The Profession in the Commonwealth

This Section covers:


The profession of surveying and land economy as described here has been operating in the United Kingdom for several hundred years and relevant professional bodies have existed for well over 100 years. Within this professional grouping there are three broad fields of activity; surveying and mapping related to land and marine management, land economy, and quantity surveying. All three are increasingly recognised as having an important part to play in the development of every Commonwealth country, and are well positioned to make significant contributions to the effective development and economic management of resources.

In some countries all three professional fields are embraced within a single national organisation, although in some there are separate organisations representing each of the three. The pattern varies according to factors such as the numbers of surveyors in practice; and in some smaller countries these are too small to sustain a viable professional society.

Thirty years ago there were 20 professional societies of surveyors in 15 Commonwealth countries, and this number has more than doubled up to the present. These professional bodies represent the profession in its corporate entity; establish or advise on standards of education and training; sustain programmes of continuing professional development to assist their members to keep up-to-date; usually administer a code of professional ethics; and advise governments on matters within the profession's competence which relate to national policies for the management and development of land and natural resources.

The Scope of Surveying and Land Economy

The profession of surveying and land economy, as envisaged by CASLE and noted above, includes the three distinct but kindred disciplines of surveying and mapping, land economy, and quantity surveying and cost-control.

Surveying and Mapping

The surveyor as map maker has always been in the van of exploration, and development and may use techniques such as astronomical and satellite observations and data, aerial photography, and photogrammetry. Surveying and mapping covers:

Land Economy

Land economy is concerned with the management and development of land and property, in an economical and sustainable manner, and involves a range of disciplines which form the basis of a number of professional specialisms. It covers:

The professional land economy surveyor must comprehend the fundamentals of land law, economic and social analysis and the primary technologies of agriculture, forestry and building science. He or she must have a working knowledge of the legal, economic and financial considerations, which contribute to the making of sound plans for sustainable land use and development and their practical realisation. This emphasises the vital contribution which the professional surveyor can make to positive planning and the best use of land and natural resources, especially in developing countries.

The Valuation of land and property is also required for a wide range of purposes including sale, purchase, leasing, mortgage, insurance and taxation; expropriation, betterment or injurious affection caused by planning or public works; and development including the extraction of minerals

Similarly, rural and urban land administration - whether at the macro level of managing the public estate or the micro level of managing property on behalf of its owners (whether public authorities, business institutions or private individuals) - also contributes to the prudent deployment of natural resources and the optimum use and development of land. Management includes the negotiation of acquisition and disposal of land and property; the promotion and execution of development; afforestation and mining operations; and advice on land taxation, land consolidation, the relationships of landlord and tenant and the law affecting the construction, use and occupation of buildings. Advice is given on the value and economic use of property, its design, extension and refurbishment

In the case of Marine Resource Management, increasing world requirements for food, minerals, energy and space cannot be sustained indefinitely by using the earth's land surface alone. Therefore, in this field, there is a need to comprehend the ocean environment and the sciences and technologies relevant to the exploitation of marine resources, and to have a working knowledge of relevant international and national laws, the principles and methodologies of resource exploration and development, and the impact of development on the biological environment. The surveyor giving such advice will replicate, in a maritime context, the knowledge and understanding which the land economy surveyor has of the sciences and technologies relevant to operations on land.

Quantity Surveying and Cost Control

Every country has a capital investment programme and this normally includes projects for the construction of roads, harbours, airports, oil rigs, schools, shops, hospitals, housing and factories. In planning, designing and constructing such projects, cost and quality are of prime importance, and the quantity surveyor, as the relevant expert, should be involved from inception to completion. The quantity surveyor will assist clients in evaluating the alternative cost of design options and in determining priorities and budgets.

No two construction projects are the same, and most major projects, as well as many smaller ones, are individual challenges and need individual solutions. The quantity surveyor's knowledge of tender and contract procedures can ensure that each project is executed in the most appropriate and economic way. During the construction period, the financial management service that the quantity surveyor provides facilitates the completion of the project within the time and budget constraints set by the client.

The quantity surveyor is also concerned with wider aspects of construction economics, in investigating the cost and economic viability of large scale planning and development proposals and the cost effectiveness of alternative solutions. At the macro level advice can be given on how energy and construction resources, which are often scarce in developing countries, can be deployed to the best advantage. Quantity surveying skills extend beyond advising on the initial capital cost of a project to the running costs of a building during its useful life cycle, therefore contributing to the achievement of sustainable development.

The quantity surveyor is equipped to undertake this work by education and training in building economics, construction technology, contract law, the measurement of works and knowledge of market prices of construction. Major functions in the construction process may be described as cost planning and control, the attainment of value for money expended and advising on construction procedures and contractual arrangements. Increasingly, quantity surveyors are also being employed as construction project managers, with responsibility for directing and co-ordinating the project on behalf of the client. Additionally the quantity surveyors' knowledge of contractual and building cost matters is of value in the facilities management of completed buildings.