BSc (Hons) Building Surveying - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Building Surveying

UCAS code7D71


placement option1yr

Develop skills including problem-solving and defect analysis

Course Overview

Why take this course?

Our BSc (Hons) Building Surveying course offers the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, such as problem-solving and defect analysis, which are highly valued in the property profession. As a Building Surveying student, you will study and work with students of other surveying and civil engineering courses in a multi-disciplinary approach which reflects working relationships in industry.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Do fieldwork on real buildings
  • Use Building Information Modelling (BIM) techniques
  • Opt to take a one-year work placement

What opportunities might it lead to?

Graduates will typically aspire to employment in a building surveying role with a route to RICS professional qualification. Building surveyors can also develop transferable skills suitable for employment in other roles.

Here are some routes our graduates may pursue:

  • Building Surveyor
  • Facilities Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Building Conservationist

This degree is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Once you complete your studies and have found your first job, you can begin training to become a Chartered Building Surveyor.


Deepu Prabhakaran, construction student

Fieldtrips have always been very useful. They allow us to get the real feel of a problem when we see it for ourselves.

Deepu Prabhakaran, construction student


Architecture, Civil Engineering and Surveying

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Vocationally-focused courses which concentrate on both the practical and theoretical
  • An exciting environment to work in, with excellent facilities including technical labs and studio space
  • Enthusiastic, friendly tutors who bring the subject to life

Browse all courses in Architecture, Civil Engineering and Surveying

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

Your first year will introduce you to the property profession and you will study the main principles of technology, law and economics on which building surveying practice is based. 

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Professional Development
  • Construction, Design & Sustainability
  • Design Objectives
  • Introduction to Law for the Built Environment
  • Property Economics and Financial Accounting

Year two

In the second year you will apply the knowledge and understanding you are developing to solving practical problems. 

Core units in this year include:

  • Professional Development (Health & Safety and People Skills)
  • Building Futures
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Planning Law and Practice
  • Procurement and Pre-contract Practice

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Introduction to Project Management Principles
  • International Built Environment Fieldwork
  • Institution-wide Language Programme


Year three*

In your final year you consolidate what you have already learnt by studying a set of subjects which emphasise the professional perspective of building surveying practice. You will also complete an individual project of your own choice of topic.

Core units in this year include:

  • Integrating Inter-professional Project
  • Research Methods and Individual Project
  • Contract Administration, Claims Management and Dispute Resolution
  • Energy Resources and Infrastructure
  • Surveys and Defects

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement). Our Student Placement and Employability Centre (SPEC) can help you make the most from your employment opportunities.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and group work, and be fully supported throughout your degree. We promote many practical teaching methods as by its very nature 'property' requires a proactive, hands-on approach.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 30% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 70% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 77% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 19% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 81% studying independently and 0% on work placement


We guarantee sustained feedback to make sure your studies are on track. You will be assessed in a variety of ways, providing you with valuable skills and experience, including:

  • Written examinations
  • Web assessments
  • Essays and reports
  • Project presentations
  • A 10,000 word individual project

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 43% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 49% by coursework
  • Year two students: 35% by written exams, 25% by practical exams and 40% by coursework
  • Year three students: 28% by written exams, 23% by practical exams and 49% by coursework

Tutor's view


Emily Walsh
Senior Lecturer, Civil Engineering and Surveying

The diversity of expertise supplied by a wide range of property professionals provides you with a unique opportunity to view the industry from a variety of perspectives. This multi-disciplinary approach gives you a flavour of the dynamic industry which awaits you on graduation.

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Facilities & Features

Guest Speakers

We coordinate a series of lectures delivered by specially invited professional practitioners. The series provides you with an opportunity for business updates and a first-hand perspective on both local and international property environments.

Field Trips

Go on site visits and carry out fieldwork that will introduce you to the markets and environments in which you will eventually work. Also have the opportunity to go on overseas fieldtrips with past destinations including Barcelona, Paris, Turkey, Dublin and the Netherlands.

Port-eco House

This house, which is typical of many thousands found in the UK, is located on campus. In it we have installed environmental monitoring equipment and video cameras to enable in-situ studies of the building’s performance and the behaviour of its occupants. The data from these studies is used to enhance teaching and for individual projects. The building also serves as a case study for measured and defect surveys.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

We will provide you with hard hats and Hi-Vis vests. You will need to buy your own safety boots costing approximately £35.

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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

Building surveying offers a variety of opportunities ranging from self-employment to roles in large multi-disciplinary organisations. The structure and content of our course is aimed at providing you with the core knowledge and skill which prepare you for the building surveying career you wish to take. The staff on your course will be able to advise you on how to progress into employment because of their professional links with the RICS and employers.

Roles our graduates can take include:

  • Graduate building surveyor
  • Trainee / assistant building surveyor
  • Graduate project manager
  • Trainee facilities manager

Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Taking a placement year in industry could be one of the best decisions you make and, more often than not, it leads to further opportunities after graduation. Our Student Placement and Employability Centre (SPEC) not only helps you to arrange your placement, but also acts as a source of information and guidance throughout the recruitment process and beyond. We help on anything and everything related to your employability, as well as assisting you in securing other types of work experience.

Our aim is to provide you with the opportunities to gain as much work-related experience as possible while you study with us. For example, you will get the chance to solve real-life practical problems as part of our partnership scheme with charities, local and global organisations. Or take the unit International Built Environment Fieldwork, an overseas fieldtrip which enables you to apply your skills in an international context.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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