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Being a Trainee Surveyor

Each day as a surveyor is different, bringing with it a new set of exciting challenges, what will we uncover?  What will we find?  Even what may appear to be a relatively straight forward property on paper may have a hidden side that tests our knowledge and experience, and every property proves to be different.

As a trainee surveyor, it is essential to gain experience quickly, understanding different construction methods and learning how things work is essential.  I must be able to recognise potential defects and identify if something is outside the norm. I recognise being knowledgeable and able to show a high level of understanding towards issues will help inform the client better and ultimately provide them with a better service.

Shadowing the other surveyors, who have years of experience and still occasionally say they hadn’t seen that before is a superb way of learning and shows the field of surveying is ever changing and I must always continue to adapt.  Upon arriving at the property my mind is on high alert, site notes in hand, already thinking what can I see?  Where might there be an issue?  My mind is trying to relate to past reading, websites, and other property inspections I have been out on that look to be similar.

My previous experience was gained through Estate Agency and training the mind to think differently has been important.  I am no longer looking for that superb view, the outstanding kitchen or the feeling a buyer might have on a cold winter evening in front of the wood burning stove.  Now I must divert my attention towards the property construction, how it is built, what are the common issues to look out for in a property similar in age to the one I am looking at.

These challenges encourage thinking, there are many questions to ask at times and this testing of my mind creates a feeling of achievement.  If a defect is identified, following the path of suspicion may lead to a further issue greater than what was first seen, and to something I may not have seen previously.  It is learning to conduct inspections in a structured way and creating a methodical routine that I know will come in time with experience.  This has become second nature to the other surveyors.

With sustainability and energy efficiency proving key factors for the future, newer construction methods are being introduced as older methods are being adapted.  As a new Surveyor coming into the field understanding these changes are essential.  Looking at diagrams, textbooks and websites help, however, seeing specific defects at a property and understanding why they are there comes with experience and highlights the importance of going out on as many inspections as I can.

Each daily inspection brings with it a new set of challenges, whether it’s a Victorian townhouse or a modern property.  Transferring the information gathered from these inspections into a report is another skill.  Trying to be concise and communicate my message across in an informative way to the client is important and a new skill which I am learning from the other surveyors.

I am fortunate enough to have a team of enthusiastic colleagues, each with years of experience and I can learn from them each day.  I know this will bring me on in my career as a surveyor.

Being a Trainee Surveyor


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Published 03 August 2022

Written by: Nathan Bennett-Glew BA (Hons) AssocRICS