A planning and development surveyor advises on residential, industrial and transport development projects involving land, buildings or roads. The responsibilities include measurement, valuation, planning, supervision and raising finance.
You could be:
- gathering facts and figures about local economic, geographical and social trends
- working out the potential demand for residential, industrial or commercial properties in your area
- advising on planning policies
- identifying possible sites for development - either brownfield (derelict urban sites) or greenfield (new sites outside built-up areas)
- undertaking valuations and negotiating the purchase or sale of land
- assessing project applications and deciding between conflicting arguments on the feasibility of the project - looking at market demand, economic viability, safety and effect on the surrounding area
- raising finance from financial institutions and investors; promoting the project by advertising or by directly approaching potential clients
- managing the project through to completion, making sure it meets legal requirements, planning regulations, budget and deadline
- giving evidence at public enquiries.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for planning and development surveyors could be in the region of £20,000 to £24,000 a year, rising to around £40,000 with experience. Senior surveyors may earn up to £50,000 a year, sometimes more.
- You work from an office but visit sites.
- You have to wear a hard hat and other safety equipment on sites.
- You might have to climb and crawl through difficult areas when on sites.
- You would mostly work regular hours with some occasional evening and possibly weekend work.
Workforce Employment Status
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You gain chartered or associate status by following one of the routes approved by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
- Studying a degree accredited by RICS, preferably in estate management, planning and property development, surveying or urban planning, followed by a period of supervised practical training (Assessment of Professional Competence).
- If your degree is not RICS-accredited you can do an accredited postgraduate qualification.
- You could enter a job with some subjects at National 5 and Highers. This is accompanied by 4 years of supervised structured on the job training towards the AssocRICS qualification, as an associate member of RICS.
- Alternatively, if you have a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) you could get a trainee job and work towards RICS associate membership with two years of supervised training.
- Entry requirements for an HND are 2 Highers, and for a degree, 4 Highers. English and Maths are preferred.
There are other factors to consider.
- You usually need a driving licence.
- You must be fit enough to climb ladders and scramble over rough ground.
- Staff on construction sites must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent, to prove their competence to do the job. You will need to pass a health and safety test to qualify for this scheme.
Most planning and development surveyors specialise in either planning (deciding on the overall use of an area) or development (overseeing the construction of new buildings on the site). Planning is mostly done in the public sector; development in the private sector. Look for jobs with surveying or insurance companies or with the property sections of private industry, as well as with the Civil Service and local authorities. Employment opportunities in the public sector generally fluctuate less than in the private sector.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)
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Job Outlook Scotland and UK
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What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- initiative and a creative approach to problem solving
- excellent communication, negotiation and research skills
- strong maths skills
- an interest in socio-economic trends
- a good knowledge of local planning regulations
- understanding of environmental issues
- sound judgement
- good IT skills
- a persuasive, tactful and diplomatic manner.
You need to be able to:
- work with a wide range of people
- analyse data and write reports
- work as part of a team and independently
- evaluate conflicting arguments
- make decisions which may sometimes be unpopular
- manage budgets and meet deadlines.
- Once you have completed an accredited degree you would find employment as a trainee surveyor.
- To qualify as a chartered surveyor you would complete your Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) which is 24 months of structured training, consisting of on the job learning and assessment. This leads to RICS membership and the status of chartered surveyor.
- Chartered Surveyors have to complete 20 hours continued professional development (CPD) every year.
- After gaining experience, you may be able to move on to a senior post, then into management.
- Promotion prospects are generally better within larger organisations.
- You might become a self-employed consultant.
- Gaining membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) may improve your prospects.
The RICS publishes a list of accredited degree and postgraduate courses.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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