Becoming a TSA member: the process

Published: 23 Aug 2023

Raising standards across the profession is a big part of The Survey Association’s role, so the membership application process is extremely rigorous. The organisation has to ensure that every member is achieving certain levels of professionalism and expertise before they can join.

The application process to become a member takes around four to five months, although in rare cases, it may be completed in just two to three. If some additional time is needed to gather more information, the process can be deferred, but it has to be completed within 18 months of starting.

Five categories of TSA membership

Everyone applying for membership will be eligible only for one category or none at all. There are five categories of membership:

  1. Full member, which derives the majority of its turnover from surveying in the UK and has been trading more than three years.
  2. Associate member, for companies which have been trading less than three years but meet all other requirements of Full membership. An Associate member can apply for full membership once they reach the three years trading mark, subject to providing two more work samples and a desktop assessment.
  3. Affiliate member. This category was created 15 years ago for survey departments within a bigger multi-disciplinary consultancy.
  4. Academic member. Any educational establishment running a surveying qualification can apply for this free level of membership.
  5. Supplier member. This category is for companies providing services to surveyors, whether it is hardware, software, equipment, insurance etc.

A digital process

The whole process of applying to The Survey Association has become more streamlined since it went digital. In times gone by we used to receive work samples on CDs, floppy discs or USB sticks. Sometimes we would receive reams of paper, with everything printed out! Despite it being digitised now, applicants are sometimes still a little taken aback by just how comprehensive the process is. However, all our members have been through it and it does provide reassurance for clients as to the quality of work that will be provided. Applicants should also feel reassured that it is a very transparent process and that we provide open and honest feedback if an application is rejected.  

There are still no national standards for topographical surveys, although, with the advent of PUMA, there is now a national standard for PAS128 surveys. When The Survey Association assesses an applicant, we are assessing their organisation as a business but also the quality of their work. As well as looking at the surveys carried out, we need to see that all the proper procedures around that work have been implemented too. When we request work samples, we are not looking just for raw DWG files but for their client specification too, along with their health and safety policies and RAMS.

An assessment call

If the application gets to the point where the references have been received and the work samples approved, Secretary General Rachel Tyrrell carries out an assessment call with every applicant to get all the details needed to build up a detailed profile of the company.  It is also a valuable time to explain how TSA works and how a new member can make the most of membership.  This report is then circulated first to the Membership & Internal Affairs (MIA) Committee and then to Council for final approval.

Peer scrutiny for TSA membership applications

Rachel says,

“People are often really shocked when I tell them that since 2017, 20 companies which have applied for membership of TSA have been turned down. The rigorous application process is thorough for a reason.

“For many surveyors, applying to TSA may be the first time they have had their work scrutinised by peers and most welcome helpful and constructive feedback, all of which we share with the applicant.

“We continuously look to tighten up our assessments, which means they are more rigorous than they have ever been. For some of our longest-standing members, including those on Council, this may mean us requesting up to date work samples to check that standards are being maintained across the board.”

To find out more about the application process and the benefits of membership, please go to