What does a building surveyor do?

By Vincent Brady

Many people think a surveyor is a person who considers the value of a property when someone wants a mortgage. However, there is much more to being a building surveyor than just this. It involves intense training, including obtaining a relevant degree before they start work related training. In Ireland, State Registration for a Building Surveyor is a legal requirement and they are only able to obtain this when they have achieved the highest standard of qualification.

Many Registered Building Surveyors are Chartered Members of at least one of the following organisations, and sometimes all three.

These are the three main bodies recognised under Building Surveyor legislation, and suitable qualified members are considered competent to practice as Registered Building Surveyors. Only suitably qualified people can use the title ‘Building Surveyor’.

Registration gives peace of mind to anyone wanting to use their services, as they have to have achieved defined levels of professionalism and training before their names are added to the Register.

The services a building surveyor offers

A building surveyor can be involved with new buildings or old buildings and are usually the experts when it comes to what can and cannot be done with listed buildings. Among the many services they offer you will find that they:

  • Develop proposals and seek tenders from contractors for work.
  • Will work with Quantity Surveyors to establish the costs for any proposed works.
  • Track construction projects to ensure they are meeting deadlines and budgets.
  • Will act as project managers.
  • Will be able to deal with civil engineering projects, and structural engineering will also be a service they offer.
  • Their time is usually split between an office and being on site. While in the office they will be involved in creating specific designs for clients, including the costs and expected timescale of the work.
  • They will work with clients and help them to obtain the required planning permissions that may be needed. They will also be prepared to hold meetings with local residents that may be objecting to plans to see if there are adjustments that can be made to reduce the number of objections raised.
  • They are usually working on more than one project at a time and will travel between sites to be able to ensure they are all running as smoothly as they should.

As well as offering these services, they have to be able to advise on health and safety on construction sites and keep up to date at all times with any relevant legislation. Knowing the ins and outs of property law and building regulations is an important part of being a good building surveyor.

Who is a building surveyor likely to be commissioned by?

A building surveyor will be commissioned by contracting companies to help and advise with the building of shopping centres, leisure facilities, housing estates and many other different projects. They are used by owners who want to redevelop or restore a property, and this can involve them working on historically or architecturally important buildings.

They can be called on to appear in court as an expert witness, particularly if there is a dispute or difference of opinion on how best to restore or develop a site. Insurance companies and local authorities will also use their services for things such as boundary disputes, poor workmanship or accident claims, fire loss and flood damage, among other things.

Sometimes they are employed directly by larger construction companies, and others are part of a firm of other qualified surveyors. This could be a company such as Banrach Consulting Engineers who have spent the last 15 years a building a team of multitalented experts, which means they can work on all aspects of construction work, no matter how small or large the project is. It also means they can offer their skills across the whole of Ireland and have been involved in projects of all types, including eco-friendly ones.

How you can find the best building surveyor for your project

The very first thing you must ensure is that you’re using a Registered Building Surveyor. Never be afraid to ask for proof of their registration as they will be happy to show you this if they are genuine. It’s even better if they have experience in the type of work you need their services for, and in most cases, there will be someone within the firm that has the skills you require.

Personal recommendations are always a good way to find out how competent they are, as people will soon tell you about any bad experiences they have had as well as the good ones. Once you have a firm in mind, chat with them to see if you feel comfortable dealing with them, as you could be working together for quite some time and a good relationship is vital.

Ask to see previous projects they have been involved with and use these to help you to gauge the quality of their work. A firm that is proud of their portfolio will be happy to discuss the sorts of problems they encountered, and how they solved them. They will also be happy to provide you with contact details of previous clients if you want to talk to other people that have used their services. This might seem like a lot of work to find the right building surveyor for your project, but it can be costly to get it wrong, so it’s is well worth the effort.

At Banrach Consulting Engineers, we are trusted by solicitors, insurance companies, construction companies and have no problem at all answering any questions you may have.

As well as being experienced experts, we are very approachable on all matters. The number to ring is 01 969 6373, or you can email us at vincent@vbce.ie. However you decide to get in touch, you will not regret contacting Banrach Consulting Engineers.