The name Quantity Surveyor is derived from the original need for the profession to prepare the bill of quantities from plans, describing the material, items of work and the quantities needed. The word quantity implies amount, numbers, extent, mass, size, magnitude or measure. Surveyor denotes inspector, examiner, reviewer, evaluator or assessor.
The Evolution of Quantity Surveying
Quantity Surveying originally had just three major employers; Professional Quantity Surveying firms (PQS), municipalities and government departments, as well as construction and civil engineering companies.
Quantity Surveyors have increasingly become more recognisable as a profession from architecture and civil engineering since the year of 1836, yet they are not immune to the many challenges within the environment. The construction industry appear to have always been highly critical of the works carried out by this profession, leading others to even question the importance of the role as a whole.
By the middle of the 20th Century, Quantity Surveying continued to evolve into a much more recognisable profession in the construction industry. Quantity Surveying jobs had developed into a traditional role of maintaining all financial aspects of each project for both the clients and the builders. With the ever-changing environment, this field has adapted to suit each marketplace as time has continued to move forward.
Today, Quantity Surveying functions involve a vast array of attributes, these allow the profession itself to stand far away from something just as simple as ‘counting bricks’. Due to the vast array of services that this job offers, the business is not just focusing on the construction industry but also finance. This is elevating the involvement in other industries as time is progressively moving forward, such as property management as an example.
Similar to other businesses, the demand for qualified professionals increases as the industry is expanding, so in recent years the demand for Surveyors has been at a high. Despite originally only having three major employers, Quantity Surveying today could mean you work for a local authority, housing association or government department. Or you may work within the private sector of a building contractor, property company, civil engineering or architecture firm.
In order for this profession to not become extinct, over the years, recent practice has shown that the industry has focused on implementing ‘value engineering’. This will then improve the overall value of the end product or service that they are providing to clients, helping the client receive more for their money. For any industry to succeed, it needs to adapt to the surroundings and evolve with the time.
The paths into landing a role within a Quantity Surveying career has increased over the years, from university degrees to apprenticeships to even gaining a role as a junior or trainee Surveyor. The opportunities will only continue to increase as the industry continues to grow.