Quantity Surveyor Careers

How to become Quantity Surveyor

What does a Quantity Surveyor do?

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.

What's the working environment like working as a Quantity Surveyor?

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.

What does it take to become a Quantity Surveyor?

To be a quantity surveyor you should:

  • have a sound knowledge of building construction techniques and materials
  • have budget management skills
  • have good IT skills and an aptitude for maths
  • have a methodical approach to work
  • be well organised
  • understand Building Regulations and other relevant legal guidelines
  • have excellent communication and negotiating skills
  • be able to work as part of a team.

Quantity Surveyor Career Opportunities

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.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Quantity Surveyor that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Surveyor Court
Westwood Way
Tel: 0870 333 1600

Chartered Institute of Building
Kings Ride
Tel: 01344 630700

College of Estate Management
Tel: 0118 986 1101

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