Careers In Construction Engineering – Quantity Surveyor
Quantity surveyors are concerned with project costs and planning. They’re on board for the entirety of a scheme, from the feasibility stages through to design and completion, ensuring that costs are kept to a minimum while standards and quality are maintained. They work in all sectors of the construction engineering industry, including buildings and infrastructure. As well as dealing with project costs for new build, quantity surveyors are also frequently involved with extension, refurbishment, maintenance and demolition.
Quantity Surveyor: Job Description
A typical job description for a quantity surveyor is likely to include the following:
- preparing tender and contract documents, including bills of quantities with the architect and/or the client
- assisting in establishing a client’s requirements
- undertaking cost analysis for repair and maintenance project work;
- performing risk, value management and cost control;
- advising on procurement strategy;
- undertaking feasibility studies;
- providing advice on contractual claims;
- reporting on outcomes and progress;
- valuing finished work and arranging payments;
- understanding the implications of health and safety regulations.
Qualifications and experience
There are a number of routes in quantity surveying. There is the option to study a degree in quantity surveying, a qualification accredited the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Alternatively, if you already have a degree, you can take a postgraduate conversion course, also accredited by RICS. In theory, your first degree can be in any subject but would-be quantity surveyors may find that civil/structural engineering, economics, geography or mathematics offer the best foundation.
Some employers will also offer their own graduate training scheme, or structured placement, allowing recent graduates to train as quantity surveyors, although these courses are not accredited by RICS.
Depending on where you currently work, you may be able to pursue experience of quantity surveying within your company – this can be a great start, give you valuable insights into the role and make you a strong candidate for any accredited course.
Continued professional development
The RICS offers an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), which is granted after completion of RICS CPD (which can be fulfilled in the workplace) as well as an interview. Once a member of RICS, you’ll have a greater advantage in the field of quantity surveying and offer a high standard of professionalism to your employers and clients. It is also an accreditation to be proud of which demonstrates the standard of your work.
There are also opportunities to pursue accreditation with other respected organisations, such as the Chartered Institute of Building, the Association of Cost Engineers and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.
To take their work further and find new challenges, many quantity surveyors choose to specialise in a particular area and develop in-depth knowledge. Areas of specialisation include:
- Project management
- Risk assessment
- Capital allowances and tax
- Supply chain management
Some quantity surveyors choose to broaden their horizons and take on additional challenges by working abroad, while others strike out on their own, setting up their own freelance consultancy.
Quantity surveying is a “high demand, low supply” profession . In other words, everyone needs QSs but they are few and far between, so people in the role can command a relatively high salary.
QS salaries vary greatly depending on experience. Graduates can expect to earn £25k-£28k per annum, an amount that increases up the scale to senior and associate quantity surveyors who may command up to £100K.