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What does a Chartered Building Surveyor do?

The majority of people have heard of a Building Surveyor, but ask what it is they actually do and many will struggle. The simple answer to this question is that Building Surveyors provide expert professional advice in all aspects of property and construction. This answer may seem generalised, but necessarily so. Services undertaken by a Building Surveyor cover a broad spectrum. They are involved in every stage of a project from conception to completion, and work alongside and manage many other consultants and specialists.

As in any profession, many Building Surveyors develop specialisms, however in order to become ‘Chartered’, meaning they have completed the comprehensive APC accreditation process regulated and run by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), they will have undertaken a rigorous process requiring them to demonstrate practical knowledge of the entire breadth of services that fall within the scope of services a Building Surveyor provides.

Their input into property transactions and valuations is probably the most widely understood, but their involvement in new build and refurbishment construction projects of all sizes is often overlooked in favour of the more glamorous roles played by the Architect or Project Manager. In reality however, a Building Surveyor will have been offering expert advice to the client from the feasibility stage, during design development and work on site, and will have been responsible for ensuring completion meets the client’s expectations.

Each individual service provided by a Chartered Building Surveyor could easily make up an article in itself such is their complex nature. The list below is not exclusive but has been compiled to give a brief insight into their main responsibilities:

  • Pre-acquisition property advice and building surveys – helping clients make informed investment decisions.
  • Advising clients on schemes and projects or helping to determine requirements, such as defining the client’s brief: what work is required and defining the most cost-effective options: helping clients determine if a project is feasible.
  • Working alongside the architect or designer. Assisting them in drawing-up plans and making feasible and practical adaptations.
  • Carrying out feasibility studies. How much is the project going to cost and how long is the project going to take.
  • Preparing scheme designs with costings, programmes for completion of projects and specifications of works.
  • Preparing documents for tender, advising on procurement routes, selecting and appointing contractors and advising on design elements and considerations.
  • Ensuring projects are completed on time, within budget and to the required quality.
  • Determining the condition of existing buildings, identifying and analysing defects, including specifying appropriate methods of repair and or restoration.
  • Advising clients on areas such as sustainability, energy efficiency, environmental impact and sustainable methods of construction.
  • Advising on the preservation, conservation and restoration of historic or listed buildings – We are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of how to preserve our heritage.
  • Advising on the management and supervision of the maintenance of buildings.
  • Dealing with planning applications and advising on property legislation and building regulations.
  • Assessing and designing buildings to meet the needs of people with disabilities: Advising on Disabled Discrimination Act (DDA) compliance with statutory regulations.
  • Insurance assessment and claims assistance.
  • Advising on Health and Safety matters like the Construction, Design and Management (CDM) Regulations.
  • Negotiating dilapidations when there is a legal liability for a property’s state of disrepair.
  • Advising on neighbourly matters including boundary disputes and party wall procedures.
  • Acting as Expert Witness – Giving evidence in court cases as experts. Court cases can often involve instances where building regulations have been breached, or have, caused some form of harm or infringed on some laws.

Building Surveyors will traditionally work closely with the following:

  • Other property professionals including architects, designers, engineers, planners etc.
  • Property owners, occupiers and investors, developers, businesses and individuals.
  • Managing agents, property managers, government bodies, charities, local authorities and housing associations.
  • Public sector organisations: education establishments, local authorities and healthcare organisations.

Finnegan Property Services is an independent practice of Chartered Building Surveyors. We are passionate about the finer detail of every process involved in property and construction, and passionate about the Building Surveying profession. At any one time we are involved in a range of projects covering the commercial, education, residential, and public sectors. For more information about the services we provide contact Damien Finnegan on 020 3137 8078.

As you have hopefully gleamed from this article, as Chartered Building Surveyors it is our role to understand all aspects of property and construction; therefore even if we are unable to help you we will certainly know where to direct you.

For more information about following a career in Building Surveying, visit the Pathway Guide on the RICS website by clicking here

Posted on 2 October, 2015

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