Planning and development surveyor

Construction and building

Career outlook for planning and development surveyor

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would lead development projects to preserve buildings and communities or give areas a new lease of life.

You would assess, design and manage projects in towns, cities and rural areas.

For example, you could:

  • Regenerate run-down estates
  • Redevelop former industrial or 'brownfield' sites
  • Conserve property in rural and urban areas

You’d work on each stage of a project, from the initial site assessments right through to completion.

Depending on the project, you would:

  • Research market data like land and property records
  • Analyse figures using computer software
  • Assess whether plans are workable
  • Present your recommendations to the clients
  • Oversee planning applications
  • Raise money from funding bodies, investment companies and development agencies
  • Negotiate contracts and tenders
  • Advise clients about financial and legal matters such as compulsory purchases
  • Work out the likely economic, social and environmental impact of a development

You would work closely with town planners, architects and construction professionals.

It would be important to have good networking skills to make contacts and handle negotiations. You’d need to have good knowledge of local planning policies and procedures. Understanding environmental and sustainable development issues would also be important.

When a project is completed, you might work in a marketing role to promote the development site.

Working conditions


You would work 35 to 40 hours a week. Some contracts may include early starts, late finishes and weekends in order to meet deadlines.


Your time would be split between office and site work.


Some contracts may involve overnight stays away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Resourceful
  • Problem solving
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Negotiating

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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 should study a degree (SCQF level 9/10) accredited by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), preferably in:

  • land management
  • planning and property development
  • surveying
  • or urban planning

If the degree is not RICS-accredited you can do an accredited postgraduate qualification (SCQF level 11).

You could get a job with qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6 and study part-time for a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8). You would then become an Associate member of RICS and complete a period of supervised structured on the job training (Assessment of Technical Competence).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers or a relevant HNC/HND. 

For entry to a postgraduate course (SCQF level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant subject.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses) 
  • Maths (required by most courses) 
  • Business management
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Science subjects 
  • Technologies subjects

You will also need

Once in work there will be a period of supervised practical training and Assessment of Professional Competence.

Once in a job you must hold a Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on site. You will need to pass a health and safety test to qualify for the CSCS scheme.

You will need a driving licence for some jobs.