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Building Control Officer

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Building Control Officer

The Work

Building control officers, also known as building control surveyors, make sure that buildings meet construction regulations. These regulations cover areas like public health, fire safety, energy conservation and building accessibility.

As a control officer, you would work on the planning and construction phases of a building project. Projects could range in size from a small housing extension to a large city centre redevelopment.

Your duties would include:

  • working with architects, designers, builders and engineers on planning proposals
  • suggesting ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of materials and energy use
  • carrying out regular inspections at each stage of the building process
  • keeping records and issuing completion certificates.

You would also be responsible for surveying potentially dangerous buildings that have been damaged by fire or bad weather. If necessary, you could approve their demolition. Other responsibilities may include authorising entertainment licences, and checking safety at sports grounds, open-air events, cinemas and theatres.

On all projects you would have to take into account the implications of your decisions on contractors' time and costs. However, if you decided that a building project no longer meets regulations, you could start legal proceedings to change or stop the work.

Hours and Environment

You would work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You could be on a 24-hour call-out rota, for example if the emergency services needed you to inspect an unstable building.

You would split your time between the office and site visits, where you would work in all weather conditions. Some jobs might involve working at heights on scaffolding or ladders, and you would use protective safety equipment when on site.

Skills and Interests

  • a thorough knowledge of Building Regulations
  • a good understanding of the technical aspects of construction
  • good problem-solving skills
  • a tactful and diplomatic approach
  • strong IT skills
  • excellent communication and negotiating skills
  • the ability to explain technical terms clearly to members of the public
  • time management skills and organisational ability
  • good teamworking skills, with the ability to work alone when required.


You would normally need at least two A levels, a BTEC National Diploma, HNC/HND or a degree to work as a building control officer. Relevant subjects include:

  • building studies
  • civil engineering
  • building control
  • building surveying.

Employers' entry requirements can vary so you need to check with them for exact details. See the opportunities section below for links to some sources of vacancies.


Once you start working you would normally receive on-the-job training. You may be encouraged to take NVQ qualifications, such as Built Environment Development and Control at levels 3 and 4.

You can find more details about these qualifications on the Association of Building Engineers (ABE) website.

You could also work towards professional accreditation from the RICS or the ABE. After passing written exams, your level of professional competence would be assessed. These organisations also offer seminars and training by distance learning. See the RICS and ABE websites for more details.



Most job opportunities would be with local authorities, but there may be some openings in the private sector with government-appointed inspection bodies.

With experience, you could specialise in a particular field, for example fire safety, or you could move into technical and planning roles in other departments, such as town planning.

With a lot of experience in building control, you could become self employed and work as a consultant.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading (links open in new window):

RICS Recruit

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Annual Income

  • Starting salaries can range from 21,000 to 26,000 a year.
  • Experienced inspectors can earn between 27,000 and 38,000.
  • Senior inspectors can earn up to 50,000 a year.

Rates tend to be higher in the south-east, particularly in the private sector.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.


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