Quantity surveyors are concerned with calculating the costs of a building project before and during construction. They are employed by clients or by building contractors and work on a wide range of assignments, including new build developments, refurbishment schemes, and renovation and conservation jobs.
Quantity surveyors study plans drawn up by an architect or engineer and calculate the types and quantities of materials required, and the cost of time and labour. Their remit can also include advising the client on which materials or features may be more cost effective in the longer term. The results are itemised into a ‘bill of quantities’ which building contractors use as a basis for estimating costs.
Dealing with tenders from contractors and advising clients on legal and contractual matters are important aspects of the job. Surveyors also monitor the progress of a job once building work has started to ensure that costs are within agreed limits, that construction phases are on schedule and completed to the standard required.
There is extensive use of computer software for calculations, record keeping, preparing work schedules and report writing. Feasibility studies may be undertaken initially, to see if construction can be carried out within the available budget. Depending on the size of the job, quantity surveyors can deal with budgets which run into millions of pounds, so it is essential that they are financially astute.
Quantity surveyors work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, although some overtime may be required during evenings and weekends.
The work is a combination of office-based duties and site visits. A driving licence is usually required.
To be a quantity surveyor you should:
Demand for quantity surveyors is good, although this depends very much on the economic climate and the state of the commercial, housing and industrial property market.
Opportunities for employment exist within local authority or government departments, private practice, building contractors, property companies or commercial organisations both in the UK and abroad.
There may also be openings for consultancy work and self-employment. Career progression can lead to senior management positions.
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College of Estate Management
Tel: 0118 986 1101