Working in Property - A definition of a Building Surveyor

Building surveying emerged in the 1970s as a profession in the United Kingdom by a group of technically minded general practice surveyors. Building surveying is a recognised profession in Britain, Ireland, Australia and Hong Kong. In Australia in particular, due to risk mitigation and limitation factors, the employment of surveyors at all levels of the construction industry is widespread. There are still many countries where it is not widely recognised as a profession.

Building Surveyors are trained to some extent in all aspects of property but with specific training in Building Pathology, as such they have a wide understanding of the end implications of decisions taken by more specific professions and trades during the realisation process, thus making them suitable for employment as Project and Property Managers on the client side (i.e. managing external contractors).

Services that building surveyors undertake are broad but can include:

  • Construction design and building works
  • Project management and monitoring
  • Property Legislation advice
  • Insurance assessment and claims assistance
  • Defect investigation and maintenance advice
  • Building surveys and measured surveys
  • Handling planning applications
  • Building inspection to ensure compliance with building regulations
  • Pre-acquisition surveys
  • Negotiating dilapidations claims

Building surveyors also advise on many aspects of construction including:

  • design
  • cost
  • maintenance
  • sustainability
  • repair
  • refurbishment
  • restoration and preservation of buildings and monuments

Clients of a building surveyor can be the government agencies, businesses and individuals. Surveyors work closely with architects, planners, quantity surveyors, engineers, homeowners and tenants groups. A building surveyor may be called to act as an expert witness. It is usual for building surveyors to earn a university degree before undertaking structured training to become a member of a professional organisation.

With the enlargement of the European community, the profession of the building surveyor is becoming more widely known in other European states, particularly France, where many English-speaking people buy second homes.

Lidar Surveying – Three-dimensional laser scanning provides high definition surveying for architectural, as-built, and engineering surveys. Recent technological advances make it the most cost-effective and time-sensitive solution for providing the highest level of detail available for interior and exterior building work. 

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Chris Kilkenny

19th September

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