Planning and Development Surveyor

What is a Planning and Development Surveyor?

A Planning and Development Surveyor is a professional who plays a pivotal role in the development and management of construction projects. These projects can involve creating new buildings or refurbishing existing structures. Planning and Development Surveyors are responsible for overseeing every aspect of these projects, from their initial concepts to their successful completion. In this guide, we’ll explore the role of a Planning and Development Surveyor, their responsibilities, the path to becoming one, potential salaries, career prospects, and related opportunities.

What Does a Planning and Development Surveyor Do?

Planning and Development Surveyors are tasked with several important responsibilities:

Project Development

  • Developing and managing new building or refurbishment projects.
  • Creating proposals for these projects and ensuring they align with client expectations and regulatory requirements.

Team Management

  • Recruiting and coordinating team members for each project.
  • Collaborating with external industry professionals, such as architects and engineers, to ensure project success.

Financial Planning

  • Providing valuations on properties and developments.
  • Advising clients on financing options for their building plans.
  • Preparing and submitting planning permission applications.

How to Become a Planning and Development Surveyor

Becoming a Planning and Development Surveyor involves specific entry requirements, training programs, and skill development. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Entry Requirements

  • To enter this profession, you typically need an accredited degree in a relevant subject such as surveying, estate management, economics, or land and property development.
  • Common entry requirements for degree courses include a minimum of 3 A levels/H grades and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (C or above, or 4 or above in England), or the relevant BTEC/SQA National Awards (or equivalent).

Postgraduate Conversion

  • Graduates without an accredited degree in a property-related field or those with a non-property-related degree may need to pursue a postgraduate conversion qualification approved by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
  • Some large surveying firms may support you in obtaining this conversion qualification through a distance learning graduate traineeship or as a full-time program before employment.

Alternative Path

  • Those with a relevant HND/HNC or NVQ/SVQ, along with substantial work experience, may enter the field as surveying technicians.
  • With further training, it’s possible to qualify as a Planning and Development Surveyor.

Chartered Status

  • After securing employment, you’ll continue to update your skills and work towards chartered status.
  • To achieve chartered status, you’ll need to complete the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) scheme with RICS or register with the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
  • Upon gaining a minimum of 2 years’ experience and performing well in an interview, you can attain chartered status.

Working Conditions

Working as a Planning and Development Surveyor comes with specific conditions:

  • While there is some day-to-day travel involved, overnight stays are infrequent.
  • Most job opportunities are in urban areas with high levels of commercial activity.
  • Flexibility in the public sector is increasing, with options for part-time work and career breaks.

Planning and Development Surveyor Salary

Salaries for Planning and Development Surveyors can vary based on experience and the type of projects they’re involved in. Here’s an approximate salary range:

  • New graduates can expect to earn between £20,000 and £25,000 per year.
  • Experienced chartered surveyors can achieve a salary of £30,000 to £42,000.
  • Those in senior positions can earn in excess of £70,000 per year.

Please note that these figures are approximate and may vary based on factors like location and specialization.

Career Prospects and Progression

Planning and Development Surveyors have several career progression opportunities:

  • Graduate trainees can advance to roles like surveyor, senior surveyor, and even associate or partner with several years of experience.
  • Achieving equity partner status can result in a high salary and a share of the company’s profits.
  • In the public sector, you can enhance your career prospects with a Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) qualification.
  • Specialized knowledge in areas like regeneration, conservation, or land management is valuable in an era where sustainable development is a growing priority.
  • Exploring other areas of surveying, such as waste management, arts and antiques, or telecommunications, is an option.
  • Planning and Development Surveyors can also take their skills abroad, contributing to disaster-relief projects and more.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Working as a Planning and Development Surveyor has its advantages and disadvantages:


  • Varied work with opportunities for travel within the UK and overseas.
  • Rare need for weekend work, with the possibility of extra hours.
  • Significant responsibility and the chance to contribute to the visual transformation of buildings.


  • The role can be demanding and stressful due to high levels of responsibility.

Related Opportunities

If you’re interested in the construction and property development industry, you may also consider related career opportunities:

  • Land/Geomatic Surveyor: Focusing on mapping and measuring land and sea areas.
  • Rural Property/Practice Surveyor: Specializing in rural property management and valuation.
  • Town Planner: Dealing with urban planning, zoning, and land use regulations.

Further Information

For more information on pursuing a career as a Planning and Development Surveyor, you can explore resources from the following organizations:

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