The first time a foreigner hears this job title he may think he is having his leg pulled. It is commonly used however and not at all disrespectful. The origin is unclear.
The surveyor is often associated with insurance claims, and will inspect the property or the car to assess the damage.
A specialist surveyor is a Property Surveyor who will inspect a property on behalf of the prospective purchaser or more often on behalf of the bank which is lending money against the property.
On the other hand it may be a land survey or a building survey that is required in order to apply for a building licence or an opening licence of an office or shop.