How to Become a Planning and Development Surveyor in the UK

Do you have a diligent attention to detail and aspire to take part in the development of a well-planned environment? The career of a planning and development surveyor has the best package for you. These professionals investigate, assess, plan, and manage proposals to build structures or plan for the refurbishment of the prevailing structures in both rural and urban areas.

What do planning and development surveyors do?

As a planning and development surveyor, it is your duty to:

  • Regenerate run-down estates
  • Redevelop former industrial sites
  • Conserve property and resources in rural and urban areas
  • Research market information such as property and land records
  • Use computer software to analyze information
  • Assess the workability of plans
  • Preside over planning applications
  • Raise finances from investment companies, funding bodies and development agencies
  • Negotiate tenders and contracts
  • Advise clients on legal and financial matters like compulsory purchases
  • Work out the likely environmental, social and economic impact of new development projects


Earnings for planning and development surveyors vary with employer, location, sector and level of expertise.

Graduate surveyor


Experienced surveyor


Senior surveyors

Over £50,000

Source: Prospects


The position of a planning and development surveyor requires you to have the following important qualities:

  • A diligent attention to detail
  • Good organizational skills
  • Service orientation
  • Critical thinking and judgmental skills
  • Excellent decision making skills
  • Excellent report writing skills
  • Outstanding people skills
  • Ability to lead others and work as part of a team
  • Good understanding of planning procedures and policies
  • Budget awareness and excellent financial skills
  • A clear understanding of sustainable and environmental friendly development issues


Entry levels for the career of a planning and development surveyor require you to secure a professional qualification or degree recognized by the RICS. Candidates qualified in the following specialties are eligible for this position:

  • Business studies
  • Surveying
  • Estate management
  • Economics
  • Land and property development

Individuals who don’t have a recognized degree can also pursue postgraduate training in surveying. However, some employers provide on-the-job training for these professionals. There are also distance learning postgraduate conversion programs for those who work in the field of property or construction. Candidates with a foundation degree or a HND/HNC in construction or surveying might start working as surveying technicians and then become surveyors with experience and further training.

It is advisable to update your skills and expertise throughout the year. Working towards acquiring a chartered status with CIOB or RICS will improve your career prospects. While in practice, you need to complete the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence to gain eligibility for the RICS chartered status. Additionally, you are required to have at least two years of postgraduate work experience and attend an interview with a board of assessors. The CIOB chartered status also requires you to have at least two years of experience and an accredited honors degree. Candidates who achieve these statuses are open to greater employability chances and higher salaries.

Career prospects

Typical employers for planning and development surveyors include government departments, local authorities, property developers, construction firms, specialist surveying practices and building conservation bodies. According to the NCS, there will about 1,760,000 jobs for these professionals by 2020 in the UK.

If you have strong instructing and managerial skills and have a keen interest in planning and development, this career is fit for you!