Building Surveying - MSc

Full Time, Part Time
September 2016, January 2017
£5,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

The global built environment is a dynamic marketplace offering challenging opportunities in both existing and developing economies. The increasing complexity of buildings coming under the remit of the building surveyor means that you must become a more reflective and proactive practitioner if you are to manage, maintain and develop these buildings and ensure they continue as successful buildings into the future.

This programme responds to this changing employment market. Its aim is to give you a broad yet rigorous grounding in the fundamentals of organising and managing existing buildings. It seeks to provide you with the knowledge and skills that will meet the challenges in the globally evolving marketplace.

The course focuses on furthering your knowledge and understanding and will require you to challenge your existing ideas and experiences. You will also be able to add value to your decisions through a thorough analytical approach and be able to better implement them as a competent project manager.

You'll develop your abilities to be innovative and creative in solving unique problems; and will be encouraged to think critically and engage in life-long learning to become an independent, professional learner.

What's covered in the course?

  • You'll be taught by building surveying professionals with practical experience in the field.
  • You'll develop an awareness and appreciation of the conflicting interests within the built environment and the political, social, cultural, economic, technological, environmental, legal and organisational factors involved.
  • You'll get a positive advantage in the job market by developing your problem-solving skills, inter-personal and communication skills and other competences through our practical approach to assessment.
  • The course will enable you to become more capable, creative, reflective and critical built environment professionals.

Why Choose Us?

  • The course is fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Successful completion of the course will lead to Professional Membership after the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
  • The course is drawn from industry experience and targeted at the next generation of professional building surveyors.
  • The programme allows you to further your skills in property through a series of real case studies and projects.
  • You will benefit from our strong links with industry, and course input from leading practitioners.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 26 April 2017, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities. You can't book your place just yet, but register your interest and we'll send you an email when you can book.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

£1,500 scholarship for all international students
who enrol full-time on this course starting Jan 2017
School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Discover the School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

This course is accredited by:

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Entry Requirements

UK students

We would normally expect you to hold at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate discipline.

You will also need to be proficient in written and spoken English as well as numerate and IT literate.

We will also consider other qualifications and suitable work based experience on an individual basis. You may be asked to attend a selection interview.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2016 FT 13 months £5,500
PT 25 months £2,750 per year
Jan 2017 FT 13 months £5,500
PT 25 months £2,750 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MSc Sep 2016 FT 13 months £12,000
PT 25 months £6,000 per year
Jan 2017 FT 13 months £12,000

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Stage 1: Postgraduate Certificate

Construction Law and Contract
15 credits

The module considers the legal and contractual aspect which influence the way that construction projects are managed:

  • The English Legal System, including the courts, other tribunals, and Alternative Dispute Resolution;
  • Contract Law - including the formation of contracts, terms and vitiating factors, discharge of contracts and remedies, warranties and novation agreements, the Bribery and Corruption Act;
  • Tort law, including negligence, vicarious liability, defences and remedies, nuisance, trespass and occupiers liability; Selection of a construction contract; The administration of construction contracts;
  • Supply chain management - Contractual requirements and responsibilities will be examined throughout the supply chain;
  • The legal role in establishing collaboration and the resolution of different interests;
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution and mediation practices.
Business Management
15 credits

This module seeks to provide students the opportunity to examine and critically analyse topical business issues in construction organisational context. Through business management techniques and contemporary case studies, students will explore strategic and operational business issues in the construction environment such as economics, accounting and finance, market development, corporate social responsibility, resource and knowledge management etc.

This module will cover:

  • Business organisation appraisal
  • Strategic development and implementation
  • Marketing and business development partnering
  • Bidding
  • Financial decisions and market trends
  • Accounting information and record keeping
  • Knowledge and resource management
  • Corporate social responsibility
Building Surveying and Practical Studies
15 credits

This module introduces and supports several of the RICS competencies which are undertaken by the chartered Building Surveyor.  The module then seeks to add depth and value to these through case studies and good practice analysis from theoretical and practice backgrounds.  

Through this the student will develop a sensitivity to the needs of client and building owners and match this with an appreciation of the broader UK and international context of differing social, economic and cultural agendas.  

With its own agenda of stimulating an appreciation for lifelong learning, the module will leave the student with the skills needed to operate as a high level professional and the outlook of a self-developing life-long learner able to positively contribute to the future of the Building Surveying Profession.  

Commercial Surveying Studies
15 credits

Focusing on the more tradition sphere of Building Surveying work in looking at the theory and practice of working with commercial buildings to ensure they remain a viable asset for the built environment.  

This module also links closely with the Facilities Management and Project and Maintenance Management modules on this course in that it will draw on the theory and practice established in these and allow the students to focus this in a more in depth cases study of a substantial commercial building.  

It will also be linked to the parallel study in the Building Surveying and Practical Studies module and allow for reflection on the quality of decisions made with regard to this case study.  

In this way it will support and empower the student to analyse information and make strategic decisions to the benefit of all involved with a building or project.

This will further increase the students confidence and enhance their employability in this competitive market place. At all times this will be done with the professional codes of practice and the RICS competences for the role of the Building Surveyor.  

Stage 2: Postgraduate Diploma

People and Organisation
15 credits

This module addresses the heart of any commercial enterprise; namely, the social functioning of groups and individuals in a collaborative project. It seeks to explore organisation and management as human social phenomena to enable people to work together more effectively. The practical nature of management will be explored in relation to way people see knowledge differently.

The underlying theories of management will be viewed critically and, in particular, their utility and application in practice will be challenged. Students will explore the socially constructed nature of society and reflect on the implications of ideologies and mindsets for organisation and organisational behaviour. Students will also explore differences between people and how these can be accommodated in organisations.

Topics covered in this module include:

  • Collaboration Integration and teams
  • Change and resistance
  • Culture, behaviour and difference
  • Organisational structures
  • Power Trust
  • Delegation Learning: personal and organisational
Innovation in Construction
15 credits

The module will consider change as an innovation process. It will consider critically past examples from: construction project procurement at personal, team, project and organisational levels; supply chain management; contracts; the management of risk; and the application of strategic approaches to meet the needs of clients, stakeholders and users.

The unit will explore the creative, and implementation, processes involved in innovation as well as developing critiques of new approaches in the industry to enable students to assess the value of these in differing situations. It will explore wider aspects of change management including resistance and inertia as both an organisational and individual level in order to assist the student to be able to create strategies for managing change.

  • Theories of innovation
  • Innovation issues and trends influencing the construction process
  • Managing innovation and change: product, process and people perspectives
  • Risk management in construction innovation
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Facilities Management
15 credits

Highlighting current theory and practice in the field of facilities management. The module will approach the subject with a focus on enabling students to be an independent decision maker when considering strategic planning for facilities management and day-to-day or reactive management of building, facilities and functions. This will include elements of business continuity management.  

The module will not focus on any one of the various software available to the facilities manager, but will instead focus on the advantages and shortfalls of software based solutions. In particular it will apply academic theory in context to professional practice using successful organisation of space and infrastructure in the context of people and organisations. All of this with key stakeholders in mind and in line with the professional codes of practice and the RICS competences for the role of the Building Surveyor.

Project and Maintenance Management
15 credits

This module supports several of the RICS competencies which are undertaken by the chartered Building Surveyor.  The module considers the principles of good project and maintenance management and the practical implications of theory in practice through the use of a variety of case studies and in the context of the various agendas and stakeholders for the case study situation.

The case study approach will empower the student to analyse information and make strategic decisions to best fit the requirements on the project. In doing this the student will be able to respond with confidence a variety of challenges presented by the rapidly evolving demands of project management and deal with them effectively and sympathetically with regard to the various stakeholders involved.

At all times this will be done with the professional codes of practice and the RICS competences for the role of the Building Surveyor. 

Stage 3: Masters

60 credits

The aim of the dissertation is to develop your skills of carrying out research into a practice based problem and your ability to theorise and conceptualise. It also aims to encourage you to make connections between theory and practice. It promotes independent and reflective learning and aims to provide you with the confidence to explore and challenge concepts.

This is a major piece of individual work that allows you to demonstrate your understanding and expertise in a selected area of specialised study within the area of construction project management. The work will be a research project which is based upon investigation of empirical event(s) or organisation(s) in which you are required to compare practice with relevant aspects of theory.

You should aim to achieve identification of the elements of practice that are good or capable of improvement. With respect to the latter, you will provide logical solutions that analyse the potential for improvement.

Throughout all the modules the course tutors make good use of live case studies and projects to allow you to apply skills to real life situations.

The course structure enables you to develop subject knowledge and transferable skills in building surveying at the local level, and to link theory with practice through critical reflection in particular for building surveying and practical studies and facilities management.

All teaching is delivered using a mixture of learning and teaching styles that include lectures and small group seminars; workshops based on case studies; action learning sets based on student-centred research; and directed learning using internet based forums. Much emphasis is placed on current developments and is supported by guest lecturers and seminars as appropriate.

This course is accredited by:

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

The course is fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). Successful completion of the course will lead to Professional Membership after the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). 

Further Study

The University has a range of research (MPhil and PhD) postgraduate programmes, including Built Environment research degrees.

Enhancing your employability skills

As a qualified building surveyor, you'll have access to a wide range of opportunities in senior positions in organisations, or facilitate independent and smaller specialist practice opportunities within the broader building surveying field.

The Building Surveying MSc will enable you to become a more reflective and proactive practitioner. Your advanced level of knowledge will give you the skills to manage, maintain and develop complex buildings. You'll have the capacity to ensure they continue as successful buildings into the future.

With the ability to identify and tackle problems in the management of construction projects, you'll be a valuable asset to future employers. You'll also have a sound knowledge of legal implications, sustainability, economic impact and effects of social change in relation to the built environment.

You'll develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills. And thanks to the unique nature of the course, you'll learn how to work effectively and efficiently either on your own or as part of a team.

Your research project demonstrates in depth knowledge, commitment and critical thinking in a specialist area, which will help you develop in your chosen career.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

With skills that are in demand in industry, our graduates have secured positions with prestigious firms such as Balfours and Prudential in roles such as assistant building surveyor and building manager.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

£1,500 scholarship for all international students
who enrol full-time on this course starting Jan 2017

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

Building work on our new Conservatoire began in the summer of 2015 – and is scheduled for completion in summer 2017. This, along with the construction of a new city centre accommodation block, means our students have access to their very own building sites.

We couple this with the more traditional, office-based facilities:

Surveying equipment

Part of your learning activity will be hands-on, including carrying out survey work using a range of equipment, such as levels, theodolites, measuring tapes.

Computer Assisted Design (CAD)

You will be provided with the latest CAD software – free of charge – to enable you to acquire the skills you need in a modern design office.

Learning from industry experts

Discover more about the industry experts you can meet on our Engineering degree courses.

Laura Layland is one of our lecturers, watch this video to find out more.

Paul Laycock

Senior Lecturer

Paul is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment and Course Director for BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology.

Paul was originally a site manager. He moved into design management and from there became an Architectural Technologist. He taught at Northumbria University and then moved back into industry as a developer, before returning to education at Birmingham City University in 2005.

Sue Hayhow

Senior Lecturer

Senior lecturer Sue Hayhow is a former associate partner of Lawrence and Wightman who moved into Social Housing, managing large regeneration projects in the West Midlands.

Sue is a member of RICS and has been training and assessing young surveyors since 1994. She's recently been a judge for the RICS regional awards.

James Gaytten

Senior Lecturer

James is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment. He is an Architectural Technologist with 30 years post qualification experience in most construction sectors and has been teaching at Birmingham City University since 2008.

Dr Ghasson Shabha

Senior Lecturer

Ghasson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment.

Ghasson has obtained his PhD in Architecture from Bath University, UK. He is an architect by profession with a wide range of experience in the design and property management of office, residential and commercial buildings. He has acted in an advisory capacity to Housing Associations, PROMIS , Dubai, CIB and Building Research Establishment (BRE).

His main areas of specialism are building services, maintenance of buildings and facilities management, management of buildings and life cycle cost, and IT applications to property in building use. He has more than 43 refereed papers in Construction, Property and Facilities Management journals.

He has published in several specialised areas of property and real estate including such conferences as the IHAS, Design Decision Support Systems (Holland) and Catalyst 95 & 97 (Australia). CIB, W89, W70, CIB TG24, CIB W98. He has been involved in reviewing more than seven books in built environment related topics. He has been involved in delivering many workshops and CPDs related to design and Property management of buildings in the UK and overseas.

Professor Peter Larkham

Professor of Planning

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Historical Society, Peter teaches on postgraduate courses in built environment subjects, and has contributed to a number of academic journal papers and other publications. He also supervises at PhD level.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295