Quantity Surveyor

What is a Quantity Surveyor?

A Quantity Surveyor is a professional responsible for managing the financial aspects of construction and infrastructure projects. They play a crucial role in ensuring that projects are completed within budget and on schedule. In this guide, we’ll explore what Quantity Surveyors do, how to become one, potential earnings, career prospects, and related opportunities in the United Kingdom.

What Does a Quantity Surveyor Do?

Quantity Surveyors have a diverse set of responsibilities, including:

Cost Management

  • Calculating and estimating project costs, including materials, labour, and equipment.
  • Preparing budgets and cost plans to ensure that projects stay within budget constraints.

Contract Management

  • Issuing contracts to contractors and subcontractors.
  • Negotiating contract terms and conditions, including payment schedules and penalties for delays.
  • Managing contracts throughout the project lifecycle.

Project Management

  • Overseeing project progress to ensure that work is completed on time and according to specifications.
  • Managing subcontractors and suppliers, including arranging payments.


  • Ensuring that projects adhere to building regulations, quality standards, and health and safety requirements.
  • Conducting risk assessments and implementing risk management strategies.

Quantity Surveyors work on a wide range of projects, from residential developments to hospitals and sports stadiums. They must have a deep understanding of building regulations to ensure that projects meet the required standards of quality and safety.

How to Become a Quantity Surveyor

Becoming a Quantity Surveyor involves a combination of education, training, and practical experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to pursue a career as a Quantity Surveyor:

Entry Requirements

  • To embark on this career, you typically need a degree or professional qualification accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). However, if you have a non-accredited degree or wish to study a subject other than quantity surveying, you can opt for a one-year postgraduate conversion course recognized by RICS.
  • Relevant first-degree subjects may include geography, mathematics, urban and land studies, economics, construction, civil and structural engineering. Entry to a degree program usually requires a minimum of 2 A levels/3 H grades and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (C or above, or 4 or above in England).
  • An HND in a related subject can also be valuable and may lead to employment as a surveying technician. Subsequently, you can progress to the level of a Quantity Surveyor by studying for RICS-recognized qualifications, either part-time or via distance learning.

Professional Memberships

  • Once employed, you should work toward obtaining membership in either the RICS or the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) to become a fully qualified chartered surveyor.
  • Achieving chartered status typically involves completing a 2-year training program known as the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). To qualify, you must have an accredited RICS degree, 2 years of work experience, and successfully pass an interview with assessors.

Working Conditions

Quantity Surveyors work in various settings, which can include office-based work or on-site projects. They may also attend client meetings and visit project sites. The nature of the job may require occasional weekend work and longer-than-average working hours, including early starts and late evenings.

Quantity Surveyor Salary

The salary of a Quantity Surveyor can vary based on factors such as experience, qualifications, and location. Here’s a general salary range for Quantity Surveyors:

  • Newly qualified Quantity Surveyors can earn approximately £20,000 to £30,000 per year.
  • Experienced Quantity Surveyors with several years in the field can expect salaries ranging from £30,000 to £45,000 annually.
  • Senior Quantity Surveyors can earn between £45,000 and £65,000 or even more. Partners in private firms may earn considerably higher incomes.
  • With chartered status, additional responsibilities, or further qualifications, earnings can significantly increase.

Benefits may include shift and site allowances, pension schemes, healthcare packages, and company cars.

Career Prospects and Progression

Quantity Surveyors have various career opportunities and avenues for specialization:

  • Career opportunities can be found in local authorities, government departments, private practices, building contractors, property companies, and commercial organizations, both in the UK and abroad.
  • With experience, Quantity Surveyors can take on comprehensive project management roles, overseeing projects from conception to completion.
  • Specialization areas may include value engineering, risk assessment, capital allowances, or supply chain management.
  • Some Quantity Surveyors choose to become self-employed and manage their own businesses.
  • There’s a natural progression path from quantity surveying to commercial management, and gaining chartered status can enhance career prospects.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Working as a Quantity Surveyor offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages:


  • The job is varied, involving work on numerous projects and collaboration with a range of people.
  • There are ample opportunities for career progression and specialization.


  • The job often involves longer-than-average working hours, with occasional weekend work.
  • The nature of the work may require flexibility in terms of schedule and location.

Related Opportunities

If you have an interest in the construction and building services industry, you might explore related career opportunities:

  • Civil Engineer: Specializing in civil engineering projects such as infrastructure, bridges, and roads.
  • Insurance Risk Surveyor: Focusing on assessing risks associated with insurance policies, especially in the construction sector.
  • Town Planner: Engaging in urban and regional planning, ensuring land use and development compliance with regulations.

Further Information

For additional resources and information on pursuing a career as a Quantity Surveyor, you can visit the following organizations:

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