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What Is Surveying?

Surveying is one of those terms that you might have seen thrown around a lot without ever actually having an idea of what it means. You may know that they are involved in construction, kind of, and that they are useful if you are looking to plan, build or extend a house or site. But what actually is surveying? And what does a surveyor do? If these are questions you have asked yourself at any point, then you are in the right place.


What Is Surveying?

Surveyors collect and map data that can then be used to measure the natural and built environment. On its own, the individual data is not necessarily that useful, however, when combined with other features and modelling, it can create a bigger picture that can empower other professions, such as architects, engineers and government officials. 


For example, architects and engineers are dependent on surveyors otherwise they wouldn’t know what they are working with, or toward. From establishing plans and designs, to ensuring a structure is safe, the data gathered by the surveyors can help the right people determine the best course of action when working on their specific project. 


Surveyors play a larger role than you may think – people need safe houses to live in and infrastructure that works.



What Do Surveyors Do?

When people see surveyors out in the field or on-site, they probably think that it is quite a simple and straightforward job, especially if all they’ve seen is a surveyor do is stand behind a Theodolite (image below) and well, they couldn’t be more wrong!  


Surveyors actually help shape the world and infrastructure around us, something which takes a lot of training and hard work – surveying is actually an extremely technical discipline that has been shaping our world for hundreds and hundreds of years. If you think about it, our world is one that is based on measurements and mathematics – surveying not only helps bring these things to life but helps people visualise them in a more appealing and beneficial way. 


Surveyors have, and will continue to shape the way that we live, from the layouts of our metropolises to the structure of our homes and even the shapes of our roads and bridges – from rainy cities to idyllic countrysides, windy beaches and cold valleys – surveyors have been helping create and shape a sustainable future long before many were.


What Are The Different Types of Surveyor? 

There are several roles in both surveying and construction, and each of these categories has additional roles within – however, this will give you a brief overview of what surveyor you might need for your site. 

  • Building surveyors are responsible for surveying a building and reporting on their findings, advising about design, construction, maintenance and repair. 


  • Project management surveyors are in charge of running the different facets of a team. 


  • Quantity surveyors are in charge of assessing the financial impact and potential return that could be gained from a site or project.


  • Building control surveyors are responsible for designing buildings that comply with all required regulations.


  • Infrastructure surveyors are in charge of organising the structures and facilities needed for a specific purpose, society or organisation.


The Future of Surveying

Like many others, going forward, it is no longer enough for surveyors and construction workers to simply acknowledge the climate crisis – it is time to act. The people involved with creating and building infrastructures, such as design, construction and surveying firms, must work together to promote and work toward sustainable developments – from creating non-expendable real estate and greener buildings, office spaces that feature more greenery to making better use of the land. 


Richard Serra, MRICS, and Head of Planning for Tottenham Hotspur FC’s new stadium states that: “There will always be a need for buildings to live, work and play in, but with Earth’s resources becoming ever-more scarce, there is a huge opportunity for surveyors to play key roles in sustainable development.”


wind turbines


For example, Earl Patrick Forlares, winner of the 2018 cities of the future competition, is working to create an environmentally sustainable bamboo housing system that could positively change how millions of people live. In case you didn’t know, Bamboo’s is a pretty extraordinary plant, not only does its prolific growth rate make it carbon-hungry, but it also has a stronger tensile strength than steel – causing some experts to believe that the transition to a bamboo orientated methodology could reduce the carbon footprint created by the construction industry. 


What is your opinion on surveying and sustainability? It is a topic we find deeply interesting and as such, we are going to cover more on it in the future. With World Wildlife Day approaching and our communities ongoing effort to be more sustainable, we think it is something that everyone should be thinking more of!


Target Surveys

Enjoyed reading this post? You can find all of our latest blogs here, as well as access all of our surveying services such as our Measured Building Surveys, Topographical Surveys, Utility Surveys, BIM / Revit Models, 3D Scanning & point cloud, Setting Out, Drone Surveys, Boundary Disputes or Ecology Surveys! 


Interested in the work we do here at Target Surveys? Looking for a Measured Building Survey? Reach out today at or on 01926 313419A member of our team would be happy to talk with you to discuss your individual requirements and needs. You can also reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn


We look forward to hearing from you! 

Team Target