A Typical Week in the Life of a Property Tax Surveyor

Property Taxation Surveying is a highly niche area, which requires daily active use of my quantity surveying skills to identify tax reliefs on commercial property. This brief article gives a flavour of a week in my current role.

Ian Barwick 2


I am Ian Barwick, and I have been a graduate Property Taxation Surveyor at E3 Consulting for nearly three years. I graduated from the University of Warwick with a First in Classics and originally started at E3 on a three month internship as a Legal Research Analyst. This brief article gives a flavour of a week in my current role.

As a property taxation surveyor, the majority of my time is spent working on purchase and construction projects for our clients. However, I do more than this as E3 takes a collaborative and holistic approach to learning and development. As such, all employees are encouraged to be involved in different functions of the business. It is equally important for all staff to develop their soft/transferable skills such as networking, planning, presentation, proofing and time management skills. The business takes the view that it is key to constantly support all staff to maintain an outward and client focused attitude and approach. It is equally important to keep developing technical and ambassadorial skills every day. Our engaged and collaborative approach to training and how we do business means that the whole team are continually commercially focused.Property Taxation Surveying is a highly niche area, which requires daily active use of my quantity surveying skills to identify tax reliefs on commercial property. I am often asked why I chose to become a property taxation surveyor. In fact, I hadn’t planned this as a career, which is the same for the majority of people who work within the capital allowances sector. When I graduated, I was not aware such a job existed!


During any one week, I will usually work on a variety of different projects, as capital allowances are available at all stages of the property lifecycle.

When looking at a purchase claim, for, say, a £1m office block, the first job is to check the entitlement to claim; this might involve looking at the contract documentation or researching prior owners to confirm their position. If this entitlement cannot be confirmed, the purchaser could potentially lose out on approximately £50k in cash tax savings, based upon a 20% tax rate and assuming a typical claim of £250,000.

Property Life Cycle

Capital allowances are also available on construction expenditure, and a typical week often might involve analysing the construction costs of a £4m car dealership or a £300,000 gym refurbishment for project expenditure which is eligible for the available tax reliefs.

Pub In a normal week, I often conduct a survey, for example of a £500,000 pub refurbishment. With all of these projects, I use my quantity surveying skills to identify elements, such as lighting, heating or kitchen equipment that will qualify for tax relief. Being on site and performing a detailed survey enables me to better understand the project scope and clarify my queries arising from the data review. 

The details from the survey are then used as evidence to support the client’s capital allowances claim. This is, in part, how we add value as a specialist.


My role also involves supporting the wider E3 team with the preparation of detailed proposals that we send to prospective clients. We analyse the information available to provide an estimate for the allowances and tax savings and suggest an indicative fee, which will be included in our proposal document. Examples of proposals I have recently worked on include a substantial £30m refurbishment for a hotel in the South West, a £750k office refurbishment in central London and the purchase of an £8m portfolio of car repair workshops throughout the UK.

Post Graduate Quantity Surveying Course

In tandem with my job, I have been supported and sponsored by E3 to study part-time an MSc degree in Quantity Surveying at the University of Portsmouth, for 1 day a week over the past 2 years. Studying for a QS postgraduate degree has helped me further develop my surveying and cost estimation skills which are the core skills required in my property tax role.

Assessment of Professional Competence (APC)

Furthermore, I am undertaking the APC process to become professionally qualified as a Chartered Surveyor with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This is supported by my learning, both from the course and from my day-to-day ‘learning on the job’ at E3. This is captured in a structured fashion for my RICS log book. To complete my APC, I will also submit a case study on a particular project and undergo a final assessment in 2017.

I have regular conversations (formal and informal) and meetings with Rupert Guppy, my supervisor, who is also an APC assessor, and Alun Oliver, my counsellor. The key details of these are recorded with highlights and next action points. This is complemented by my reflection and learning logs, which I have been encouraged to keep throughout my course and for my dissertation, and go into greater depth on points of particular technical and commercial learning. In addition, we also have a weekly business improvement meeting to share our key learning points, both technical and commercial, from the week.


I, along with every team member at E3, attend various networking events in Southampton, London and further afield, which supports development of our listening and questioning skills and helps us to stay in touch with our business contacts and the local community alike. I regularly attend events organised by the RICS, and also the Bournemouth and Southampton Property Associations, which hold varied events - both technical and social. These include monthly Friday drinks events, technical lectures and even a 3 day networking ski trip in France!

Other Activities

As well as all of this, I get involved with non-surveying areas of the business on an ad hoc basis, including HR, marketing and sales. In a typical week, I could spend some time proofreading an article for Taxation magazine, giving a talk to surveying students on potential careers, or researching a recent construction project in the local area and crafting a tailored letter to introduce our services to a potential client.


As a Property Taxation Surveyor, the majority of my time is spent on client projects, ranging from car dealerships in the South West to offices in central London to shopping centres in the North. Working in a SME like E3 means that I see and experience all aspects of the business on a weekly basis. This is part of my job satisfaction and the enjoyment I receive from my role, as I can clearly see the contribution and positive impact I make to the business on a regular basis, which is appreciated by the whole team.

I am continually developing my technical and professional skills, by studying for a QS postgraduate degree, learning ‘on the job’ and by being able to share my ideas, thoughts and opinions regularly and in an open and collaborative environment.

This multitude of variety on offer means that no two days are ever the same, and there is always something new to learn and a new challenge to tackle. I am thus continually ‘on my toes’ with on-going challenges! Ballet Feet


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