what is an assistant quantity surveyor?

An assistant quantity surveyor is a junior position which is often the first step to becoming a fully certified quantity surveyor. As an assistant quantity surveyor, you are responsible for cost estimations and ensuring expenses are managed during construction projects. You’ll communicate with the accounting department and construction teams to ensure the work doesn't exceed the established budgets. Working under the supervision of a quantity surveyor, you will be expected to accomplish administrative duties like conducting feasibility studies and preparing budgets for construction projects.

view jobs

assistant quantity surveyor salary

According to the ONS, the median salary of an assistant quantity surveyor is £30,000 per year. When you join the field, your earnings start at £26,010 annually. As you improve your skills and experience, you can earn over £39,875 per year.

While an assistant quantity surveyor receives minimal benefits, some companies provide medical insurance and transport allowance. You may also earn overtime pay and annual bonuses.

what factors affect the salary of an assistant quantity surveyor?

As an assistant quantity surveyor, your salary depends on the employer and the job complexity. In a small company, you may perform all the responsibilities of a quantity surveyor since they don't have the resources to hire one.

In a large organisation, you may work alongside multiple assistant quantity surveyors and receive a higher salary since the company has greater resources.

Your location also affects your earnings. For instance, if you work in London, you’re likely to enjoy a higher payslip due to the increased demand for assistant quantity surveyors and the high cost of living. Whereas semi-urban areas have a lower cost of living, so pay their assistant quantity surveyors less.

smiling female, heavy machinery in the background
smiling female, heavy machinery in the background

types of assistant quantity surveyors

As an assistant quantity surveyor, you can work for a contractor or a consultancy firm which will provide a variety of responsibilities.

Contractor's assistant quantity surveyor

When you work for a contractor, you ensure the construction crew sticks to the budget by monitoring expenses during construction. You’ll also devise cost-effective ideas for completing projects within budget.

Client's assistant quantity surveyor

Working for a client means preparing construction cost estimates and assisting your client in completing the project within budget. You’ll also support the finding of contractors and assist with cash flow management.

Project assistant quantity surveyor

Your job is to review the tender for a project and come up with the cost estimates. You also conduct an appraisal when the project is complete.


working as an assistant quantity surveyor

Working as an assistant quantity surveyor is the perfect way to become a quantity surveyor.

What does an assistant QS do?

Analysing construction drawings and blueprints

Analyse various aspects of construction costs, materials and work schedules by following architectural drawings and specifications. You’ll also ensure that construction blueprints adhere to building regulations and follow health and safety standards.

Preparing estimates for material costs

Assist the quantity surveyor with preparing material costs by researching the materials needed for a building and estimating the prices. You also estimate other expenses involved in the construction process, like contractor fees and labour costs.

Writing contracts

Write contracts under the supervision of a quantity surveyor. The contracts should indicate the estimated project costs and you can negotiate them to stay within the budget. You’ll also conduct the research necessary for evaluating contractors for a project. 

Preparing financial documents

As part of your administrative duties, you prepare financial documents, contracts and budgets to track costs during construction. For instance, you prepare projected cash flows and track purchases and carry out inventory to account for used materials.

Monitoring construction projects

Visit construction sites regularly to check project progress and liaise with clients and contractors to determine their requirements. You can advise contractors on how to optimise their costs e.g. sourcing cost-effective construction materials.

Identifying commercial risks

Responsible for studying market fluctuations in labour or costs and identifying commercial risks in projects due to market changes.

Analysing a project's finances

Evaluate a client's finances and determine if they can finance the project to completion. Create financial forecasts that help them determine if they can afford the project. After construction, you also conduct an appraisal to highlight the insurance costs and risks associated with the building.

work environment

An assistant quantity surveyor usually works in an office when carrying out their responsibilities. However, if you work for a consulting firm, you will work from the office premises or at the client's place of work. For those that are employed by a contractor, your workplace will be at the project site.

In most office environments, you’ll wear professional clothes like suits. However, you need to wear protective gear and a hard hat when you visit construction sites. Construction environments tend to be noisy and dusty but you only spend a few hours at the site supervising the construction work.

who are your colleagues?

Whether you work for a contractor or a consultancy firm, your colleagues are likely to include quantity surveyors, cost estimators, accountants and contract managers. You may also work with lawyers and architects, as well as other specialists, including project managers, construction managers and contractors.

work schedule

The work schedule of an assistant quantity surveyor is 37 to 40 hours a week on a full-time schedule. Occasionally, you work overtime on weekends and evenings to meet deadlines or update clients on project progress.

While part-time positions are rare, some allow you to work up to 30 hours a week. Assistant quantity surveyors can sometimes work on short-term contracts or as freelancers.

job outlook

As an assistant quantity surveyor, your progression will involve becoming a registered quantity surveyor and working on projects independently. When you have a few years of experience, you can continue to climb the ladder and become a senior quantity surveyor or even become a construction manager or project manager of a construction site.

Alternatively, you can specialise in loss control surveying, which involves assessing damage to a property due to construction issues or weather. Other assistant quantity surveyors become reputable cost estimators.


education and skills

You need the following qualifications for your career as an assistant quantity surveyor:


While not every employer demands a degree from an assistant quantity surveyor, a bachelor's degree helps you advance your career. After your A-Levels, you can attend a quantity survey, maths, finance or business management degree programme at a university with accreditation from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Read our full guide on what degree options there are for becoming a quantity surveyor


You need to build your experience and industry knowledge. Try to join apprenticeship programmes where you learn as you work or find an internship opportunity to improve your experience levels and develop your skills.

skills and competencies

The following skills are helpful for assistant quantity surveyors:

Organisational skills

You need to keep track of materials cost sheets, budgets and project status. Without organisational skills, you may skip some tasks or make mistakes when preparing cash flow statements.

Communication skills

Having exceptional communication skills allows you to interact with project teams, suppliers and clients effectively.

Financial acumen

Financial skills will help you design effective budgets and evaluate the spending habits in a construction project. This acumen also helps you calculate costs and develop accurate estimates.

Problem-solving skills

You’ll need to solve any cost-related issues that arise during construction and be able to find cost-effective solutions to keep the project within the budget.

smiling male, heavy equipment in the background
smiling male, heavy equipment in the background

advantages of finding an assistant quantity surveyor job with Randstad

Finding your assistant quantity surveyor job through Randstad provides important advantages such as:

Want a permanent contract? A temporary job as an assistant quantity surveyor is often a stepping stone to an attractive permanent job. Every year, thousands of people earn a permanent contract with great employers thanks to a temporary job found through Randstad.

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.