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What does a Chartered Surveyor do?

Updated: Aug 8, 2021

Asking what a chartered surveyor does is just like asking what does an artist do. The reason being, both of these professions have many variations that make it impossible to give them a precise definition. Therefore, before we understand the meaning of a “Chartered Surveyor,” It’s highly imperative to understand the meaning of a “Surveyor”.

What is a Surveyor?

As the name suggests, a person that carries out surveys is known as a surveyor. But that’s not it. Building Surveyors are skilled people who use local, historical and current data, knowledge, and information to form a full picture of any given building. This could, for example, relate to undertaking a building survey of an office building that a client wants to know more about before acquiring (sometimes called a pre-acquisition survey) or a house, which a potential homebuyer is interested in purchasing. Surveyors can often be involved in advice on specification and design on small construction projects like a loft conversion or residential extension. Building surveyors usually build up a good variety of experience as no two buildings are the same; however, not all building surveyors are chartered surveyors.

Difference between a Surveyor and a Chartered Surveyor?

The main difference between a surveyor and a chartered surveyor lies in the qualifications and experience. A Chartered Surveyor is a certified person that has passed a professional exam or assessment from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors or (RICS). In short, the term “Chartered Surveyor” is only valid to the professionals that are RICS members. Also, only these members are allowed to use FRICS or MRICS after their names. In contrast, a non-chartered Surveyor may have just as much experience as a chartered surveyor but may not have formalised their skills and training into a professional qualification. For instance, in the UK, many professionals can call themselves a surveyor just because they provide services related to construction, property valuation, real estate and measurement of land and building. However, they might lack proper training and qualification from any authoritative body. Whilst this may not always be a problem, gaining a professional qualification (like MRICS) can often provide greater reassurance to clients.

How do you become a Chartered Surveyor?

To become a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Surveyors need to meet several professional standards that include;

1. Qualification

To qualify as a Chartered Surveyor, you must at least have a graduate or postgraduate degree in relevant subject. The RICS provide an up to date list of which courses / degrees are approved and accredited by them. If you do not have a relevant degree, you can still undertake further training / education to transfer over to surveying.

You then need to spend time in employment undergoing training and complete something called the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). This is normally a mixture of mandatory, optional and technical competencies that are defined by the RICS and are relevant to whichever ‘pathway’ you want to pursue chartership for. By pathway we mean, Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Chartered Building Surveyor etc. A full list of pathways can be found here.

2. Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

There is a lot of emphasis on CPD both pre and post chartership. Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) members are required to sign an undertaking to continue updating their knowledge through several seminars, talks, and courses so they can maintain their technical skills and remain professionally competent. Furthermore, each Chartered Surveyor has to adhere to the minimum CPD requirement of 20 hours per year, including at least 10 hours of structured or formal CPD. The CPD requirement ensures that a chartered surveyor remains current in their skills and knowledge.

3. Other Professional Standards

Chartered Surveyors are obliged to demonstrate high professional standards that include;

● Providing high standard services

● Always work with professionalism and promote trust

● Take accountability

● Work with integrity

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is UK based professional body enforced by more than 134,000 qualified and trained members that promote the highest global standards in the management, development, and valuation of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Contact ZFN Chartered Surveyors today to discuss your surveying / building project needs.


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