Surveying Technician

The Job and What's Involved

Surveying technicians support chartered surveyors by carrying out a range of practical tasks.

Surveying is a wide-ranging profession concerned with working out the value of physical assets. It covers a large number of different areas, including construction projects, maintenance and refurbishment, land, minerals, the seabed and antiques.

Surveying technicians are involved in:

- Measuring, logging and interpreting data
- Drawing up charts, maps and diagrams
- Valuing property and equipment
- Producing survey drawings

Assisting a chartered surveyor, a surveying technician could be involved in one of many different types of surveying, including:

Building - advising on the design and construction of new buildings and the repair and renovation of existing buildings.

Construction - overseeing construction projects, from dams to new houses.

Environment - assessing and monitoring the effects of building works on the environment.

Plant and machinery - advising on the best use of an organisation's equipment, such as industrial plant.

Rural - dealing in matters of real estate, auctioning, valuing property and equipment, farm assets and livestock and lease reviews.

Commercial - valuing business and commercial real estate and property.

Technicians work to deadlines and must complete projects within budget limits.

Surveying technicians use computers for much for their work, and use technical equipment for measuring on site.

They are also involved in administration, and deal with a wide range of people, for example when inspecting building work, organising work schedules or valuing property.

Most surveying technicians work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, but additional hours may be needed to meet deadlines. There may be some opportunities for part-time work.

Surveying technicians work in offices and on site, and spend time visiting clients.

The work environment varies according to the type of role, but can involve outdoor work (in all weathers). Technicians may need to climb ladders and scaffolding. On site, surveying technicians wear safety equipment such as hard hats and boots.

The work may involve time away from home to visit sites - this can be in the UK or overseas.

The starting salary for a surveying technician may be £16,000 or more.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

In the private sector, employers include surveying practices, property companies, consultancies, construction companies, national and regional chains of estate agents, housing associations and large organisations which own land (such as retailers, utilities and financial institutions). In the public sector, employers include local authorities, government departments, hospital trusts and universities.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has about 2,500 surveying technician members. There are also many surveying technicians who are members of other professional bodies, or do not belong to a professional body.

Surveying technicians are employed throughout the UK, but there are more jobs in large cities, particularly London.

Employment prospects are good at the moment, as job opportunities in this sector are likely to increase because of the Home Buying Reform. Competition for vacancies does vary, though, according to the state of the economy, the construction industry and the property market. It can be difficult to find work in times of recession.

Jobs are advertised in Chartered Surveyor Monthly, The Surveyor, Building, Property Week and Estates Gazette.

Education and Training

There are two main ways to start in this work:

  • Working towards NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in Quantity Surveying Practice, Valuation, Spatial Data Management or Town Planning, usually while in employment
  • Taking an HNC/HND or Foundation degree course (either full time or part time).

Applicants for HNC/HND courses normally need one A level/two H grades, or a BTEC/SQA national certificate/diploma.

There are no set entry requirements for Foundation degrees, but applicants are likely to have completed Advanced Apprenticeships with Level 3 qualifications, A levels, NVQ's/SVQ's or other Level 3 qualifications.

Evidence of skills in maths, science and ICT is important.

The Chartered Surveyors Training Trust offers work-based routes. Applicants must have at least four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or equivalent qualifications.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Having completed either a relevant HNC/HND course or Foundation degree, surveying technicians can go on to qualify as TechRICS (Technical Member of RICS). This requires two years of structured training in employment, followed by a technical assessment interview, known as the Assessment of Technical Competence. People with NVQ/SVQ Level 4 and relevant practical experience can proceed straight to the technical assessment interview.

Qualifications are also offered by the Association of Building Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Building, the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation, the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors. Technicians may be members of more than one institution.

Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A surveying technician should be:

  • Logical and a practical problem solver.
  • Good at spoken and written communication.
  • Methodical and able to pay attention to detail
  • Able to co-ordinate a number of different projects at the same time.
  • Good at working with people at all levels
  • Good at IT.

Your Long Term Prospects

The main promotion route is to qualify as a chartered surveyor by gaining further qualifications. However, for technicians who do not wish to become chartered surveyors, there may be some opportunities for promotion or for specialisation.

There are good opportunities for working abroad. Self-employment is also possible.

Get Further Information

Association of Building Engineers,
Lutyens House, Billing Brook Road,
Weston Favell, Northampton,
Northamptonshire NN3 8NW
Tel: 0845 126 1058
Website: www.abe.org.uk

Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB),
Englemere, Kings Ride,
Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7TB
Tel: 01344 630700
Website: www.ciob.org.uk

Chartered Institute of Housing,
Octavia House, Westwood Way,
Coventry CV4 8JP
Tel: 024 7685 1700
Website: www.cih.org

Chartered Surveyors Training Trust,
Downstream Building, 1 London Bridge,
London SE1 9BG
Tel: 0207 785 3850
Website: www.cstt.org.uk

CITB-ConstructionSkills,
Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn,
Norfolk PE31 6RH
Tel: 01485 577577
Website: www.constructionskills.net

Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation,
41 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LF
Tel: 020 7831 3505
Website: www.irrv.org.uk

Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES),
Dominion House, Sibson Road,
Sale, Cheshire M33 7PP
Tel: 0161 972 3100
Website: www.ices.org.uk

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS),
Surveyor Court, Westwood Way,
Coventry CV4 8JE
Tel: 0870 333 1600 (calls charged at national rate)
Website: www.rics.org

Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI),
41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL
Tel: 020 7929 9494
Website: www.rtpi.org.uk

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