what is a quantity surveyor?

Quantity surveyors are often referred to as construction cost consultants since they manage project finances and maintain contractual relationships. As a quantity surveyor, it is your job to watch the finances and report them accurately. This can include budgets and contracts for large construction projects like buildings and infrastructure. Your objective as a quantity surveyor is to ensure value for money and cost optimisation throughout the construction process.

Aside from focusing on cost, quantity surveyors also ensure high-quality construction plans. You will liaise with architects and civil engineers on-site to develop building plans within the budget but maintain the required standards. Since you are in charge of the financial aspects of a project, it is your job to notify the stakeholders about the progress of a project and whether it requires a supplementary budget.

When you are a quantity surveyor, it is your responsibility to ensure the legislation is adhered to and the construction site doesn't have any safety violations. That means you have to visit the construction site regularly to ensure workers observe safety measures.

Would working as a quantity surveyor suit your financial management skills? Then check out these testimonials from quantity surveyors and read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a quantity surveyor role.

quantity surveyor jobs

average salary of a quantity surveyor

According to National Careers, the average annual salary for a quantity surveyor in the UK is £25,000 at the beginning of their career. Experienced surveyors with high educational qualifications can earn more than £80,000 a year. Apart from the basic wages, quantity surveyors also receive numerous benefits as part of the compensation package. 

Some companies provide transport allowance or fuel allowance due to the frequent travelling involved in the role. Health insurance is also expected due to the safety risks in construction sites. Other benefits include bonuses or overtime pay.

how to increase your quantity surveyor salary

The salary you earn as a quantity surveyor depends on multiple factors. Your experience and academic qualifications determine whether you will earn an entry-level salary or top wages in the industry. Improving your capabilities or verifying your skills through certification increases your pay. 

The company size also determines the amount your employer is willing to pay. For example, large companies handle big projects with huge budgets; hence they pay higher salaries due to the complexity of the work. The location also dictates your pay bracket due to the cost of living. Urban areas have better compensation packages due to the high cost of living.


types of quantity surveyor

Different types of quantity surveyors exist depending on the employer. Some include:

  • client's quantity surveyor: as a consultant or the client's quantity surveyor, you assist your clients to accomplish projects within their pre-determined budget. That means you create an economic plan and regularly update your clients on the project progress.
  • contractor's quantity surveyor: when a contractor employs you, your job is to prepare cost estimates and manage the construction budget for them. That involves coming up with cost-effective ideas and ensuring safety at the construction site.
  • project quantity surveyor: your work as a project quantity surveyor is to regulate project costs, carry out a tender appraisal and review a project when it ends.

working as a quantity surveyor

Joining the quantity surveyor career is rewarding, and the successful accomplishment of every construction is fulfilling. Let's look at the day to day tasks and the work environment of a quantity surveyor.


education & skills

You will find numerous paths to joining the quantity surveyor career. Some of the common ways include:

  • university degree: to become a quantity surveyor, get an undergraduate degree or a postgraduate conversion. Some of the degree subjects to consider are construction, civil engineering, quantity surveying and economics. The course or the training provider should also be accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The entry requirements for a degree in quantity surveying are two or three A Levels, while a postgraduate course requires a degree.
  • apprenticeship: you can become a quantity surveyor by taking an advanced surveying technician or a chartered surveyor degree apprenticeship. For the advanced apprenticeship, you need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4, while the degree apprenticeship requires 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4.
  • charter: if you want to be a chartered quantity surveyor, you need to register with RICS and complete your assessment through the Assessment of Professional Competence scheme.

skills and competencies

Apart from strong numeracy skills, you need these soft skills and competencies to succeed as a quantity surveyor:

  • analytical ability: your daily job involves analysing budgets, expenses, contracts and blueprints, and analytical skills will help you achieve your goals. The skills also allow you to have an elaborate approach to processes and pay attention to minor details. Expertise in using analytical tools like Excel also comes in handy.
  • communication skills: as a quantity surveyor, you need proficient communication abilities to explain the impact of costs to clients and contractors. Written communication also helps you in preparing various documents like contracts and budgets.
  • negotiation skills: since you need to get the best deals for construction and materials, negotiation skills are essentials. Aside from negotiating contracts, sometimes you need to convince the construction crew to use the construction plans you recommend.
  • computer skills: most of the budgets you prepare and cost estimation are done from a computer, which means you need to have computing skills. Sometimes, you have to correct a construction blueprint, which requires expertise in computerised drawing.


Here are the most asked questions about working as a quantity surveyor.

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