Quantity Surveying : An Introduction to the Profession

Quantity Surveying : An Introduction to the Profession
7 min read

It is a profession that has been around for centuries and continues to be an important part of the construction industry. It involves the measurement, valuation, and control of the costs of building projects, from the initial estimation to the final accounts. The quantity surveyor (QS) works closely with architects, engineers, contractors, and other professionals to ensure that all aspects of a project are managed effectively and efficiently. In this article, we will explore what it takes to become a quantity surveyor, as well as some of the areas they specialize in.

What is Quantity Surveying?

Quantity Surveying is a profession that involves the measurement, evaluation, and management of the costs associated with a construction project. Professionals in this field are responsible for estimating, tendering, and negotiating contracts with subcontractors and suppliers, as well as managing the overall budget of a project. Quantity Surveyors also advise clients on legal responsibilities such as health and safety regulations, insurance contracts, and local planning regulations.

A Quantity Surveyor will work closely with other professionals involved in the construction process such as architects, engineers, and contractors to ensure that all aspects of the project are carried out correctly within budget constraints. They also need to be aware of any changes to legislation or regulations that may affect costings or delivery timescales. A Quantity Surveyor needs strong analytical skills to accurately estimate material costs, labor costs, and equipment hire fees for each stage of a project.

Overview of a Quantity Surveyor’s Role

A Quantity Surveyor is a specialist professional who works with the construction industry to provide advice on matters related to cost management, contractual requirements, and contractual claims. The primary role of a Quantity Surveyor is to provide accurate estimates of construction costs and ensure that all financial aspects of a project are in line with the client's budget.

Quantity Surveyors also have the responsibility for advising on insurance issues, resolving disputes between parties involved in the construction process, and negotiating contracts. They must be aware of legal regulations pertaining to building contracts and are responsible for ensuring compliance with these regulations. Depending on their experience level, they may also act as arbitrators or mediators between parties during contract negotiations and disputes.

In addition, Quantity Surveyors may be requested to assist clients in making decisions regarding purchasing materials or equipment for their projects.

Qualifications and Training

It is an important profession that requires special qualifications and training. To become a professionally qualified quantity surveyor, individuals must successfully complete a degree in quantity surveying or construction economics at an accredited university. An individual may also qualify by completing a recognized professional diploma or certificate program in surveying or construction management.

Those who are interested in the profession should be prepared to undertake further specialist training to gain experience and knowledge of the industry. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) offers various courses and workshops for those seeking to become fully-qualified professionals. These programs can provide invaluable skills and experience which will help build confidence amongst employers when recruiting new staff members into their team.

Benefits of Working

A career in quantity surveying offers a number of benefits, from job security and stability to career growth potential. Professionals in this field are highly skilled and knowledgeable, making them well-equipped for success within the industry. Additionally, quantity surveyors enjoy work flexibility depending on the type of employer they work for.

The main benefit of working in this profession is job security. Due to their expertise and understanding of construction projects, quantity surveyors typically have secure positions that can be relied upon for long-term employment. Furthermore, there is potential for growth within the industry as professionals gain more experience working with larger companies or managing more complex projects. With the right qualifications and experience, quantity surveyors can move up quickly within their profession or even switch employers or specializations if they so choose.

Challenges in the Profession

The quantity surveying profession can be challenging in a number of ways. The size and complexity of many construction projects make it difficult for quantity surveyors to monitor costs effectively. They often have to juggle multiple budgets and timelines, while ensuring that all stakeholders are informed about any changes. Additionally, they need to remain up-to-date with industry trends and regulations, as these can significantly impact project costs and schedules.

Secondly, there is a degree of unpredictability present in any construction project due to the ever-changing nature of market prices, material availability, and labor supply. Quantity surveyors must therefore be able to identify potential risks early on so that suitable contingency plans can be put in place before problems arise. This requires strong problem-solving skills as well as an ability to think quickly when faced with unexpected issues on the job site.

Technology in the Profession

In the world of quantity surveying, technology plays an increasingly important role. With advancements in computer-aided design (CAD) software, 3D modeling, and cloud computing, quantity surveyors are able to quickly and accurately measure quantities that would have otherwise been impossible or too time-consuming. Not only does this allow for faster project completion times, but it also allows for increased accuracy in cost estimation and project management.

Another major role of technology in quantity surveying is data collection and analysis. By using various online databases and platforms, surveyors can easily access data about construction costs, which can then be used to make informed decisions on their projects. Furthermore, advanced analytics allows them to quickly identify any potential problems with a project before they become too expensive or complex to solve.

Pros & Cons

Quantity surveying is a profession that offers many benefits, but it also has some potential drawbacks. On the plus side, quantity surveyors are in high demand and can have varied and interesting careers. They can work in both the public and private sectors, with opportunities to gain experience in various types of projects, ranging from residential buildings to large-scale infrastructure developments. Additionally, they earn competitive salaries and enjoy attractive job security due to their unique skillet.

However, quantity surveying is also a challenging profession that requires complex problem-solving as well as strong interpersonal communication skills. It involves long hours of hard work in order to be successful, which can be difficult for those who are not used to working such long days.


It is a highly respected and rewarding profession. Furthermore, it requires knowledge of both construction and financial management, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with a variety of stakeholders. The profession offers job security, stability and great earning potential for those who are willing to work hard and invest in their professional development. The ever-changing landscape of construction requires that quantity surveyors remain up-to-date on the latest technologies, processes, and regulations.


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