What is a Surveyor?

What is a Surveyor?

What does a surveyor do?

Surveying is not a single career, but a collective name for a group of careers within construction, property and land.

Surveying careers are surprisingly varied and include quantity surveying, estate agency, valuation and investment, project management, property and facilities management, land surveying and mapping, planning and development and mining.

Considering a career in surveying? Take a look at this video to see the diversity in the profession.


Careers in Surveying

Building SurveyorsCarry out building surveys and provides management and design consultancy services.

Have an interest in all aspects of building surveying for residential and commercial property and provide professional advice on building structures, cost of essential repairs, leases and dilapidations.

Project Management SurveyorsManage complex building and infrastructural projects.

Liaise with statutory agencies and act as the client’s representative when dealing with external regulatory organisations to facilitate the smooth running of the construction project to its successful conclusion.

Quantity SurveyorsAdvise on the costs of developing all types of buildings and infrastructure.

Provide professional project management and construction cost expertise to clients on a range of public and private construction projects.


Geomatics SurveyorsProvide expertise in the full life cycle of mineral development.

Map the built and natural environment to provide accurate spatial data which facilitates planning, development and conservation.

Mineral SurveyorsProvide expertise in the full life cycle of mineral development.

Specialise in providing professional advice in the life cycle of minerals and waste developments ranging from initial site assessment through the period of extraction or infilling to site restoration and the final ‘after use’.

Planning and Development SurveyorsManage the proposals to develop new or refurbish existing buildings.

Are involved in a broad variety of work including assessment of land and property use requirements and development, regeneration appraisal and related planning implementation processes in the public and private sector.

Rural Agency SurveyorsValue, manage and sell agricultural land including forestry.

Land and property professionals with an interest in all aspects of rural affairs


Commercial Agency SurveyorsProvide professional expertise in the valuation, management, letting and sale of commercial property.

Property professionals with an interest in all types of Commercial Property. Members work in both the private and public sectors.

Properties and Facilities Management SurveyorsProvide professional management services for residential and commercial multi-unit developments and facilities.

Property management professionals have an interest in all aspects of residential, commercial and industrial property management.

Residential Agency SurveyorsProvide professional expertise in the valuation, management, letting and sale of residential property.

Operate in all areas of residential property practice and provide professional expertise in relation to the sales, valuation and letting of residential property

Valuations SurveyorsProvide professional expertise in valuations, acquisitions, disposals, investments and rent reviews for all types of property.

Work in all types of asset valuation including general valuation as well as compensation bases, investment appraisal, performance measurement, rating valuation and property funding and financing

Arts & Antiques SurveyorsProvide professional expertise in the valuation, and sale of arts and antiques.

Experienced in advising clients on the valuation, sale, purchase and management of antiques and fine arts and are able to advise on storage, security, conservation and restoration, shipping and packaging.


What does surveying look like?

Find out More about Careers in Construction, Land & Property


Careers in Construction Surveying

All construction projects – including infrastructure, housing estates, office developments, airport terminals and national sports stadiums – require significant financial investment and expertise to plan, project manage and maintain through their lifecycle, and surveyors are central to the construction process.

Surveyors specialise in one of the following areas of construction:

  • Quantity Surveyors provide value for money through the efficient cost management of the construction process – their objective is to plan and control cost, limit risk and add value to the project ensuring that the design and construction of a project delivers value to the client on time and on budget.
  • Building Surveyors provide design expertise and also undertake structural surveys on commercial, industrial and residential buildings.
  • Project Managers – appointed at the beginning of a project, they assist the client in developing the project brief and then selecting, appointing and co-ordinating the project team which will also usually include engineers and architects.


Where do they work?

Surveyors work in all sectors of the construction industry worldwide. In real estate, this covers residential, commercial, industrial, leisure, agricultural and retail facilities. In infrastructure, they work on projects related to roads, railways, waterways, airports, sea ports, coastal defences, power generation and utilities.

Irish surveyors are recognised — and much sought after — as experts in specialised areas, such as the construction of large pharmaceutical facilities and data centres.


What sort of subjects should you be interested in to pursue a career in this area?

Surveying courses in construction cover a wide range of technical skills in the area of science, technology and professional capability. Therefore, you should be interested in subjects such as science, maths, construction technology, law, business and information technology. The courses also place great emphasis on professional skills, including communication, leadership and dispute resolution.


Watch: What is a Chartered Building Surveyor?

Watch: What is a Chartered Project Manager?

WatchWhat is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor?


Careers in Land Surveying

Have you ever wondered who creates the maps that we use on our Smart Phones and SatNavs?

Land Surveyors — also known as Geomatic Surveyors — are the professionals responsible for collecting, processing, managing and analysing geographic information. By creating “intelligent maps”, the surveyor adds information which could, for example, allow you find where you can get the best pizza in town!

Land surveyors use cutting-edge technologies including Geographical Information Systems (GIS), satellites, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and laser scanning, together with state-of-the-art information technologies, in their quest to capture information and convert it into useful, intelligent maps and 3-D models.

The profession is experiencing significant growth as consumers and businesses increasingly use location based services and big data initiatives.

Career prospects are good and progression opportunities are excellent — both at home and across the globe. Land Surveyors, including recent graduates, are in full employment and it is predicted that there will be a shortage of qualified graduates to meet the needs of the geo-services industry in the coming years.


Where do they work?

As extremely versatile professionals, Land Surveyors work in every corner of the world, from the ice caps of Antarctica to the mines of Africa and deep water harbours of Australia — as well, of course, as here in Ireland.

Land Surveying careers entail great diversity, involving indoor and outdoor work locations as well as individual and team-based activities.


What sort of subjects should you be interested in to pursue a career in this area?

This is a profession ideally suited to students who enjoy working with numbers. You should have a good spatial awareness and an interest in geography and information technology. Creativity is also important as mapping and 2-D modelling requires good design skills.

Read our Guide: Why become a Chartered Geomatics Surveyor?


Careers in Property Surveying

Do you have strong business acumen? Are you a creative problem-solver? Do you like dealing with people? Are you looking for a varied career that puts you at the heart of organisations globally?Property surveyors are highly trained professionals who specialise in one of the following areas:
  • Estate Agency
  • Commercial Property (retail, office, industrial, hotels and leisure)
  • Valuation and Investment
  • Property and Facilities Management
  • Planning and Development
  • Arts and Antiques
  • Forestry and Rural Land


Where do they work?

As a Property Surveyor, you might find yourself giving advice to Google on where best to locate their new offices or helping Forever 21 or Abercrombie & Fitch identify the best retail pitch in a city centre.

In terms of residential property, a surveyor’s clients can vary from a young couple buying their first home to an international film director looking for a short-term letting.

Surveyors provide expert advice to financial institutions and pension funds on property investments.

As a surveyor in the public sector, you could be at the heart of Government decisions regarding State-owned properties and portfolios, including forestry.


What sort of subjects should you be interested in to pursue a career in this area?

An interest in business and an aptitude for maths are a distinct advantage. But property is a wide ranging career, and courses include subjects such as law, economics, information technology and management.

It’s worth noting that property surveying tends to be a very sociable and team-based career — ideal for those who enjoy interacting with and meeting lots of new people.

Surveyors engage in all aspects of project development from start to finish.


Surveyors play a key role at every stage of development

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