What Makes A Good Building Surveyor?

How to build a successful career in building surveying

Good communications skills, an analytical mind, IT proficiency and the right qualifications are all essential to forging a successful career as a building surveyor.

Building surveyors play an important role in the construction industry. Simply speaking, a building surveyor is responsible for assessing the quality of a building, examining its condition and providing expert advice on how to preserve or improve its condition. However, in reality there is lot more to surveying than this, and it offers a stimulating and rewarding career for the right person.

But what do you need to forge a career in building surveying? We spoke to surveying firm Pridmore Cox to find out what makes a good building surveyor.

The right qualifications

The first thing you need to become a good building surveyor is the right qualifications.

Building surveying is open to all graduates, but a degree in building surveying or other related subject such as urban and land studies or geography, combined with technical knowledge, will improve your prospects. Ideally you should try and study one of the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) accredited property or construction-related degrees as this will enable you to take the required training to progress to the status of chartered surveyor, which will increase the career opportunities available to you. You can also choose to get qualified on the job with a RICS apprenticeship.

Surveying is a constantly-moving industry so, once you are working as a surveyor, you will need to show a commitment to continued professional development in order to remain at the forefront of your field.

However, while qualifications are undoubtedly important, there are other things you need in order to succeed in a building surveying career.

Good communication skills

As a building surveyor you will be expected to deal with lots of different people – from advising clients on projects and planning applications, to instructing architects, and even acting as an expert witness in court – so good communication abilities and strong interpersonal skills are a must. Your written communication skills also need to be up to scratch as a large part of the role will involve preparing detailed presentations and reports.

An analytical mind

Building surveying is all about assessing situations and coming up with solutions to problems, so any good building surveyor will need to have an analytical mindset. As you will be working on several projects at once it is also essential that you have excellent organisational skills and can multi-task effectively – as any mistakes or oversights could potentially prove very costly to your clients.

IT skills

A large part of building surveying involves preparing scheme designs for projects and plans, and for this you will need to be competent in technical programmes such as computer-aided design (CAD). More generally, it is also important to have a good level of IT proficiency, especially in popular programmes such as Microsoft Office.

Commerical awareness

Building surveyors provide advice and guidance in a number of different areas, and a good building surveyor will be able to display a sound level of business instinct and commercial awareness, as well as possessing some knowledge on certain aspects of law and economics. Basically, surveyors need to know a little bit about everything!


Last but certainly not least, the best building surveyors have an interest in and passion for the industry. While building surveying is an interesting, varied and mentally stimulating job, at the same time it can also be incredibly demanding and, at times, rather stressful – but having a genuine love for the job can help to see you through any difficult times.