The roles and responsibilities of a quantity surveyor primarily relate to the management of costs associated with building or engineering projects. At the same time as ensuring projects meet all of the necessary legal and quality assurance regulations, a quantity surveyor must simultaneously seek to minimise costs while enhancing value for money, from the initial design stages right through to completion.
Performing a key function in any build project, whether it be maintenance of an existing building, renovation works or a complete new-build, quantity surveyors require accredited qualifications alongside numerous practical skills.
The Qualifications Needed to Be a Quantity Surveyor
To fulfil the roles and responsibilities of a quantity surveyor, it is usually a requirement to be educated to degree level or hold a professional qualification that is accredited by the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Generally, the most relevant degrees would be those either directly focused in the fields of surveying and construction or in the areas of civil and structural engineering.
However, it is possible to join the profession without such specialist knowledge. For the right candidate, some employers can be willing to fund part-time degree courses, and for those with degrees not relevant to the role, it is possible to take a RICS recognised postgraduate course.
Skills and Attributes
Other skills looked for by employers include having a good understanding of the construction industry as well as knowledge of the Health and Safety Executive’s building regulations and legal guidelines.
Possessing an ability to digest complex information quickly in order to assess the needs of a project within any given timescale is another essential skill. Methodical thinkers and problem solvers are often suited to performing the duties expected of a quantity surveyor. Good financial management skills are also important. Excellent communication and negotiating abilities are sought after in order to fulfil the responsibility of bringing in a project within budget.
Duties of a Quantity Surveyor
In seeking to enhance value for money and minimise overall costs, a quantity surveyor will typically be responsible for coordinating the work effort on a building project and conducting feasibility studies in order to estimate costs associated with materials, time and labour.
They will also negotiate and analyse costs for tenders and contracts as well as offer advice on a variety of contractual and legal issues.
Finally, upon completion of work, it is the quantity surveyor’s role to value what has been done and arrange the necessary payments.
Typical Salary and Benefits
As a guide, new quantity surveyors can expect to earn in the region of £18,000 to £26,000 per year. More experienced quantity surveyors working at a senior level could see their salary increase to between £30,000 and £50,000 per year, with senior chartered quantity surveyors earning upwards of £80,000 annually.
After gaining several years of experience as a quantity surveyor, many more opportunities can open up, such as the option to become a contractor or take on a consultancy role. This can be very lucrative and even offer scope to work further afield on large construction projects such as those currently being undertaken in Dubai.
Alternatively, some quantity surveyors use their transferable skills more generally to take on project management positions. The roles and responsibilities of a quantity surveyor help to equip an individual with a great deal of specialist knowledge. Armed with this, many enjoy widening their role to encompass even more elements of project management.