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A Career in Building Standards

This page contains information on local authority building standards.

Here you'll discover

  • what it is that building standards surveyors do,

  • information about building standards qualifications, and much more.

Further information can be gained by accessing this link on My World of Work and a Meet the Experts Session

To download the leafets listed below please follow these links

What will your career as a building standards surveyor look like?

Do you have an interest in buildings or experience in construction? Looking for a career with a good work/life balance? Discover the path your building standards career could take.

Could a building standards surveyor career be the one for you?

Do you have an interest in buildings, construction and/or people? Do you have an ability to understand technical plans, an affinity for maths and/or problem-solving skills? Do you have a good level of IT skills and a keen attention to detail? And are you a good organiser with great time management skills, with a keen interest in public service?


CPD (Continuous Professional Development) courses –

As public service professionals with public safety at the heart of everything we do, we should all be engaging in regular continual professional development (CPD) to learn new skills and specialisms to enhance our careers, stay proficient, competent and adjust to industry disruption and challenges. 


There are regional variation in pay across the 32 local authorities and the salary for a Building Standards professional can range from £26,000 to £54,000.  This is however dependent on local authority and levels of skills and experience. 


What exactly does a building standards surveyor do?

You’d work with members of the public, architects, designers, builders and engineers as they plan and construct building projects ranging from a small house extension to a large-scale development.

You would:

  • Assess building plans and specifications to determine compliance with building regulations
  • Prepare and issue technical reports to designers and architects
  • Work with designers and architects to find the best solutions for their clients
  • Visit sites to inspect building work during development
  • Liaise with developers and their clients as work progresses

If a building has been damaged, for example by fire or bad weather, then you would survey the building and advise the owners what they need to do to make it safe. If it cannot be repaired then you would approve its demolition.

You may also on occasion check the safety at public venues like sports grounds, open-air events, cinemas and theatres and authorise entertainment licenses for events in terms of electrical work, structures and fire safety.

If you decide that a building project does not meet regulations, you would work with the applicant to make changes to the plans to ensure the work meets the Scottish building regulations.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly to the local authority


In most cases you will need:

  • English (required by most courses) 
  • Maths (required by most courses)
  • Science subjects

Career Path and Progression

  • National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications may enable access to the Building Standards profession.
  • SCQF level 6 can be the starting point for a Modern Apprentice within a Building Standards Support position.
  • SCQF level 7, 8 and 9 can give access to a Building Standards Assistant, Inspector and the Building Surveyor role. 
  • SCQF 10,  11 and 12 are the most senior roles and require extensive experience, capability and management skills.

Anyone considering a Building Standards career who already has a trade in construction or a construction background may find conversion courses are a suitable route into the profession, with other support being available to them whilst in post.

More specific construction related courses may also help you begin or progress your career in the Building Standards profession, these will include Building Surveying, Structural/Civil Engineering as well as courses in Architecture and general construction management.

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you will need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Aimed at S4 and S5 students, this approach will allow young people to spend time with a learning provider, such as a college, work in a Building Standards teams, be supported by experienced colleagues and have access to real work opportunities to achieve a qualification. 

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern Apprenticeships (MA) courses are available and are a stepping-stone into a Building Standards career.  MA course such as Construction: building, technical, civil engineering and project management as well as other technical or specialist courses relating to the built environment can help access the profession at a junior level.

Graduate Apprenticeships

Individuals who participate in a Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) can access the profession at Building Surveyor level.  GAs such as Construction and the built environment, civil engineering and civil engineering at SCQF level 8 can progress to the highest level of professional qualifications with a range of entry and exit points starting at SCQF level 8.

Professional Bodies

A number of professional bodies recognises Building Standards as a profession.  Many of the skills required in the Building Standards profession can be accredited by professional bodies. Professional bodies also offer courses to improve skills and knowledge.  These bodies are:

·      Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

·      Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)

·      Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)

·      Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT)

·      Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE)

·      Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

For information on other qualification options available visit CIOB CABE and RICS.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show experience with the built environment and construction.

A driving licence is useful.