job forecast


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would advise people who own or want to buy a building whether it meets building regulations or needs any serious repairs.

Your clients could be home owners or large commercial and industrial companies.

You’d advise them about the design and construction of new buildings. You’d inspect existing buildings and explain what maintenance and repairs they need. You would have to be able to understand your client’s business needs.

You’d focus on three main areas: surveying, legal work, and planning and inspection.

You would:

  • Survey properties, identify structural faults and make recommendations for repairs
  • Assess damage for insurance purposes, for example following a fire or flooding
  • Establish who is responsible for building repair costs
  • Advise clients on issues such as property boundary disputes
  • Act as a client’s supporter or stand as an expert witness during legal proceedings
  • Check properties to make sure that they meet building regulations, and fire safety and accessibility standards
  • Deal with planning applications and with improvement or conservation grants

Depending on the size of the company, you may cover all of these tasks or you might specialise in just one. Language skills may be useful if you want to work overseas or for a company with international clients.

You might also supervise a surveying team of assistants and technicians.

Working conditions


Normal working hours would be between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.


Your time would be split between office and site work. Site work would take place in all weather conditions, and you may have to work at heights and on dangerous structures.


Some contracts may involve spending periods of time away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Supporting
  • Verbal communication
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management
  • Negotiating
  • Taking responsibility

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


You would need an honours degree (SCQF level 10) accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in subject such as surveying, construction, civil engineering or building engineering.

Entry requirement for a degree (SCQF Level 10) is four Highers (SCQF Level 6). Once the accredited degree course has been completed you then need to undertake a period of supervised structured on-the-job training (Assessment of Technical Competence) as an Associate member of the RICS (AssocRICS).

If you have a non-RICS accredited degree, you will need to take a postgraduate course in surveying.

You can do this through a company's graduate training scheme, or by studying full-time at a RICS-accredited university.

Entry requirements for a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) are two Highers (SCQF level 6).

You can enter a job with some subjects at Standard Grade or National 5 (SCQF level 5) and Higher (SCQF level 6) and then study part-time for a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8).

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Relevant sciences subjects
  • Practical technologies subjects

You will also need

You would usually require a driving licence.

You must be generally fit and agile to climb ladders and scaffolding and crawl underground.

Staff on construction sites must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent. You will need to pass a health and safety test to qualify for this scheme.