What is a surveyor?

A surveyor is responsible for making precise measurements of topographical features and areas to determine property boundaries. They provide data for engineering industries, construction projects, and map making that is relevant to their client or employer.

How to become a surveyor?

You can get into this job through a university course, college course, and an apprenticeship.

For university, you can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like construction, building surveying or civil engineering.

You can also take a college course to learn some of the skills needed for the job, which may help when applying for a trainee position. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment
  • Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Surveying
  • Level 3 Diploma in Civil Engineering for Technicians
  • T level in Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction

The following apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:

  • Advanced surveying technician
  • Advanced civil engineering technician
  • Higher construction quantity surveying technician

Surveyor duties

Surveyor duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Take measurements of distances and angles on a property or section of land in order to establish legal boundaries
  • Employ specialized equipment, including distance measuring wheels, GPS, and geographic information system (GIS) devices to measure boundaries and contours
  • Prepare two-dimensional maps and three-dimensional computer renderings of property features, such as boundary lines, geological points of interest, existing structures, water features and utility lines
  • Communicate with architects, engineers and construction personnel as needed during land development projects to verify geological and property boundary data and contribute to building design as needed
  • Examine previous records and evidence to ensure data accuracy

Surveyor skills

To be an effective surveyor, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Working knowledge of GPS and GIS 
  • Tech savvy, including familiarity with CAD software
  • Aptitude in math and problem-solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Great organizational and leadership skills

How to find a surveyor job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the surveyor jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for surveyor jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Surveyor Job Titles

When you search for surveyor jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for surveyor jobs include;

  • Surveying technician
  • Geomatics surveyor
  • Land surveyors

What does a surveyor do?

The job of a surveyor varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of surveyor job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a surveyor include;

  • draught plans using CAD software
  • estimate and draw up project costs
  • gather and analyse data for plans and reports
  • assist with environmental impact assessments
  • survey buildings or map land use
  • value land, property and machinery
  • organise the sale of assets by auction
  • supervise construction operatives on site