What is a Planning and Development Surveyor?


A planning and development surveyor investigates, plans, assesses and manages proposals to either build new developments or organise the refurbishment of existing buildings in urban and rural areas. Planning and development takes into account both the physical and social impact of the built environment and the commercial viability of any proposals.

Employers include central and local government, property firms, developers, banks and insurance companies. Surveyors advise on issues such as: development options; site planning; transport and other infrastructure; compulsory purchase and compensation; conservation area policy; and general property matters.


Typical projects may include:

  • Regeneration of inner city sites for prime retail and mixed use development

  • Managing design proposals for hotels and/or major office schemes

  • Regeneration of dilapidated estates in partnership with the Local Council

  • Redevelopment of former industrial or 'brownfield' sites

  • Planning of major urban quarters

  • New housing/apartment developments

  • Property conservation in rural and urban areas.

A Planning and Development Surveyor can be involved at each stage of a project from the initial site assessments right through to its completion and disposal to third parties. The role involves managing or inputting into a design team usually comprising architects and engineers and working closely with town planners and construction professionals.


Typical work activities include:

  • Investigating, planning, supervising and managing proposals for both new developments and the refurbishment of existing buildings;

  • managing or taking a leading role in projects, from the earliest planning stage through to completion;

  • researching market data such as land and property records

  • analysing figures using computer software

  • advising third parties such as banks and funding institutions as to risks and commercial viability of a project

  • raising finances from funding bodies, investment companies and development agencies

  • negotiating contracts and legal tenders

  • advising clients about financial and legal matters such as compulsory purchases

  • working out the likely economic, social and environmental impact of a development.

  • identifying opportunities by researching information and alternative strategies, both in the field and in the office;

  • drawing up, presenting and negotiating competitive proposals;

  • advising clients on the likelihood of finance being obtained and planning permission being granted;

  • preparing and presenting applications for planning permission;

  • investigating the feasibility of the project based on valuations;

  • advising financial institutions and negotiating with regard to the provision of finance for commercial and residential developments;

  • recruiting and/or liaising with fellow professionals;

  • ensuring compliance with planning regulations and relevant legislation;

  • considering the physical, environmental and social impact of the proposed scheme;

  • investigating the sustainability of a project;

  • promoting the use of effective land management and administration as one of the key drivers behind economic development;

  • communicating and negotiating effectively with colleagues, clients and bank managers;

  • presenting your recommendations to Clients

  • responding quickly to changes in market conditions and client requirements and the impact of government policies;

  • assessing land and property use requirements, including transport and infrastructure requirements;

  • preparing marketing material and managing media coverage on the project;

  • management of disposal of completed property along with legal and contractual duties;


The work of the Planning and Development Surveyor is highly varied providing a specialist professional service through applying development experience. The range of work

In addition, membership of the Society is of benefit when involved in large planning and development projects, as professional accreditation is seen as a major asset to companies, banks and individuals alike.

There are various routes to becoming a Planning and Development Surveyor and those interested should contact the Society of Chartered Surveyors directly.