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27 Oct, 2023/ by Surveyor Local /News

aaRegular readers of Surveyor Local's news items will be aware that we regularly implore prospective homebuyers to organise a suitable survey with a Chartered Surveyor, in order to verify that the building is structurally sound, listing any potential problems identified in the assessment, and providing qualified advice as to what remedial action might be necessary.

And there's a good reason for us recommending this.

Some might think that there's some financial advantage to be gained for the firm from having to appoint a Chartered Surveyor, but the answer is far simpler to the question as to whether you should sign a chartered surveyor up or not.


What does a surveyor do?

The surveyor's role is a diverse one - indeed, there are several different surveyor titles covering assorted areas in the industry. 

For example, in construction, there are building surveyors, who help in the development of many types of structures from housing estates to many-floored towers, those surveyors who look after the management of the project, quantity surveyors who verify the financial viability of the construction project, and building control surveyors, who ensure any constructions fit with all current and appropriate regulations.

Meanwhile, when looking at a piece of land as a whole, there are surveyors whose specialism looks at how the land is used (including rivers, lakes and the sea), while others are devoted to minimising the impact on the environment of projects, and individuals who oversee mining and extract of resources.

And then there are the property surveyors, who look after the valuation, sale and purchase of all types of residential and commercial buildings, those who specifically manage valuations of properties and businesses as viable financial concerns, and more still who look after the management of facilities.

The variation of the role is dependent on the surveyor and the level of qualification and accreditation they have achieved (either at a technical college or university).

The greatest authority is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which lists the following to describe the principal roles of a surveyor's (which is certainly not intended to be exhaustive):

  • Verification of compliance with building regulations
  • Verification of compliance with accessibility and health and safety requirements
  • Assessing structural issues
  • Providing environmental and energy-efficiency advice
  • Inspecting buildings for insurance purposes
  • Researching documentation from all relating to the property
  • Advising clients on boundary disputes and planning applications
  • Managing budgets and overseeing input to conservation, grade listing or improvement grants
  • Planning projects for the historic building conservation

What defines a ‘chartered surveyor' as opposed to a ‘surveyor'?

Once again, we can look to RICS to provide the definitive answer.

A chartered surveyor is “a surveyor who has gained and, importantly, consistently demonstrates a high level of skill or competence in their field of work, recognised by the award of formal accreditation from RICS.”

For those who have attained that accreditation, the key thing to look out for when searching for a survey is what letters the chartered surveyor has after their name: only those accredited by RICS can use FRICS or MRICS and only they can apply the prefix ‘chartered' to their job title. As RICS points out, these labels show a high level of excellence in their field, which is also an internationally recognised accreditation.

The accreditation is certainly not a singular exercise. As with many aspects of working life, particularly in the construction industry, things will change, new techniques are developed and improved technology is brought out. Therefore, the chartered surveyor will be required to undertake further continued professional development courses to ensure they maintain and surpass work to the highest standards expected keep the accreditation continuous, as well as sustaining the high levels of trust and accountability that are expected of them in this position.

Attaining the chartered accreditation is more than simply getting letters after the name and belonging to an exclusive club; it shows those who are looking for a qualified surveyor that they have achieved the highest expected levels in their profession, and, more importantly, that you can rely on their expertise when you appoint them for your survey.

Therefore, by comparison, qualified surveyors, who hold at least a satisfactory degree associated with the area of surveying they apply themselves to, while they do have a level of training for the job they do, their level of expertise is naturally at a lower focus than that of a chartered surveyor.


What does a chartered surveyor do?

Again, the authority of the definition remains with RICS, who describes the chief work of chartered surveyor in this list (again, not intended to be exhaustive):

  • Examining buildings for structural defects
  • Providing professional assessments on property valuations
  • Offering expert advice on a property's environmental issues
  • Measuring and collecting data on specific land 
  • Providing accurate and detailed reports of the potential impact of any development or engineering works
  • Ensuring accurate financial statement and precise control of construction projects
  • Managing any contractual relationships between the various parties

You can learn more about the separate roles of different surveyor jobs, and what they do in more detail by checking the RICS article here.


The role of the chartered surveyor is clearly a technical and complex one, and, when you're planning to buy a new home, you'll want to know that you're getting the best, qualified chartered surveyor to perform the necessary tasks to get to a clear and precise survey on the building.

And that's where it is really worth contacting Surveyor Local

Not only will the surveyor work hard to find all the problems affecting the property, they will also be keen to adopt new and proven technology in order to give the best survey possible.

Surveyor Local will provide a quote that will not change - what you are quoted is what you pay. 

You'll get one of over 100 fully-qualified RICS surveyors, who is local to the property you are buying so they will know the area and bring that knowledge to their assessment and their analysis of the issues with the new home.

Next-day bookings are usually available, and your appointed surveyor will look after arranging access to the property with the estate agent and the seller. Once the survey is complete, they will send you a PDF copy of the report by email.

Call  to get your survey quote started, or to discuss your concerns with the acquisition of your planned property.

Or you can get a quick quote, using Surveyor Local's easy-to-use quote generator. Simply input your name, postcode, email address, phone number and an approximate value of the property (usually the agreed price), and we'll give you an instant quote for the work (with an email copy). 

We'll do the rest once you confirm your acceptance of the quote.

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