Building Surveyors - The Swiss Army Knife of property consultants!

Building Surveyors - The Swiss Army Knife of property consultants!


Having qualified over 20 years ago as a fresh faced Chartered Building Surveyor, my understanding and feelings towards the phrase ‘Building Surveyor’ has certainly evolved during this time.

As a co-Founding  Director of Paragon Building and Project Consultants in 2009, I regularly still come across the widely held public perception that a building surveyor equates to a corduroy jacketed building control inspector who can provide assistance with the home buyers report on their dream house purchase. To my amusement over the years, I’ve found that announcing myself as a Building Surveyor at a dinner party often results in a less than prime position at the table (…..or maybe that’s just my poor conversation as my wife regularly tells me! ) I must admit I have revised my answer on certain occasions, to declare myself a “co-head of a national construction and property consultancy”, which whilst true, hardly rolls off the tongue.  

Within our industry, there has historically been a disparity in average salaries for building surveyors against some of the other specialised disciplines, despite the wide variety of technical knowledge required on a daily basis. At Paragon a typical Building Surveyor will be working on perhaps eight to ten varied instructions at any one time. Often a couple of building refurbishment instructions; some development monitoring jobs; maybe a dilapidations instruction for either landlord or tenant and when the market is strong any number of pre-acquisition surveys. As a result, our surveyors need to be excellent time managers with a commercial focus on completing tasks for each client, over and above expectations, before moving on to the next instruction.

As a business we strongly believe in all our surveyors retaining a mixed workload, rather than pigeon holing them into specialist niche disciplines in dedicated teams. This is also true with their exposure to all property sectors. This ensures a mix of longer term commitments, alongside short term inspection & report based work. It also provides the surveyor with experience across the breadth of the industry, dealing with the relevant issues our clients require both a technical and a commercial answer to, across all property types.

When a client buys a new property they need a building survey; but within that purchase they may also require advice on dilapidations, refurbishment or redevelopment opportunities / constraints, cost advice on CapEx plans, sustainability advice and a reinstatement cost assessment for buildings insurance. In short, they need holistic Technical Due Diligence advice from surveyors with a deep and broad experience base, both technically and commercially. Paragon aims to and has sufficient expertise to provide advice throughout the client’s ownership period, not just provide the initial building survey.

We want our surveyors to grow with us; ultimately take on client management responsibilities as they are promoted through the business. Our clients have told us they need experienced and trusted advisors with a broad knowledge base. In other words they need a Swiss Army Knife, not to be handed a big tool box!

The opportunities within our industry for intelligent, personable and motivated building surveyors, male or female is huge and boundless. Sitting in a corduroy jacket at the end of the table on the fringe of the party was never my style! If you’re keen to learn and be at the centre of providing both technical and commercial advice across many sectors, to varied clients we very much look forward to hearing from you.


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