Surveying involves producing a detailed critical inspection of something. When anything is built, it is crucial that each and every factor that may affect construction is correctly identified, assessed and evaluated. What is the topography of this area of land? How far is it between A and B? What materials are underneath the surface that might impact on construction?

Surveying is required at every stage of construction, from the conception of ideas, to the building and maintenance of any structure. Overall, the industry can be broken down into the following areas: building, general practice, geomatics, hydrographics, land and quantity. Some areas overlap in terms of their focus, but they all use different methods of investigation and surveying.

Jobs in geomatics

Geomatics is the science and study of spatially related information focusing on the collection, interpretation/analysis and presentation of the natural, built, social and economic environments. Hydrographic surveying is the science of measurement and description of features, which affect maritime navigation, marine construction, dredging, offshore oil exploration/offshore oil drilling and related activities.

Building surveying jobs

Building surveyors are the most commonly known type of surveyor, responsible for carrying out structural surveys on existing buildings and ensuring that the construction of new ones is being conducted in the correct manner. Building surveyors are present from the design process to maintenance. As such, these surveyors may often act like a project manager, holding responsibility for many processes throughout the cycle of construction.

Geomatics and land surveyors focus on topography (i.e. the lie of the land). Geomatics surveyors use satellite images and other information to determine the exact nature of a landscape. Land surveyors, on the other hand, work more ‘on the ground’, using a variety of instruments, such as an ‘auto level’ (a specialist levelling instrument), to determine the contours of the ground and measure distances between certain points on a construction site.

Jobs in hydrographic surveying

Hydrographic surveyors are concerned with water-based surveying. They use satellite navigation and other technologies to accurately measure the depths of oceans, rivers and lakes. They are the darlings of offshore oil rigs, dock installations, dredgers, and any other operations that are concerned with locating the depths of aquatic environments.

Quantity surveying jobs

Quantity surveyors’ careers are all about budgets and calculations. Once an architectural design is completed and the construction methods and strategies have been defined, all materials and related resources must be calculated and priced. A quantity surveyor will look at all the materials and labour required for a building, and come up with a detailed cost for the whole project.

Surveying apprenticeships

School leavers can access this industry via Advanced Apprenticeships, training in roles like general practice surveyor technician, building surveyor technician, quantity surveyor technician, valuation surveyor technician and maintenance surveyor technician.

School leavers could also look at the surveying-related courses on offer at further education college and university. 


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