Responsibilities of a Quantity Surveyor
The roles of a quantity surveyor are many and varied. They include the management of finances for the construction project, working to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget, making sure production and costs are managed effectively throughout the project, resolving disputes between contracting parties, and preparing insurance replacement costs where need be.
As a quantity surveyor, you may also find yourself preparing tender and contract documents with a focus on cost analysis, undertaking feasibility studies in-line with client requirements, advising on procurement and risk management strategies, and hiring subcontractors.
Who the Quantity Surveyor Works For
The quantity surveyor can be found working from the office or on the construction site itself. They’ll often be contracted directly by the client, although it’s not uncommon to find them working as part of a construction company.
Before the Project Begins
The quantity surveyor’s job begins long before the project commences. At this stage, you’ll undertake feasibility studies based on the measurements laid out in the designers’ or client’s final sketches.
You’ll also study architects’ and engineers’ plans, estimate the costs involved, and draw up a detailed budget that references these and similar projects. You’ll then plan the most efficient and practical ways of meeting budget and prepare the final estimate upon which tenders will be evaluated.
During the Project
Once the construction project is underway, the quantity surveyor calculates, projects, and provides cash-flow data. This is done for each stage of the project to ensure everything is on track.
Due to the nature of construction projects, this data is constantly updated to account for the cost effects of delays and other unforeseen circumstances. This information allows the client to arrange finance and the quantity surveyor is often called upon to provide lenders with relevant and accurate information.
Once the Project is Over
The quantity surveyor analyses and collates all financial records and is the person responsible for preparing the final statement. Given the scope of the average construction project, this information will be broken down to show each stage of the project and the expenses incurred. This is then delivered to the client.
Skills Required to Be Successful
You’ll need a strong understanding of how different types of contracts are designed, as well as the pros and cons of each type of contract. A strong understanding of how structures are built, as well as the ability to accurately measure and interpret design drawings is also essential. Being an organised and accurate record keeper is an absolute must, as your information will frequently be used to see whether your project is on track.
You’ll also need to know how to negotiate, settle disputes, and communicate confidently with everybody from architects and designers to clients and project managers.
The Money You Can Expect
Quantity surveyors are held in high regard in Britain, especially during periods of economic growth. The average salary a quantity surveyor can command is £29,848 per annum, although it’s not uncommon for experienced quantity surveyors to command over £40,000. Experience has a moderate effect on pay rates for quantity surveyors, with many moving onto more lucrative careers within 20 years.
To summarise, quantity surveyors are highly sought-after and the role offers a reasonable pay scale. In order to commence work as a quantity surveyor, a degree in quantity surveying is essential.
You can also seek a post-graduate degree, approved by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RCIS), although you’ll need the right undergraduate degree to be accepted. If you think you have what it takes to be a quantity surveyor, you’ll find a challenging, ever-changing role with plenty of responsibility and rewards.