Building surveyors advise project managers and engineers on how to construct or renovate a building so that it meets local codes. Professionals usually specialize in a certain aspect or phase of construction. A surveyor might consult engineers on creating designs and blueprints, oversee the actual construction, or inspect finished projects. Some building surveyor jobs involve carefully investigating existing structures to make sure they comply with zoning, fire, and safety laws. Building surveyor jobs can be found in a number of settings, including municipal government organizations, private consulting firms, and construction companies.
Some building surveyors act as consultants to civil engineers and architects. They carefully review building plans and blueprints to ensure that a proposed project will comply with local regulations. If a design does not meet a surveyor's standards, he will suggest the appropriate modifications. A surveyor may point out small problems such as insufficient lighting in front of a door, or identify major issues like a lack of handicapped access or parking. Designs that are approved by the consulting building surveyor can be submitted to landowners and project managers so that construction can begin.
The majority of building surveyor jobs are held by government officials and licensed private professionals who are authorized to issue building permits. Surveyors speak with project managers about their plans for construction, and discuss issues such as fire safety, disabled access, energy efficiency, pollution concerns, and waste management strategies. Many surveyors oversee the actual building process and evaluate the quality of workmanship. Once a structure has been completed, they perform final evaluations and identify unforeseen problems.
Professionals who specialize in evaluating the safety of older structures are often called building inspectors. Inspectors, who are usually employed by government organizations, perform walkthroughs of buildings to check for violations. They identify potential fire hazards and other health safety violations, such as improper food storage or obstructed doorways. Building inspectors might also measure a building's proximity to neighboring structures and streets to confirm compliance with zoning laws. If violations are discovered, inspectors can impose fines and suggest ways that building owners can fix problems.
In order to obtain most building surveyor jobs, individuals are usually required to obtain licenses and certification. Local governing boards grant licenses to surveyors after they pass training courses and written exams. Classroom and practical training can prepare an individual for the detailed responsibilities and legal aspects of building surveyor jobs. Many professionals seek additional certification from private organizations to improve their credentials and knowledge of building law.