what is a quantity surveyor?

Quantity surveyors are often referred to as construction cost consultants since they manage project finances and maintain contractual relationships. A construction quantity surveyor will report on the financial aspect of a project, ensuring value for money and cost optimisation throughout the construction process.

Aside from focusing on cost, quantity surveyors also make sure that construction plans are of high quality, that all appropriate legislation is followed, and that the construction site doesn't have any safety violations.

what does a quantity surveyor do?

Professional responsibilities include preparing construction plans to ensure high-quality work and managing a project's budget, including contracts for large construction projects such as buildings and infrastructure. The role also involves visiting the construction site regularly to ensure that workers observe safety measures.

A quantity surveyor will liaise with architects and civil engineers on-site to develop building plans that remain within the budget but also maintain the required standards. It is the job of the quantity surveyor to notify the stakeholders about the progress of a project and whether it requires a supplementary budget. Quantity surveyors also play a vital role in making developments as sustainable, reusable and low-energy as possible.

If you have great financial management skills, know how to find the best deals and love to travel, then a career in quantity surveying could be ideally suited to you. Our guide will explain everything that you need to know, including the skills needed for the role, the types of duties involved and how to become a quantity surveyor.

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

how much does a quantity surveyor earn?

According to the National Careers Service, the average annual salary for a quantity surveyor at the start of their career in the UK is £25,000. 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 often included due to the safety risks in construction sites. Other benefits can include bonuses or overtime pay.

how to increase your quantity surveyor salary

The salary that 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 that 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, with urban areas offering better compensation packages.


types of quantity surveyor

Quantity surveyors can be categorised into types, depending on the employer. Some include:

  • client's quantity surveyor: a consultant or client's quantity surveyor will assist a client to accomplish projects within their predetermined budget. That means creating an economic plan and regularly updating clients on the project progress.
  • contractor's quantity surveyor: when a contractor employs a quantity surveyor, the 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: the role of 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

If you’re wondering why you should become a quantity surveyor, we’ve put together an in-depth guide to some of the duties you could be tasked with on a day-to-day basis, so that you can see for yourself whether this rewarding career could be suited to your goals.


How to become a quantity surveyor

If you’re wondering how to become a quantity surveyor, you’ll find numerous paths to establishing your career, but you will need to have some form of official degree or other qualification.

qualifications needed to be a quantity surveyor

  • university degree: to become a quantity surveyor, you could 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 most undergraduate degrees are two or three A Levels, while a postgraduate course requires a degree.
  • surveying apprenticeship: you can become a quantity surveyor by taking an advanced surveying technician apprenticeship or a chartered surveyor degree apprenticeship. For the advanced apprenticeship, you need five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4, while the degree apprenticeship requires four or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4.
  • charter: as a graduate, you can work towards gaining a charter from RICS by completing your Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) and an on-the-job training scheme. This will enable you to become a trained, industry-recognised professional with expert knowledge and a high standard of quantity surveyor skills. In turn, this can lead to an increase in salary.
  • The length of time that this takes to achieve depends on your experience. When you have over five years' experience, you will complete the assessment in 12 months. However, if your work experience is below five years, the APC will take 24 months.

what are the important quantity surveyor skills?

Apart from strong numeracy skills and financial management abilities, you’ll need a wide range of soft skills and competencies to succeed as a quantity surveyor:

  • analytical ability: your daily job will involve analysing budgets, expenses, contracts and blueprints, and a good set of analytical skills will help you to achieve your goals. These skills will also allow you to take 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 such as 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’ll need to convince the construction crew to use the plans that you recommend, to ensure that the budget is maintained.
  • computer skills: most of the budgets you prepare, as we all as cost estimation, are done digitally, which means that you’ll need to have good computing skills. You might also need to have expertise in computerised drawing.

quantity surveyor jobs with Randstad

Find your quantity surveyor job through Randstad and you’ll benefit from a wide variety of training and development opportunities as well as:

Quantity surveyors are sometimes offered temporary contracts and this can be an excellent 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.

how do I apply for a quantity surveyor vacancy?

Apply for a quantity surveyor job with Randstad by creating a profile and searching our jobs. Once you’ve found one that interests you, simply send us your CV and cover letter.

thank you for subscribing to your personalised job alerts.