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How to become a Building Control Surveyor

building control surveyor careers

What does a Building Control Surveyor do?

Building control surveyors ensure that new building construction and alterations to existing buildings conform to building regulations. Plans are submitted to building control surveyors for approval and granting of planning permission, or are rejected if they fail to meet the required standards. A report explaining the decision will need to be provided by the surveyor.

Once the plans are approved, the building control surveyor will:

  • liaise with architects, designers, surveyors and engineers
  • suggest ways to improve cost-effectiveness in respect of use of materials and energy savings
  • carry out regular inspections of the building and building methods
  • take samples of new building materials and assess their suitability
  • maintain records and issue completion certificates.
If, during the course of the construction, the building control surveyor decides the building no longer conforms to the regulations, action to remedy the situation will be planned and implemented.

Building control surveyors working for local authorities also approve demolitions and carry out surveys of potentially dangerous buildings that may have been damaged by fire or adverse weather conditions. Other responsibilities may include administering entertainment licences, safety at sports grounds and other open air events, and cinema and theatre inspections.

What's the working environment like working as a Building Control Surveyor?

Hours can vary but are normally usual office hours. Some building control surveyors will be on 24-hour call-out in case the emergency services need their expertise to inspect a dangerous building. Flexi-time and job-sharing may be available.

Time is spent between an office and site visits, which take place in all sorts of weather and will involve wearing safety equipment such as waterproofs and a hard hat. There is often the need to climb scaffolding and ladders to inspect roofs.

What does it take to become a Building Control Surveyor?

To be a building control surveyor you should:

  • have a broad knowledge of the technical and legal aspects of building
  • have a meticulous and logical approach towards problem solving
  • be able to understand technical drawings
  • have strong IT skills
  • have excellent communication skills, both written and spoken
  • be able to explain technical terms to members of the public
  • have time management skills and organisational ability
  • be able to work alone and as part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • hold a driving licence.

Building Control Surveyor Career Opportunities

Local authorities are the major employers of building control surveyors but there are also opportunities in the private sector, within government-appointed inspection bodies. There are possibilities for self-employment, consultancy work and to specialise in areas such as the fire retardancy of buildings and sports stadia.

Promotion in local authorities is linked to qualifications and experience, and there are opportunities to move into technical or planning roles in other sections.