What A Building Control Surveyor Career Looks Like

Soundarya Mahalakshmi

Last Updated: June 23, 2024
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Building control surveyors play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and quality of buildings and construction projects. They are responsible for inspecting and approving plans, issuing certificates of compliance, and ensuring that building works adhere to relevant regulations and standards. Their work contributes to the protection of public health and safety, as well as the integrity and longevity of structures. If you’re interested in a career in construction and enjoy working with building plans, regulations, and safety standards, then a career as a building control surveyor might be a great fit for you. This profession offers a diverse range of opportunities, from inspecting small residential projects to overseeing complex commercial developments.

They also play a crucial role in ensuring that construction projects meet the necessary building codes, regulations, and safety standards. They inspect buildings at various stages of construction to make sure they’re safe for occupancy and compliant with local laws. It’s their job to spot potential issues and ensure that everything from the foundations to the roofs meets the required standards. Think of them as the quality control and safety experts of the construction world, working to keep buildings and the people who use them safe.

What Does A Building Control Surveyor Do?

 Construction worker on roof.

Building inspections are a crucial part of the construction process, ensuring that buildings are constructed safely and in accordance with approved plans. Building control surveyors are responsible for conducting these inspections at various stages of construction, from the initial groundwork to the final completion. Their main objective is to verify that the work aligns with approved plans and meets safety standards.

In addition to inspections, building control surveyors also review architectural and engineering plans to ensure compliance with building codes, zoning regulations, and other relevant laws. They may provide feedback to architects and builders on necessary changes to ensure that the plans meet all requirements. Enforcing building codes and regulations is another important aspect of their role. Building control surveyors assess structural integrity, fire safety, accessibility, and other safety requirements to ensure that buildings are in compliance with the applicable codes. This varies depending on the location and type of structure. Processing and approving building permits, occupancy certificates, and other necessary documents is also part of their responsibilities. They ensure that all the required paperwork is in order before construction begins, ensuring that projects are legally compliant.

Building control surveyors are like the safety sheriffs of the construction world. They’re the people you call when you want to make sure your building project is up to snuff with all the rules and regulations. They work closely with builders, architects, and property owners to ensure everything is on the up-and-up. If something’s not quite right, they’re the ones who swoop in to help fix it. These inspectors are all about public safety. They want to make sure that the buildings going up in their jurisdiction are safe and sound. Nobody wants a rickety building that could pose risks to the folks inside or even the neighbours. So, these surveyors are on a mission to make sure everything is built safely and by the book.

They’ve got to keep meticulous notes about all their inspections and interactions because, well, there’s a lot of red tape in the world of construction. It’s not just for fun; it’s for legal and regulatory purposes. If something goes wrong, they’ve got the receipts.

Essential Technical Skills

A woman's silhouette against bookshelves, symbolizing knowledge and learning.

To be an effective building control surveyor, you should master a range of technical skills. These skills will enable you to carry out your duties effectively and ensure that construction projects meet the necessary safety and compliance standards.

Building Codes and Regulations: having a solid grasp of building codes and regulations is a must for anyone involved in construction and building oversight. These codes are all about keeping people safe and ensuring that buildings are constructed to high standards. They cover everything from structural integrity to fire safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, and more. Zoning regulations add another layer, guiding how land and structures can be used, which is crucial for urban planning. In essence, codes are the rulebook for construction, and understanding and applying them is essential to create safe, durable, and environmentally friendly structures.

Construction Knowledge: Knowing different construction methods, whether it’s traditional or modern like modular construction, is key. It’s like having a toolbox with various tools – you pick the right one for the job. And materials, well, they’re the building blocks of any project. Lumber, concrete, steel, and the rest, each has its place, and knowing when and how to use them is crucial. Reading architectural and engineering drawings is like reading a project’s blueprint – you need to see the big picture and all the little details. Structural engineering principles help you understand the strength and stability of the structure you’re working on.nAnd when it comes to safety, it’s paramount. From the right gear like personal protective equipment (PPE) to safety protocols and fall protection, it’s all about making sure everyone goes home in one piece.

Structural Engineering: Knowledge of structural engineering principles helps you assess the stability and integrity of building structures. In addition to construction methods, understanding the various materials used in construction is crucial. This includes having knowledge of different types of lumber, concrete, steel, masonry, insulation, roofing materials, and finishing materials like drywall and flooring. Another essential skill is the ability to read and interpret architectural and engineering drawings, known as blueprint reading. This includes understanding floor plans, elevations, sections, and details to ensure compliance with design specifications. Furthermore, having a basic understanding of structural engineering principles is important for assessing the stability and integrity of building structures, including load-bearing walls, beams, columns, and foundations. Coursera Offers good structural engineering courses that one can check out.

Building Systems: You should be knowledgeable about various building systems, including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and fire protection, to assess their compliance with safety standards. The structural system is the backbone of any building, providing the necessary support and stability. It consists of various elements such as beams, columns, foundations, and the overall load-bearing structure. These components work together to withstand external forces like wind and seismic loads, ensuring the building’s durability and safety. On the other hand, the architectural system focuses on the building’s aesthetics and layout. It includes components like walls, windows, doors, and finishes, which contribute to the overall appearance and usability of the structure. The architectural system is responsible for creating a visually appealing and functional space for occupants. The mechanical system plays a crucial role in maintaining a comfortable and healthy environment within the building. It includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which regulate temperature and air quality. Additionally, plumbing and fire protection systems are also part of the mechanical system, ensuring the availability of water supply and fire safety measures. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers free online courses through MIT OpenCourseWare. Their “Building Technology” courses cover various aspects of building systems and technology. Visit MIT OCW’s website to explore the available course materials.

Inspection Techniques: Develop skills in conducting thorough on-site inspections, including the ability to identify potential issues and verify compliance with plans and codes. In addition to these inspection techniques, there are several other methods commonly employed in the construction industry. One such method is geotechnical investigation, which involves studying the soil and rock conditions at a construction site to assess their stability and suitability for building. This helps identify potential hazards such as landslides or sinkholes. Another technique is electrical inspection, which ensures that the electrical systems in a building are installed correctly and meet safety standards. Fire safety inspections are also crucial, as they help identify potential fire hazards and ensure that fire protection systems are in place. These inspections help ensure that the final product meets the desired level of quality and performance. Visual Inspection Training courses are also available in India.

Risk Assessment: Assessing potential safety risks and hazards is a key aspect of the job. This includes understanding how various building elements can pose risks. After identifying potential hazards, the next step is to analyse the risks associated with them. This involves evaluating the likelihood and potential impact of each hazard. Risk analysis techniques, such as risk matrices, are used to determine the significance of the risks. Once the risks have been analysed, they are then evaluated and ranked based on their potential consequences and the likelihood of occurrence. This step helps in prioritising the risks and classifying them into categories such as low, moderate, high, or critical. Finally, strategies are developed to mitigate or manage these risks, which may include creating risk response plans, implementing safety measures, or taking preventive actions.

Building control surveyors play a crucial role in the construction industry. With their extensive knowledge of building codes and regulations, they meticulously review and evaluate construction plans and projects. Their primary objective is to guarantee that all construction work complies with these codes, placing utmost importance on safety, accessibility, and adherence to relevant standards. To accomplish this, they must possess a deep understanding of construction methods, materials, and techniques. By assessing the quality and safety of construction projects, they ensure that every component of a building meets the specified standards and requirements. Their expertise is vital in maintaining the integrity and compliance of construction projects.

Educational Qualification Options 

Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Civil Engineering: This programme provides a strong foundation in civil engineering, which is essential for understanding construction materials, structural design, and construction practices. It covers a wide range of subjects, including structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, transportation engineering, and construction management. JEE Main, conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), is a national-level entrance exam for undergraduate engineering courses, including B.Tech Civil Engineering. It consists of two sessions: January and April, each having two papers (Paper I and Paper II).

Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch): While less common for building control surveyors, a bachelor’s degree in architecture can be relevant, as it provides in-depth knowledge of building design and construction. This background can be particularly valuable when assessing architectural compliance and design features. Conducted by the Council of Architecture, NATA is the most widely recognised entrance exam for B.Arch in India. It assesses students’ aptitude in visual, spatial, and drawing skills, along with their understanding of basic design concepts.

Both of these undergraduate degree options can serve as a solid educational foundation for a career in building control surveying. While a postgraduate degree is not always required to become a building control surveyor, it can be beneficial for individuals seeking advanced knowledge and specialisation in this field. 

Master of Technology (M.Tech) in Construction Management: This programme focuses on the management and technical aspects of construction projects. It is designed to equip students with the skills needed to oversee construction projects, ensure compliance with building codes, and manage construction teams efficiently. M.Tech programmes typically cover topics such as project management, construction law, quality control, and safety management. Conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), GATE is a national-level entrance exam for postgraduate engineering programmes, including M.Tech Construction Management. It assesses students’ knowledge and aptitude in various engineering subjects, including civil engineering, mathematics, and aptitude.

Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Construction Management: An MBA with a concentration in construction management provides a broader perspective on managing construction projects, including financial, organisational, and strategic aspects. This degree can be particularly valuable if you aspire to hold managerial or leadership roles in the construction industry. Conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), CAT is a national-level entrance exam for postgraduate management programmes, including MBA Construction Management. It assesses students’ general knowledge, analytical aptitude, and verbal and quantitative skills.

Master of Science (M.Sc) in Building Control: Some universities may offer specialised M.Sc programmes in building control. These programmes provide in-depth knowledge of building regulations, codes, inspection techniques, and compliance processes. They are designed to prepare students for careers specifically focused on building control and compliance. Conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), GATE is a national-level entrance exam for postgraduate engineering programmes, including M.Sc Building Control. It assesses students’ knowledge and aptitude in various engineering subjects, including civil engineering, mathematics, and aptitude.

Relevant work experience is crucial for building control surveyors, and this can be gained through various roles in the construction industry. Working as site engineers, site supervisors, or in related positions allows individuals to develop a practical understanding of construction processes. Building control surveyors require a combination of education, practical experience, and professional development. To become a building control surveyor, one should obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering or Architecture, gain practical experience in the construction industry, pursue postgraduate education, obtain relevant certifications, stay informed and network with industry professionals, prepare for exams and licensing, apply for positions in government agencies, construction firms, or consulting firms, emphasise soft skills, and pursue continued professional development. These steps will help build a strong foundation in construction and design, enhance career prospects, and ensure a smooth transition into the construction industry.

What Are The Job Prospects?

Job prospects for building control surveyors can be promising, but they can vary based on factors such as location, economic conditions, and individual qualifications. Building control surveyors play a crucial role in the construction industry, ensuring that projects adhere to building codes and regulations. Their expertise is in high demand as long as construction projects continue to be undertaken. In the real estate development sector, these professionals may work for real estate developers to ensure compliance during the construction of both residential and commercial properties. Government bodies and regulatory agencies also employ building control surveyors to enforce building regulations and issue permits. 

Building control surveyors can find their niche in consulting firms, entrepreneurship, sustainability, niche specialisation, global perspective, and tech integration. Consulting firms offer expertise in construction and compliance, while starting a consulting business offers independence and flexibility. Specialisation in specific construction types, global perspectives, and tech integration can broaden horizons and expand expertise. Being tech-savvy is a valuable asset in the ever-evolving industry.

How is AI Changing These Careers?

Automation of Routine Tasks: AI-powered software is revolutionising the field of building control surveying by streamlining data entry and documentation processes. AI tools can streamline data entry, create standardised reports, streamline scheduling, and provide a 24/7 helpline for clients. Data Wizard extracts information from reports, drawings, and forms, eliminating the need for manual entry. Report Factory creates standardised reports, saving time and effort. Calendar Guru handles scheduling and appointments, sending reminders and setting appointments without difficulty. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can answer routine client questions, providing quick answers and guiding clients in the right direction.

Data Analysis:  Building control surveyors rely on collecting data from various sources, including site inspections, architectural plans, and construction documentation. However, this process can be time-consuming and prone to errors. AI technology can automate data extraction from documents and integrate data from different sources, creating a comprehensive dataset. Before analysing the collected data, it often requires cleaning and preprocessing. AI tools can automatically identify and rectify errors, remove duplicates, and standardise data, ensuring that the data is of high quality and ready for analysis.

AI-driven tools can generate visualisations, charts, and reports to summarise and present data in a user-friendly format. These tools provide a quick overview of compliance and building project status, making it easier for control surveyors to understand and communicate the information effectively.  AI can build predictive models based on historical data. For building control surveyors, this means predicting potential compliance issues, project delays, or structural risks. Machine learning algorithms can analyse data, identify patterns, and make forecasts, enabling control surveyors to proactively address potential problems and improve decision-making processes.

Predictive Maintenance: AI technology can help predict potential issues in equipment or building parts, reducing downtime and repair costs. It can also serve as an inspection overseer, overseeing crucial systems like HVAC, elevators, and electrical components. AI can also act as a 24/7 watchman, detecting even the smallest signs of trouble, ensuring smooth operation and safety standards. This proactive approach helps prevent issues from turning into major problems, ensuring a more efficient and safe work environment.

Building Inspection: Automated Image Analysis and AI-driven technology have revolutionised the field of building inspections. By analysing photographs and visual data, this advanced technology can efficiently detect structural defects, non-compliance with building codes, and safety hazards. It compares the collected data with reference images, promptly flagging any discrepancies. Moreover, drones equipped with cameras and AI-powered image analysis capabilities have become indispensable tools in building inspections. They capture high-resolution images of building exteriors and inaccessible areas, enabling AI to identify potential issues like cracks, leaks, or structural damage. Additionally, AI-powered optical character recognition (OCR) streamlines the analysis of construction documents, building plans, and inspection reports. This automated process accelerates the identification of areas of concern, benefiting building control surveyors.

Energy Efficiency: AI can optimise building systems for energy efficiency by monitoring and controlling heating, cooling, and lighting systems in real-time. Building control surveyors can use AI to assess and recommend energy-efficient upgrades and practises. AI technology has revolutionised the field of energy modelling and efficiency. With predictive energy modelling, AI can create accurate simulations that predict how changes in building design, materials, and equipment will impact energy efficiency. This invaluable information helps building control surveyors and designers make informed decisions and select energy-efficient solutions.

Another area where AI shines is in smart building controls. AI-driven building automation systems can optimise energy usage by dynamically adjusting lighting, HVAC, and other systems in real-time based on occupancy and environmental conditions. This ensures maximum energy savings without compromising occupant comfort. AI software provides energy-efficient design assistance to architects and engineers. By analysing data and utilising advanced algorithms, AI can recommend design features, materials, and layouts that minimise energy consumption from the early stages of building planning. This helps create buildings that are inherently energy-efficient and sustainable.

Upskilling With Certifications And Courses

In addition to the RICS Chartered Building Control Surveyor certification, professionals in the building control industry can also pursue the CABE Chartered Building Engineer certification. This certification is offered by the Chartered Association of Building Engineers and is suitable for individuals involved in building control, building inspection, and regulatory compliance. Another valuable certification is the ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Certification. This certification equips professionals with the knowledge and skills to audit quality management systems, which is essential for ensuring quality and compliance in construction projects.

Additionally, it is beneficial to consider enrolling in training programmes or obtaining certifications that are relevant to building control and construction management. In India, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR) offer programmes and certifications in this field. Specific courses focused on building control and compliance are also available, providing comprehensive knowledge of building regulations, codes, and inspection techniques. Government exams and licencing may be required, with specific requirements varying by state or municipality. Joining professional associations related to construction, surveying, or building control is another valuable step, as it provides networking opportunities and access to valuable resources. In India, the Institution of Engineers (India) and the Institute of Surveyors are examples of relevant professional associations.


Residential Building Control: Residential building control specialists play a crucial role in ensuring regulatory compliance in residential construction projects. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that these projects adhere to both local and national building codes, standards, and regulations. To achieve this, they meticulously review building plans, specifications, and construction activities to confirm compliance. One of the key tasks of these specialists is conducting thorough plan reviews. 

They carefully evaluate architectural plans, structural designs, electrical layouts, plumbing systems, and other aspects of the building to verify that they meet the required safety and structural standards. In addition to plan reviews, residential building control specialists also perform on-site inspections at various stages of construction. These inspections include foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing, and final inspections. During these inspections, they ensure that the work is being carried out in accordance with approved plans and safety codes. Overall, the role of residential building control specialists is vital in maintaining the integrity and safety of residential construction projects by enforcing regulatory compliance.

Commercial Building Control: Commercial building control specialists work with non-residential properties, including offices, retail spaces, industrial buildings, and commercial complexes. TCode Enforcers ensure commercial building codes and standards are strictly followed, ensuring no shortcuts are made. Plan Inspectors scrutinise blueprints to ensure architectural plans, structural designs, electrical layouts, and plumbing systems meet safety and structural standards. Safety Champions are the unsung heroes of commercial construction, ensuring every building project is a safe and sound place for business.

Fire Safety Specialist: They are experts in fire safety regulations, ensuring buildings follow local, national, and international codes. They scrutinise architectural and engineering plans to include fire safety features like alarms, fire exits, suppression systems, and fire-resistant materials. They also ensure proper installation of fire safety systems and compliance with approved safety standards, assess fire risks by examining factors like building materials, occupancy loads, ignition sources, and evacuation plans. They also create clear evacuation plans for everyone, while Fire Door Inspectors check the strength of fire doors and compartmentation effectiveness. Finally, educators run training programmes to educate building occupants and staff about fire safety procedures and protocols.

Accessibility and Inclusivity: These professionals are the backbone of accessibility regulations, ensuring that buildings and public spaces are inclusive for all. As plan pioneers, they meticulously examine architectural and engineering plans, ensuring that every aspect, from ramps to elevators and accessible bathrooms, adheres to inclusivity standards. On-site advocates oversee construction and installation, guaranteeing that approved plans are faithfully implemented. Accessibility detectives conduct thorough audits of existing structures, ensuring they meet accessibility requirements. As educators, they spread awareness about inclusivity to designers, contractors, and property managers. Public space improvers work towards enhancing accessibility in parks and transportation hubs. Lastly, as watchdogs, they diligently monitor buildings to maintain accessibility and promptly address any issues that arise.

Environmental Sustainability and Green Building: Sustainable building codes and certifications play a crucial role in promoting environmentally friendly construction practises. Experts in this field are well-versed in codes such as LEED and BREEAM, ensuring that projects comply with these standards. They review building plans to assess how sustainability and green building principles are incorporated into the design, evaluating aspects like energy efficiency, materials selection, water conservation, and indoor air quality. Additionally, these specialists conduct on-site inspections to ensure that green building features are properly installed and functioning as intended, both during construction and after completion. Their expertise helps to create more sustainable and eco-friendly buildings.

A Day In The Life Of A Building Control Surveyor

A building control surveyor’s day typically involves morning planning, site visits, plan reviews, meetings, documentation, code research, training, communication, fielding enquiries, problem-solving, lunch and breaks, administrative tasks, and evening planning. They ensure construction work aligns with approved plans, adheres to safety and building codes, and meets quality standards. They also conduct plan reviews in the office, examining architectural and engineering plans to ensure compliance with building codes and regulations. They engage in meetings and consultations with clients, architects, engineers, and other stakeholders to address project updates, code compliance issues, or coordination. Documentation and reports are prepared, and they conduct code research to stay updated. They also engage in ongoing training and continuing education to stay updated with industry advancements. They also field enquiries related to code compliance, permitting, and building regulations.

Building Success Through Mentoria

Building Control Surveyors play a vital role in ensuring that buildings are safe and meet all relevant building regulations. They do this by inspecting buildings at key stages of construction and providing advice and guidance to builders and contractors. Mentoria is a valuable resource for students and professionals who are looking for help with their careers. We offer a variety of services that can help students and professionals identify their interests, skills, and strengths, explore different career options, set career goals, develop a career plan, network with professionals, and improve their job search skills.