Quantity surveyors are responsible for all building and civil engineering project expenses, from preliminary estimates to final figures.
Your aim as a quantity surveyor will be to lower the cost and risk of a construction project while keeping the necessary legal standards and quality. This entails making sure that all statutory construction standards are observed.
You will create work estimates and expenditures, keep track of any contract changes affecting costs, and give reports demonstrating profitability while the project is in progress.
Whether you work for the client or the contractor, in an office or on the construction site, you will be involved at every stage of the project. Commercial, industrial, and residential constructions are examples of construction projects.
Alternative job titles include construction cost consultant, cost manager, and commercial manager.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- find out a client’s needs and assess if the plans are feasible
- work out quantities and costs of materials, time and labour for tenders
- negotiate contracts and work schedules
- advise on legal matters, including risks and disputes
- monitor sub-contractors and stages of construction
- report on costs and prepare accounts for payment
- keep up to date with construction methods and materials
- follow health and safety and building regulations.
- Salaries for apprentices range from £21,000 to around £28,000, depending on your experience.
- Newly trained chartered surveyors can earn around £25,000 to £35,000.
- With experience, you can earn around £35,000 to £55,000.
- Salaries at management level range from around £50,000 to in excess of £80,000.
Working hours range from 37 to 40 hours a week, with some weekends required.
Whether you work for a consultant (private practice) or a local government agency, you’ll most likely have a standard office working week.
Working on-site for a contractor may need working longer hours and in shifts.
You could work at a client’s business or in an office.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Qualifications you can achieve as a quantity surveyor actuary include:
- Level 6 Construction Quantity Surveyor – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship. This qualification takes 36 months to complete.
On a quantity surveyor apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- maths knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- analytical thinking skills
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- persistence and determination
- knowledge of building and construction
- the ability to use your initiative
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently.
The major employers of quantity surveyors are:
- commercial businesses
- large engineering consultancies and housing associations
- large international mechanical contractors
- local authorities and government agencies
- the offices of private practice quantity surveyors (PQS)
- petroleum engineering companies – sometimes recruiting under the title ‘cost engineer’
- property firms and developers
- the surveying sections of building and civil engineering contractors.
A fully qualified chartered surveyor will be granted RICS membership (MRICS). You must first pass the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
APC is a structured training programme that usually lasts two years (unless you have significant previous work experience). You’ll need to maintain logbooks and records of your training, and you’ll need to meet with your manager regularly. In addition, the programme comprises a certain number of professional development hours and finishes with an assessment interview.
CPD (continuing professional development) is important in maintaining professional skills and practice standards. Each year, RICS members must do at least 20 hours of CPD, which may include a mix of professional courses, private study (of academic papers or industry publications), attending conferences and events, conducting workshops, and extra research or in-house training.
Professional qualities must be developed and maintained to grow in one’s career.
After becoming a certified quantity surveyor, you may work across many disciplines or specialise in one kind of infrastructure, such as road or bridge construction.
Another option is to specialise in a particular subject, such as civil engineering, capital allowances and taxes, supply chain management, planning, and legal services like contractual disputes.
With two to three years of extra experience, you may move to the position of senior surveyor, responsible for trainee and junior surveyors. After that, it is possible to progress into professions such as quantity surveyor manager, project manager, contracts manager, or commercial manager. These roles typically demand at least ten years of experience, leadership, and advanced communication and analytical skills.
Professionals with prior experience can migrate into freelance consultancy or self-employment. There are also some prospects for international employment.