Careers for surveyors (plus duties and responsibilities)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Surveyors play an important role in ensuring the accuracy of construction projects. From overseeing the construction of stadiums to maintaining buildings and sourcing sustainable materials, there are many different roles for surveyors in this field. This means you can easily find employment opportunities that suit your interests, skills and professional goals. In this article, we discuss 13 types of careers for surveyors and their duties and responsibilities.

What are careers for surveyors?

Careers for surveyors are jobs involving surveys that comprise technologically advanced and specialist roles, which play a key part in civil engineering and construction. Professionals can find these careers in various sectors, including land, sea, water and the environment. A career in surveying is highly rewarding and varied, mixing both office-based work and fieldwork to obtain relevant data on the shape and outline of the earth's surface for engineering, mapmaking and construction projects. Surveying careers offer freelance and employment opportunities for graduates, students, mid-career professionals and experienced professionals.

Related: How much does a surveyor make plus highest paying cities

Types of careers for surveyors

13 types of careers in the surveying field include:

1. Land surveyor

National average salary: £29,313 per year

Primary duties: Land surveyors perform surveys to locate, describe, monument and map the boundaries and corners of a parcel of the land. They gather data for civil engineering and construction projects to draw accurate site plans, helping property owners understand its boundaries. Land surveyors also prepare and maintain sketches, maps and reports of legal descriptions of surveys to present data to clients. They're responsible for verifying data and calculations and examining previous records and evidence to ensure data accuracy.

Related: 10 geography degree jobs (with duties and salary info)

2. Commercial, residential and rural surveyors

National average salary: £30,839 per year

Primary duties: Commercial, residential and rural surveyors work to increase the value of a piece of land or estate by applying expert knowledge and awareness of the local property market. They're also known as general practice surveyors and survey a range of properties, including shops, homes, supermarkets and government buildings.

General practice surveyors take accurate measurements of sites and premises and purchase land on behalf of a client. They're in charge of assessing the impact of a major development project in terms of economic viability and environmental impact. These surveyors usually write detailed reports on a property for rent reviews, investment potential and building surveys.

3. Hydrographic surveyor

National average salary: £34,266 per year

Primary duties: A hydrographic surveyor measures and maps the world's underwater surfaces and studies seabed construction. They specialise in precise positioning, data acquisition and processing of harbours, rivers and other bodies of water to determine the topography of the floor and water depth. Hydrographic surveyors measure, maintain and analyse water flow and quality in rivers, lakes, storm water and sewage. They use specialised technical software and equipment to provide data for the production of nautical charts and maps.

Related: What is a hydrographic surveyor? (With responsibilities)

4. Building control surveyor

National average salary: £34,637 per year

Primary duties: Building control surveyors are professionals who make sure companies follow building regulations, such as fire safety, public health, energy conservation and accessibility during construction. They survey damaged or unstable structures to determine whether they require repairs, replacement or complete demolition. Building control surveyors assist construction employees during various project planning phases. They also carry out regular site inspections at each stage of the building process and keep records of the assessment.

Related: What jobs can you get with a degree in construction?

5. Engineering surveyors

National average salary: £35,016 per year

Primary duties: Engineering surveyors inspect, evaluate and manage designs and structures on civil construction projects to identify any possible issues during and before construction. They perform research on land records and prepare maps, plots and reports to show changes to the property line and indicate potential restrictions on the property. Engineering surveyors constantly liaise with construction teams to help manage project surveying requirements. They establish and maintain control in monitoring set-outs and service locations.

6. Estimator

National average salary: £36,786 per year

Primary duties: An estimator analyses the probable costs of materials, labour and equipment for a construction project to estimate the total cost for the project, schematic drawings and specifications. They research, negotiate, gather quotations, prepare reports and monitor forecast plans to obtain the best prices and quotes from suppliers and sub-contractors. Estimators have a good understanding of construction terminology as their duties involve decoding blueprints, applying them to the site and taking environmental factors into consideration. This helps deliver projects on time and within the set budget.

Related: 11 different types of estimators (with salary information)

7. Mineral surveyor

National average salary: £37,022 per year

Primary duties: A mineral surveyor is involved in preparing and processing potential mineral sites. They perform a range of tasks, including conducting surveys to investigate the commercial potential of mining, assessing risk, predicting environmental impacts and mapping mineral deposits of mining sites. Mineral surveyors negotiate, research and consult legal contractors to establish mining and mineral rights. They're involved in managing an area while construction is ongoing and restoring the land afterwards. Mineral surveyors also liaise with local authorities, planning authorities and the public to provide information and prepare applications for clients.

8. Site engineer

National average salary: £37,408 per year

Primary duties: Site engineers give technical advice and organise and supervise all construction projects to develop accurate building designs. They work with clients and negotiate with vendors and suppliers to secure ideal contracts. Site engineers draw up work schedules, delegate tasks and schedule meetings with crew members. They prepare cost estimates and ensure appropriate materials and tools are available to promote efficient working. Site engineers are also responsible for gathering data, compiling reports and delivering presentations to stakeholders to show progress.

9. Property surveyors

National average salary: £37,711 per year

Primary duties: A property surveyor is a professional who works in houses, business properties and personal properties, such as antiques and fine art, to assess their quality. They buy and rent homes and offices, acquire land for property development and value property. Property surveyors examine the condition of buildings and advise owners on ways to improve them. This can be anything from replacing a whole roof to addressing a damp patch.

Related: What does a commercial surveyor do?

10. Building surveyor

National average salary: £38,118 per year

Primary duties: Building surveyors are professionals who assess the quality and condition of buildings, such as houses, commercial properties and residential properties and advise on ways to improve them. They ensure a building is safe by conducting structural and internal inspections to determine whether all building elements comply with safety requirements. Building surveyors also work to ensure buildings adhere to energy standard regulations and are energy-efficient. They strive to help clients organise and maintain building processes, ensuring the completion of projects on time and within the set budget.

Related: How to become a building surveyor in 4 steps

11. Planning and development surveyor

National average salary: £39,713 per year

Primary duties: A planning and development surveyor advises clients on all aspects of planning and development to help them make informed choices about investment. They oversee and evaluate property development plans by considering the legal, social, financial and environmental factors. Planning and development surveyors prepare and submit maps, reports and applications for planning permission. They also advise clients on how they can get planning permission for developments. Professionals in this field have a good understanding of rapidly changing market conditions to provide insights into planning, development, conservation and transport choices.

12. Infrastructure and construction surveyor

National average salary: £43,148 per year

Primary duties: An infrastructure surveyor is a professional who specialises in the project and cost management of civil engineering projects, including utilities, investment and roads. They help create and supervise everything from towering skyscrapers to building roads. Infrastructure surveyors assess the financial impact and profitability of construction projects and run teams to deliver projects on time and on budget. They also design and manage the use of roads and utilities to ensure they comply with rules and regulations.

13. Quantity surveyor

National average salary: £46,157 per year

Primary duties: Quantity surveyors estimate and control the cost of large construction projects while ensuring the structures meet legal and quality standards. They're involved in every project stage to meet and satisfy client needs. Quantity surveyors undertake feasibility studies, assign work to subcontractors and offer advice on maintenance costs for specific buildings. They liaise with various teams such as architects and contractors to keep projects on track.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.

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