what is a senior quantity surveyor?

As a senior quantity surveyor, you use your extensive knowledge in building contracts negotiations to manage the expenses of building projects. Your job involves finding the best suppliers and contractors for projects based on the budgets and building requirements. You also work with architects to identify resources and materials necessary for a construction project. The role puts you in control of project budgets, and you need to account for all the expenses. It also means you monitor a project from the start to the end to ensure the construction crew sticks to the budget.

Senior quantity surveyors are involved in quantifying and budgeting costs of building works like housing developments, shopping malls and civil engineering schemes like airport runways or roads. While the projects vary, the principles used in quantifying costs are the same. The specific responsibilities of senior quantity surveyors depend on the organisation and scope of the job. For instance, consultancy construction companies require a senior quantity surveyor to oversee the preparation of front-end design work and budget projections for new projects. Academic institutions also need senior quantity surveyors for research, training and specialised consultancy. You usually oversee one major project or several overlapping projects simultaneously. Hence, you need multitasking and organisational skills to succeed in the role.

Would working in construction as a senior quantity surveyor suit your multitasking skills and love for numbers? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a senior quantity surveyor role.

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senior quantity surveyor salary

According to ONS, a senior quantity surveyor in the UK earns £60,000 per year. The lower rate of pay is £52,500 annually for senior quantity surveyors with minimal skills and experience. When you have many years of experience, your salary increases to around £90,000 per year. You enjoy numerous benefits, including paid holidays, medical and life insurance, transport and housing allowances. You also receive higher hourly rates for working overtime and annual company bonuses.

what factors affect the salary of a senior quantity surveyor?

As a senior quantity surveyor, your salary depends on your experience level and academic qualifications. If you have five years of experience, your compensation package is lower than someone with ten years of experience. That is because they bring additional expertise and transferrable skills to the company. A master's graduate with chartered status also earns more due to their high level of expertise.

Your location and employer can influence your salary. For instance, working in large cities like London attracts a higher salary due to the high cost of living, while smaller towns pay less due to the low demand for senior quantity surveyors. Large multinational companies also pay more due to the unlimited resources, while small construction companies cannot afford to pay high salaries.

smiling male wearing suit and tie
smiling male wearing suit and tie

types of senior quantity surveyors

The types of senior quantity surveyors depend on who they work for. Some senior quantity surveyors work for contractors, while others work for consultancy firms.

  • contractor's quantity surveyor: as a senior quantity surveyor working for a contractor, you focus on controlling costs during construction. You prepare budget projections and assist contractors in acquiring the best suppliers for materials. You also manage expenses during construction and develop cost-effective ways of completing projects.
  • client's quantity surveyor: as a senior quantity surveyor working for a consultancy firm, you advise your client on the project scope and costs. You help them negotiate contracts with contractors and acquire building permissions. You also review front-end designs and develop ways to minimise costs.


working as a senior quantity surveyor

Are you looking forward to a career as a senior quantity surveyor? Discover the duties, work environment and work schedule expected in the role.


education and skills

A senior quantity surveyor needs the following academic qualifications:

  • university degree: you start your journey to a senior quantity surveyor role with a degree approved by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Relevant subjects include construction, civil engineering, maths and building studies. You can also do a postgraduate conversion from other roles.
  • apprenticeship: you can also begin with a surveying technician advanced apprenticeship that involves on-the-job training. When you complete the apprenticeship, you should pursue other courses to qualify for a senior position in quantity surveying.
  • work experience: to become a senior quantity surveyor, you need extensive work experience and a certification in construction skills management. You also need five years of experience in a junior quantity surveyor role.

skills and competencies

Skills and competencies of senior quantity surveyors include:

  • aptitude for maths: as a senior quantity surveyor, you need numerical prowess to guide other surveyors through cost estimation processes. Mathematical knowledge is essential during the budgeting and tendering process.
  • negotiation skills: as a senior quantity surveyor, you negotiate contracts on behalf of your client. Hence, you need good negotiation skills to get the best value for money and good contracts for your clients.
  • analytical skills: a senior quantity surveyor reviews projected and actual financial reports. You need to analyse the reports and recommend ways to prevent deviations from budgets. Analytical skills help you analyse the reports and contractual terms.
  • leadership skills: as a senior quantity surveyor, you need exceptional leadership skills to guide other quantity surveyors. You also need to motivate and inspire construction workers.
smiling male
smiling male


FAQs about working as a senior quantity surveyor

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