How to Become a Quantity Surveyor

Approximately £50,000 – £60,000 per annum is the quantity surveyor salary in the UK. If you have an aptitude for mathematics, a keen eye for detail, and a passion for construction and real estate, a career as a quantity surveyor might be the perfect fit for you. Quantity surveyors play a crucial role in the construction industry, managing costs and ensuring projects are completed on time and within budget.  Now, you may be wondering what quantity surveying is, who is a quantity surveyor, how to become a quantity surveyor, what does a quantity surveyor do, etc. 

No need to be worried about. In this article, we’re going to cover all you need to know to become a quantity surveyor. So, let’s start our learning journey.

Quantity Surveyor

A quantity surveyor, often referred to as a QS, is a professional specialised in the financial and contractual aspects of construction projects. They work with developers, contractors, and clients to manage costs, budgets, and contracts throughout a project’s lifecycle. Their responsibilities include cost estimation, project budgeting, cost control, and financial reporting.


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Importance of Quantity Surveying

Quantity surveying is a field of utmost significance within the construction industry, playing a critical role in the successful planning, execution, and management of construction projects. Its importance can hardly be overstated, as it influences various aspects of construction, from cost control to legal compliance and from efficient resource management to risk mitigation. Here are the key reasons highlighting the importance of quantity surveying:


  1. Cost Estimation and Control: Quantity surveyors are responsible for accurate cost estimation, budgeting, and financial management of construction projects. They ensure that projects are completed within budget, preventing cost overruns and financial strain.

  2. Financial Planning: They aid in securing project funding and in making vital financial arrangements before the commencement of the project, enabling effective resource allocation and investment. In Studyhub we have a course titled Financial Analysis Method for providing the learners with the necessary insights and information on Finance.

  3. Risk Management: Quantity surveyors identify potential risks in a project, whether they be financial, contractual, or logistical, and develop strategies to mitigate them. This proactive approach minimises unexpected disruptions and costs. We also have a course developed by the industry experts in Risk Management.

  4. Contractual Expertise: They are well-versed in construction contracts, which are intricate legal documents. Quantity surveyors analyze and manage these contracts, ensuring that all parties involved adhere to the agreed terms and conditions.

  5. Quality Control: While primarily focused on costs, quantity surveyors also play a role in maintaining the quality of work by monitoring expenses and ensuring that the budget is allocated wisely, preventing shortcuts that may compromise the project’s quality.

  6. Resource Management: They manage resources efficiently, from labour and materials to equipment and machinery, ensuring that everything is utilized optimally to keep the project on track.

  7. Cost Transparency: Quantity surveyors provide transparency in cost breakdowns, which is vital for both clients and contractors. This transparency helps in decision-making and accountability.

  8. Tendering and Procurement: They are involved in the preparation of tender documents, procurement processes, and the negotiation of contracts. This ensures that construction projects are executed with the right suppliers at the right price. You can check our exclusive course titled Procurement, Logistics and Quality Management.

  9. Dispute Resolution: Quantity surveyors are often called upon to resolve disputes related to costs, variations, or contractual issues. Their expertise can prevent lengthy and costly legal battles. In Studyhub, we also have a fantastic course developed by the experts of the industries on Dispute Resolution.

  10. Sustainability and Value Engineering: They promote sustainable construction practices and value engineering, which seek to maximise the value of the project while minimising costs and environmental impact.

  11. Insurance and Reinstatement: Quantity surveyors assist in determining reinstatement costs for insurance purposes, ensuring that properties are adequately insured and that claims are fair and accurate.

  12. Project Longevity: By effectively managing costs, quality, and resources, quantity surveyors contribute to the longevity of construction projects, ensuring they remain financially viable and structurally sound over time.


In conclusion, quantity surveying is an essential discipline in the construction industry, facilitating the successful completion of projects within budget, on schedule, and to the highest quality standards. Their expertise in cost estimation, financial planning, risk management, and contractual matters ensures that construction projects are not only completed efficiently but also with minimised financial, legal, and operational challenges, making them an integral part of the construction process.

Responsibilities of a Quantity Surveyor: 

The primary responsibility of a quantity surveyor is to assess the quantities, measurements, material costs, labour expenses, and machinery requirements essential for the project’s successful execution. This analysis forms the foundation for determining the estimated expenses associated with a particular project, allowing for the crucial financial planning required prior to initiating the actual work. Here are a few core responsibilities of a quantity surveyor: 


  • Conducting financial feasibility studies to assess project viability.

  • Estimating, planning, and managing project costs.

  • Scrutinizing contract terms and conditions.

  • Identifying and mitigating potential project risks.

  • Forecasting material costs.

  • Crafting tender documents, contracts, and budgets.

  • Adapting budgets to accommodate changes.

  • Overseeing tender management, including bill of quantities and contract conditions.

  • Providing contractual advice and managing contracts.

  • Valuing construction work.

  • Handling claims and resolving disputes.

  • Conducting lifecycle cost analysis.

  • Assessing reinstatement costs for insurance purposes.

How to Become a Quantity Surveyor

  • Obtaining a bachelor’s degree: To pursue a career in quantity surveying, most employers seek candidates with a bachelor’s degree in quantity surveying, engineering, finance, or management. While completing your undergraduate degree, consider taking courses that are directly applicable to quantity surveying, such as mathematics, business management, or engineering fundamentals. Online resources and direct inquiries with colleges can help you identify programs related to quantity surveying.


  • Gaining experience: Upon graduating, several opportunities await aspiring quantity surveyors, including internships, apprenticeships, and entry-level positions. Each pathway offers unique advantages and provides hands-on experience in the field. Accumulating experience can open doors to career advancement, such as becoming a senior quantity surveyor while simultaneously honing your surveying skills. Here’s a glimpse into each novice position in quantity surveying


  • Apprenticeship: Apprenticeships are ideal for individuals seeking to gain hands-on experience and formal training under the guidance of experienced quantity surveyors. This immersive learning environment allows you to acquire the essential skills and techniques required to perform quantity surveying tasks effectively and efficiently.


  • Internship: Internships provide an excellent opportunity for individuals to gain hands-on experience and develop surveying skills under the guidance of experienced professionals. This supervised learning environment allows you to gain insights into the daily routines of quantity surveyors and the practical application of surveying principles. Internships are often temporary positions that may lead to full-time opportunities upon completion.


  • Entry-level job: These positions offer greater autonomy and independent work compared to internships and apprenticeships. Employers generally expect entry-level quantity surveyors to possess a foundational understanding of construction and surveying principles, allowing for more responsibility and decision-making within the role. This transition provides a stepping stone for individuals seeking to enhance their skills and gain hands-on experience in a more independent setting.

  • Considering professional certification: While not mandatory for entry-level positions, professional certifications can enhance your employability and demonstrate your commitment to the quantity surveying field. Employers often view certified individuals as highly skilled and knowledgeable, increasing your chances of securing desirable positions. Additionally, certifications provide access to valuable information regarding advancements in surveying techniques, industry trends, and best practices, keeping your skills up-to-date and relevant. The Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International (AACE International) offers several certifications that quantity surveyors can pursue, including:


  • Certified Cost Technician (CCP): This certification is designed for individuals with basic cost engineering knowledge. 

  • Certified Scheduling Technician (CST): This certification focuses on scheduling and planning for construction projects. 

  • Certified Cost Professional (CCP): This intermediate-level certification is intended for individuals with more experience in cost estimating and cost management. 

  • Certified Estimating Professional (CEP): This advanced certification is designed for experienced cost estimators who play a key role in project planning and budgeting. 

  • Earned Value Professional (EVP): This specialized certification focuses on earned value management, a technique used to assess project progress and identify potential risks or issues. 


Pursuing these certifications can provide you with a competitive edge in the job market and help you advance your career in quantity surveying.


  • Developing Soft Skills: In the competitive field of quantity surveying, technical skills are undoubtedly essential for success. However, soft skills, often referred to as people skills or interpersonal skills, are equally important for aspiring quantity surveyors to excel in their careers. These soft skills enable them to effectively communicate, collaborate, and navigate the dynamic construction industry.


  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Effective communication is paramount for quantity surveyors, who routinely interact with clients, contractors, architects, and other stakeholders. Strong oral and written communication skills enable them to clearly convey complex technical information, explain cost estimates and project plans, and resolve conflicts. Interpersonal skills, such as active listening, empathy, and adaptability, are crucial for building rapport with clients, fostering teamwork, and maintaining positive working relationships. Want to enhance your communication skills? Check out our Communication and Organisational Skills course.


  • Problem-Solving and Analytical Skills: Quantity surveyors are often tasked with identifying and resolving cost-related issues throughout the construction process. Strong problem-solving and analytical skills enable them to analyse complex financial data, identify cost discrepancies, and develop effective solutions. They should be able to think critically, evaluate different scenarios, and make informed decisions under pressure. Have a look at our Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Problem Solving course if you’re looking forward to boosting your problem solving skills.


  • Organisation and Time Management Skills: Quantity surveyors manage a multitude of tasks, from preparing cost estimates to monitoring project budgets. Strong organisational and time management skills are essential for juggling multiple deadlines, prioritising tasks, and ensuring projects stay on track. They should be able to maintain detailed records, set realistic goals, and adapt to changing project requirements. Master the time management skills with our Time Management course. 


  • Teamwork and Collaboration Skills: Quantity surveying is a collaborative endeavour, often involving a diverse team of professionals. Strong teamwork and collaboration skills enable quantity surveyors to work effectively with others, share expertise, and contribute to a cohesive project team. They should be able to compromise, resolve conflicts constructively, and recognise the contributions of others.


  • Adaptability and Continuous Learning Skills: The construction industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies, regulations, and best practices emerging regularly. Adaptability and continuous learning skills are crucial for quantity surveyors to stay up-to-date with industry trends, embrace new technologies, and adapt to changing project requirements. They should be open to new ideas, willing to learn from others, and actively seek out opportunities for professional development.


  • Network Building: Networking is crucial for quantity surveyors seeking to expand their professional opportunities and advance their careers. Engaging with other construction professionals can open doors to new job prospects, mentorship opportunities, and industry insights. Networking opportunities can arise during on-the-job experiences or through involvement in professional organisations, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). By building strong professional connections, quantity surveyors can stay abreast of industry trends, gain valuable knowledge, and enhance their career trajectories.


  • Crafting a Catchy Resume: As you gain experience and develop your skills, it’s essential that you keep your resume up-to-date to showcase your expertise to potential employers. Regularly review and update your resume to reflect your latest accomplishments, promotions, and acquired skills. Include detailed descriptions of your work experience, highlighting your contributions to projects and the impact you’ve made. Quantify your achievements whenever possible, using metrics and data to demonstrate your value. Additionally, list any relevant certifications or training programs you’ve completed, as these can further enhance your credibility. Remember, your resume is your first impression on potential employers, so make sure it is well-organized, error-free, and tailored to the specific position you are applying for. 


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So, from the discussion, if you are considering becoming a quantity surveyor, remember that success is not solely defined by technical proficiency. The ability to effectively communicate, collaborate, and adapt to the ever-changing construction landscape is equally important. 

Nurturing your soft skills alongside your technical expertise, you will be well-equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Embrace continuous learning, seek mentorship from experienced professionals, and actively participate in industry events to broaden your knowledge and network. With dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to excellence, you can establish yourself as a highly sought-after quantity surveyor, shaping the future of the construction industry.

November 9, 2023

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