Building Standards Workforce Data Collection Analysis Report 2022

The Building Standards Workforce Data Collection Analysis Report 2022 provides a national-level view of the challenges facing the building standards profession in relation to resourcing, development of competencies and levels of turnover.

16.0 Conclusions

Workforce demand

16.1. Demand for additional staff in the workforce remains significantly above the current level of supply into job roles. However the level of demand is more balanced with no single job role showing a peak in demand. There has been a marked decrease in demand for the Surveyor role which indicates that a new approach is emerging where Managers are seeking to rebalance the profile of the workforce by bringing in new recruits at a more junior level rather than always attempting to recruit like-for-like replacements for experienced Surveyors who leave.

16.2. There remains demand for Senior Surveyor and Team Leader roles while the Lead Surveyor demand level remains static. This indicates there are progression opportunities into these roles for experienced staff in addition to opportunities in the middle range of the profession for newer staff.

Workforce Supply

16.3. The level of supply into job roles has fallen and this change is evidenced by the reduction of staff in the Surveyor job role (17) since 2021 and (29) since 2020. This represents a negative trend which is off-set against increases in the number of staff in the Technician, Building Inspector and Assistant Surveyor roles. The data indicates that teams are being redesigned to support effective succession planning over the medium to long term.

16.4. The shortfall in resourcing the Surveyor role will be met by Senior and Lead Surveyors with support from more junior staff who will gain experience of working on more complex projects as a result and this will help to accelerate their development.

16.5. It can therefore be expected that the overall size of the workforce will rebalance over the next three to five years as succession planning has a positive effect and Managers continue to recruit and invest in new talent.

Supply and Demand

16.6. The largest difference between actual supply into job roles and the level of demand is in the current year with a gap of 65 and this remains broadly static over the next three years with the gap reducing to 54. After 2025, the gap between supply and the expected level of demand is forecasted to reduce significantly as the workforce is rebalanced through succession planning and successful recruitment campaigns.

16.7. For the Surveyor role, there is still a significant gap between current demand (209) and actual supply (186). As noted above, the data indicates that demand into more junior roles will support succession planning into the Surveyor role over time as direct recruitment has been difficult.

16.8. The move to redesign teams and recruit more junior-level staff has shown a reversal in the demand trend which is now reducing over the long term to 2027 and longer term to 2032 compared to the data collected in 2021. The data shows an overall demand for an additional 70 staff which can be met by switching the focus to investing in younger staff and continuing the “grow your own” approach to support individuals to progress their career.

Demographic Profile

16.9. The number of staff in the 16 to 24 and 25 to 29 age ranges has increased which is likely to be attributable to the introduction of Modern Apprentices and Graduate Apprentices.

16.10. The number of staff aged over 40 shows an overall reduction compared to 2021. The most significant reduction in the 40 to 49 age range may be as a result of staff leaving to move to a different role or into the public sector as indicated by the data on leavers.

16.12. The demographic data is starting to indicate a reversal to the ageing profile of the profession. The ongoing recruitment of Graduate Apprentices and the introduction of the new Modern Apprenticeship pathway will generally drive a younger profile to the workforce which, while balanced against the loss of expertise from the profession, will deliver benefits for teams and support the achievement of long term resourcing demands.

Length of Service

16.13. The change in the workforce demographic is represented in the data on length of service. There is an increase in the number of staff with up to 10 years of service while the number with between 21 and 40 years of service has reduced.

16.14. The biggest increase is seen in the 6 to 10 years of service while the number of staff in the 0 to 5 years of service has rebounded back from a slight reduction in 2021 to 157 in 2022. The 0 to 5 years and 6 to 10 years groups represent the largest cohort across the whole profession and provides a strong foundation for the future.

16.15. The data for staff with longer service still indicates that retention in job roles is good, individuals are able to progress their careers and wish to remain in the profession.

16.16. Similar to the data in 2021, the reduction in staff with 11 to 15 years of service may indicate the group most likely to leave building standards for a different career or a move to the private sector to pursue their longer term ambitions. This is a key group to retain in the profession where possible due to their experience and competence for handling more complex projects. Professional development and retention strategies for staff at this mid-stage in their career are key to ensure the resilience of the verification service.

Professional Memberships

16.17. Growth in the number of chartered memberships had been slow and is now declining with a significant reduction of 25 compared to the 2021 data. This change is likely as a result of retirement of senior staff who are more likely to be chartered and the loss of experienced staff in their mid-career. The Workforce Strategy promotes chartered membership of a construction sector professional body as an indicator of the level of professionalism across the workforce. The recruitment of younger staff into the profession and the focus on developing competence is likely to mean that the number of chartered memberships is unlikely to increase for some time.


16.18. The number of qualifications held is generally static with a small reduction of six overall. There is an increase in the number of Bachelor/SVQ 4 qualifications (+9) at level 9 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and other increases at lower levels on the framework. Ongoing investment in learning and development for building standards professionals will be essential for this positive trend to continue.

16.19. The reduction of Masters degrees held (-11) is the largest reduction recorded and is likely due to the loss of experience staff through retirements and turnover.

Qualifications – Currently Studying

16.20. There has been a marked increase in the number of staff studying for a qualification (+7) compared to the 2021 data. The impact of the new modern apprenticeship pathway is not evidenced in 2022 data due to delays affecting recruitment so the number of staff currently studying is likely to increase further in 2023.

16.22. The trend of staff studying for an Honours degree continues to rise with an increase of (+7) compared to the 2021 data and (+14) compared to the 2020 data. This indicates the willingness of individuals to pursue advanced qualifications to progress their career and also the commitment from employers to invest in staff.


16.23. The introduction of Modern Apprentices into the workforce is a significant change to the profession which will provide a solid foundation for growth in the years ahead. The data does not fully represent the 14 apprentices recruited over 2022 for cohort 1 of the new modern apprenticeship pathway due to delays with recruiting and onboarding. The introduction of one Foundation Apprentice is a welcome development as this opportunity provides a realistic and positive experience in the workplace for a secondary school pupil. The data shows a reduction in the number of Graduate Apprentices which may indicate that individuals are completing their course of study and progressing into a defined role in the profession.

Types of qualification currently being studied

16.24. The number of staff studying for a Building Surveying qualification remains at 20 and this subject is still the most popular due to its relevance to a building standards career. The variety of qualifications being studied has extended and there are now three more staff working towards a Fire Engineering qualification compared to the 2021 data. Although this is modest, the lack of fire engineering expertise in the profession has been a long-standing issue and the increase is a positive development for the future. In addition, the number of architecture students has increased by four from the 2021 data. The delivery of building standards learning by Local Authority Building Standards Scotland and Building Standards Surveyors as a part of the degree course at Glasgow Caledonian University is continuing in academic year 2022-23. The course has been well received by students with some securing employment in a building standards role. The modules are being made available for inclusion in degree courses by other universities and progress is being made with both Robert Gordon University and Edinburgh Napier University with building standards professionals providing guest lectures.

Staff leaving the profession

16.25. The number of retirals and the pace of turnover in the profession have increased in 2022. The step change in the retirement rate has increased each year since 2020 and this represents a loss of expertise and leadership from the profession.

16.26. In 2022, the number of staff moving within the profession from one local authority to another increased as did the number of staff leaving their building standards role or leaving the public sector entirely to work in the private sector.

16.27. The leaver rate in 2022 was 68% higher than the rate in 2021. The removal of COVID-19 restrictions and the return to greater movement in the economy generally may account for a higher than usual leaver rate as staff may have delayed their move during the pandemic. This is likely to be a consequence of the pandemic and the leaver rate may return to lower levels in the next year.



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