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What is the difference between a Building Surveyor and Engineer?

A Building Surveyor and Engineer are different professions and generally involve the person being registered with a different governing body.

Each one has a huge list of tasks and jobs they can perform, but when it comes to surveying second-hand properties there is some overlap.

For the purpose of conducting a survey on a second hand property, both are qualified to assess the structural integrity of a building, any defects associated with wear and tear or poor maintenance. They would also both be familiar with various building and planning regulations.

What is a Building Surveyor?

A Building Surveyor is a protected title in Ireland and anyone operating as a Building Surveyor needs to be registered with SCSI. Generally these people have completed a course in Building Surveying or a similar course approved by CIOB or SCSI. Although there are several different paths to gaining this title.

What is an Engineer?

Engineers, Chartered Engineers or Associate Engineers would be registered members of IEI (Irish Engineers Institute). The requirements vary depending on the level of membership, but they could have come from several different backgrounds, experience and education.

What other professions can conduct pre-purchase surveys?

Depending on their experience, Architects or Architectural Technologists can also conduct pre-purchase surveys. In fact, many solicitors who have been around would request you to have an "architects report" when referring to a survey.

Like a Building Surveyor or Engineer, an Architect or Architectural Technologist can be excellent surveyors and many would have more insight into how buildings are designed and built that Building Surveyors or Engineers.

These would be registered with RIAI (Royal Institute of Architects, Ireland) and some would also carry memberships with CIOB.

Does it matter who I hire?

For the purpose of a pre-purchase survey, in most cases, no. Banks and Local Authorities accept surveys from any of the above listed professions.

But for the purpose of what is required to survey a second-hand property, there are people in each profession who would or would not have the necessary experience so relying on simply title alone is not enough to ensure quality.

So what should I look out for when hiring a surveyor?

Apart from having one of the above memberships, you should ensure that any surveyor you hire has:

Experience: You want to make sure the surveyor you hire is not just "qualified" but also experience in conducting pre-purchase surveys.

Insurance: Whoever you hire should carry PI Insurance covering pre-purchase surveys.


At Get House Survey, all surveyors we work with are not only registered in one of the above professions, but also experienced in carrying out pre-purchase surveys and covered by appropriate PI Insurance.

To book your survey, just go to and click on "Get Survey Now".


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