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Throughout Britain there are approximately 8,000 surveyors directly involved with working for the government. Most are assigned to local councils and boroughs, though some with more experience and ability work for the cabinet in power at the time.
Roles are varied and encompass most aspects of surveying, including management, valuation, development and essentially the measurement of land and property. However, to become a ‘general’ surveyor who takes part in all of these aspects, an entrant will most likely have to come through the two main sectors of government surveying: The Housing Association or Town Planning. To work for the government as a surveyor, prior experience within the industry is a must and most local councils demand at least three years employment within the sector.
Surveyors must review applications for council housing and administer acceptance or refusals depending on the validation of claims.
Even when applicants have received a house from the council the surveyor on point must review the granted houses in the local district on an annual basis to ensure all claims for housing are still validated.
Surveyors are in charge of rent collection within their borough.
Surveyors must have up-to-date and extensive information on the houses under their supervision and be ready to recommend upgrades or improvements to the council when deemed necessary.
Surveyors must keep abreast of all housing legislation, particularly amendments to the acts or laws in place so that they can relay any crucial information to their borough tenants.
This is by far the largest area of surveying within the government.
Most commercial developments, no matter their size, require the approval or support of the local government before or during the construction process. Developers will apply to the local council outlining the merits of their proposed scheme with a ‘planning application’. The surveyor must weigh up the options and arguments and come to a decision as to whether to grant planning approval or turn it down.
Surveyors must make decisions on land use within their districts and boroughs. This can differ from land with buildings already on that needs to be knocked down or improved, or unused land, known as brownfield land, that has attracted the interest of a developer.
When considering potential uses of land, the surveyor must always have the community in mind. In most cases, surveyors will look for developers to add to the community in return for them being granted a planning application. In some cases this can be called a Section 106 agreement.
In the forefront of the public consciousness at present is the ‘green’ movement. Surveyors will be influential in ensuring that developments are sustainable.
They must find the perfect blend between what is best for the borough and managing the competing use for space.