What is a chartered surveyor?

Chartered surveyors deal with the management, purchase, sale or leasing of land and property and valuing and surveying different types of residential and commercial real estate.

Surveyors can be involved from the very start of a project, buying land and planning and supervising construction. You’ll have rigorous training allowing you to offer advice on different properties.

Surveying covers a large number of areas such as construction, housing, land  and minerals and as a result, you can work in many different fields:

  • Building surveyors: involved in the maintenance, improvement and upgrading of buildings and assessing health and safety requirements.
  • Property surveyors:  advise on the purchase, sale and development of houses. 
  • Quantity surveyors:  assess the costs related to building projects, making sure the costs are managed and controlled to achieve the right value.
  • Construction surveyors: oversee construction projects.
  • Commercial property surveyors:  advise on the purchase and development of commercial properties such as shops and offices.
  • Planning and development surveyors: advise and manage proposals to build new developments or existing developments.

What is the difference between a chartered surveyor and a surveyor?

Often you’ll hear the terms chartered surveyor and surveyor. Regardless of your level of experience and qualifications, anyone can call themselves a surveyor. However, to become a chartered surveyor you must be a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which includes passing the qualifications and undertaking continuous professional development. 

By working as a chartered surveyor you are trusted as a fully qualified professional who has the relevant expertise and training and ensures you are up to date with any relevant developments in the field.

What does a chartered surveyor do?

Depending on the sector you work in your tasks as a surveyor may differ, but typical day-to-day responsibilities include:

  • Assessing properties for their value
  • Conducting structural surveys of buildings
  • Land and quantity surveying services
  • Auctioning of land and property
  • Providing general advice on a property
  • Assisting with the design and architecture of a building

What skills are required to become a chartered surveyor?

As there are many different fields of speciality in surveying, the technical knowledge varies between roles, however, some of the general skills to excel in this role include:

  • Excellent negotiation skills
  • Good time management skills
  • The ability to coordinate several different projects at once
  • Work well with people at all levels 
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail

What qualifications are needed to become a chartered surveyor

To become a chartered surveyor you must pass the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Only members of the RICS can be ‘chartered’. Once you have passed these assessments, you are granted membership in RICS. 

To become a member of RICS, you typically need to take a degree or postgraduate conversion course accredited by RICS e.g in Real estate, estate management or surveying. To qualify for entry into a university you must complete at least 3 A-level courses and 5 GCSEs.

After completing an RICS-accredited course, you’ll need to gain practical experience before you can become fully qualified. The most common way is through the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). Upon completion of the APC, you can use the letters MRICS after your name.

All RICS members must be sure they are continually updating their skills to remain professionally competent. A minimum of 20 hours of CPD must be logged by each member every year.

Steps to becoming a chartered surveyor

Step 1: Complete your qualifications:

To become a chartered surveyor you must complete the RICS assessments. You can enrol at any time in your career, but you must meet one of the eligibility requirements before you can complete the assessment:

  • Relevant experience and an RICS accredited degree- this is a qualifying bachelor’s degree as well as work experience.
  • 5 years of relevant work experience and any bachelor’s degree (does not have to be an RICS accredited degree).
  • 10 years of relevant work experience at an advanced level.

Step 2: Choose your speciality

Surveyors can be involved in many different sectors including property, commercial, land and construction. Each surveyor must select a chosen speciality. When undertaking your RICS applications and assessments you must showcase your experience and knowledge in your chosen field.

Step 3: Choose a counsellor

It is also a requirement that each applicant is appointed a counsellor throughout the application and assessment process to provide guidance and advice. Your counsellor should be working in the same speciality as you to receive the best support and feedback

Step 4: Complete the assessments

The next step is to complete the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). This ensures that candidates are competent and meet the high standards of professionalism required to become chartered surveyors. The assessments include a mix of technical, interpersonal, business and management skills.

The assessment process can take anywhere between six and twelve months, but you have a maximum of six years from the date of enrolment to achieve the MRICS qualification

How much do chartered surveyors earn in the UK?

The average salary for a chartered surveyor in the UK is £54,983. This can vary depending on location and the sector you work in e.g London accounts for high costs of living. 

How long does it take to become a chartered surveyor?

You’ll have to undertake an RICS accredited bachelor’s degree course which will take 3 years, from there you can complete the APC training course which usually takes two to three years to complete. Depending on whether you complete the course full-time or part-time will influence how long it will take to become a qualified chartered surveyor.

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