Job Profile: Quantity Surveyor

We’re continuing our little feature of profiling some Construction job roles for you, ‘cos it’s pretty difficult to get yourself onto a building site to see what’s going off. Today, we’re looking at what on earth a Quantity Surveyor does…

Career Profile

A Quantity Surveyor works out exactly how much a building costs to construct and is in charge of keeping a close eye on finances from the first budget to the final bill. They have two very big jobs – to make sure a project meets every legal and quality standard and that the client gets value for their money.

This career suits people who are very good with figures and enjoy the challenge of “balancing the books” throughout complex processes.

The Quantity Surveyor is responsible for the important paperwork involved with the financial side of a project. He or she draws up bills, tenders and contracts, analyses risks, makes valuations, gives expert advice to clients, controls costs and helps to find

A trainee or graduate starting out in quantity surveying has a varied and interesting workload. It includes preparing tender and contract documents, working out the cost of repair and maintenance work, establishing exactly what a client wants, weighing up commercial risks, allocating work to subcontractors, valuing completed work and arranging payments.

The job is usually based in an office, which is sometimes on a construction site. When a trainee or graduate has some experience in the role he or she can help clients to get construction projects started, or advise on the maintenance costs of specific buildings.

Once you have several years of experience in the role, you can continue your development by working towards chartered status with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), or with the Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) Faculty for Architecture and Surveying.

Your role as a Quantity Surveyor will require you to continue to update your skills and increase your knowledge by continuous professional development (CPD). Construction is a fast changing industry with new methods and technology constantly emerging, particularly around the environment and “Green” agenda.

Development of the following experience and skills may assist you to become a senior quantity surveyor:

  • Experience of working within major contractors
  • Experience of working on project valued up to £15m
  • Minimum of 8 years post graduate experience as a Quantity Surveyor
  • In depth knowledge of framework contracts, NEC, JCT and D&B forms of contract
  • Proven ability to manage clients and build relationships with all parties

You may also want to undertake training in a specialist area related to the role, such as project management or accountancy, and look at qualifications such as a Diploma in Management or Post Graduate Degree in Management, such as a Masters Degree in Business Administration, to give you wider business skills that will improve your chances of progression to senior management roles.

  • Newly trained Quantity Surveyors can earn in the region of £22,000 – £37,000
  • Trained with experience Quantity Surveyors can earn in the region of £30,000 – £45,000
  • Senior or Chartered Quantity Surveyors can earn in the region of £42,000 – £66,000

Salaries typically range depending on location and level of responsibility.  Salaries and career options improve with Chartered status.


Quantity surveyors usually hold a relevant degree in Quantity Surveying, or follow a work-based route doing a Surveying Apprenticeships that can include:

  • A Level 3 National Vocational Qualification in Surveying, Property and Maintenance
  • A two-year period of structured, competency-based work experience
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment
  • NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations
  • A Diploma in Surveying Practice
  • The RICS Associate qualification
  • Paid employment
  • An apprenticeship qualification.

Will there be jobs?

According to the latest Construction Skills Network research, the UK construction industry will need an additional 980 Surveyors (which includes Quantity Surveyors) every year for the period 2016 – 2020.  The highest demand will be in the  East followed by West Midlands, Wales, North East and North West.

How’s that sounding to you? If it’s your kind of thing, then you now know what qualifications you need to get there. And what’s really great for you, is that we have those courses and Apprenticeships in Construction for you. Check them out here!


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