The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors estimates that there are more than 100 varied roles within the surveying profession and there are 3 main sectors where surveyors operate: construction, property, and land.   

However, contrary to what the word ‘surveyor’ may mean to you, all surveyors are not the same!

Revealed below are the differences between some of the most common types of surveyors, what their role entails, and what these differences really mean!


How surveyors differ

Some of the main surveying roles mentioned below may be known to even those without a background in construction or property, but what do they really do?



Quantity Surveyors – they assess the financial impact and profitability of construction projects and manage the commercial and contractual aspects of construction.

Building Control Surveyors – they review and approve plans for construction work and inspect site activities to ensure designs and construction works comply with Building Regulations.



Valuation Surveyors – they analyse, measure and value buildings or businesses, both residential and commercial; these include those who act as residential estate agents and commercial property agents.

Building Surveyors – they survey existing buildings to record their condition and prepare reports to record these findings and to recommend remedial repairs and restoration.



Geomatic Surveyors – they survey land and buildings to record dimensions, levels and to map layouts.


What is a Chartered Surveyor?

Firstly, surveyors do not have to be Chartered!

However, Chartered Surveyors are those who are Members or Fellows of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and the term Chartered Surveyor cannot be used by anyone who is not a Member or Fellow of RICS.

To become a Member, a surveyor must first obtain a degree which is accredited by the RICS, and also acquire relevant experience within the field of surveying. They then must pass the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) to be granted the entry level of Chartered Membership status.

To progress to the level of Fellow, a surveyor must already be a Member of RICS, and then be elected to the Fellowship status by having sufficient experience, and by demonstrating the following.

All Chartered Members (MRICS) are eligible to apply for fellowship, subject to the rules of conduct for members. To qualify as an RICS Fellow, they need to show how their career experience demonstrates four out of twelve professional characteristics.

Champion – gained recognition from an appropriate authority, such as:

  • Service to RICS
  • Service to another professional body
  • Market or industry recognition

Expert – verified as advancing, sharing, or interpreting knowledge by:

  • Qualification
  • Teaching
  • Dispute resolution

Influencer – influenced the way professionalism is perceived

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Diversity and Inclusion

Role model – exceeded standards benefitting clients, colleagues or the public

  • Client care
  • Operation
  • Society and environment


As shown above, there are a vast number of surveying roles within the profession, and understanding each of their roles and how they could be a benefit to your project is critical to choosing the correct surveyor; and choosing the correct surveyor is important for a successful outcome to your project.