A Quantity Surveyor is responsible for ensuring that building projects meet legal and quality standards and for making sure clients get good value for money through careful monitoring of a project from start to finish.
Newly qualified Quantity Surveyors should expect to earn between £20,000 and £25,000. With chartered status and significant experience, this can rise to £45,000, with senior surveyors earning as much as £80,000.
Qualifications and Training
Quantity Surveyors usually have a degree or an equivalent qualification in a relevant subject such as civil or structural engineering, construction or surveying. To be classed as a qualified surveyor, degrees and other qualifications must be accredited by the RICS (Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors) or the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) so graduates with a non-accredited degree will be required to undertake a further postgraduate course in surveying. For those without a degree but with a BTEC, HND or other foundation qualification, it is often possible to start work as a surveying technician which enables employees to learn on the job and take the necessary qualifications to become an accredited surveyor whilst working. Practical surveying experience is crucial for getting work as a quantity surveyor. Most foundation and degree courses have a placement aspect to the course as do professional qualifications and graduate traineeships, which allow students the chance to apply their theoretical knowledge in a working environment.
Role and Responsibilities
Surveyors work in close contact with the client and the vendor contractor, advising them on legal and financial matters that arise during a project. The job is office-based but requires regular visits to site to meet with clients and contractors when monitoring progress.
Typical tasks include:
- carrying out initial ‘feasibility’ studies, in order to assess costs and materials, and estimate the length of a project
- ensuring that materials to be used during construction match up to environmental guidelines
- negotiating costs and working with vendors to draw up bids for contracts
- monitoring the construction of a building project to ensure costs and materials are in line with the initial assessment
- updating the client on the progress of the project, with particular reference to financial matters
- advising the client on any legal or contractual issues that arise during the project
- representing the client if and when disputes arise
- keeping up-to-date on new standards in construction and surveying
- preparing and maintaining financial records
- preparing schedules
- writing reports
- monitoring maintenance and renovation costs of a building once it is complete
Once qualified, quantity surveyors have plenty of opportunities for career development. Primarily they can work towards chartered status with the (RICS) Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or with the (CIOB) Chartered Institute of Building’s Faculty for Architecture and Surveying.