Are you working in quality surveying or project management? Are you looking for cost estimation services on your commercial space and Residential construction projects?
Do you want to progress and develop your quality surveying career? Do you want to begin your career as a quantity surveyor or project manager? We have come up with the answer to all the questions related to quantity surveying in the UK. We have interviewed many highly successful quantity surveyors who have experience of more than 40 years. We will advise you on how to up-skill, future proof, and stay forward of the competition to secure you begin a fulfilling quantity surveying professional.
History of Quantity Surveying
The quantity surveying emerged in England. It began in the initial years of the nineteenth century. But before that, the firm of Henry Cooper and Sons of Reading was founded in 1785. Earlier to the first registered usage of the term “quantity surveyor” in 1859. the terms such as “measurer,” “custom surveyor,” or “surveyor” were taken in use.
In the early days, the quantity surveyor used to work for the master tradesmen. They used to measure the work after finish and often present partisan Final Accounts to the building landlord. From a direct effect of these movements, it frequently became the work of building owners to have the job done under the agreement and to ask for tenders before any work beginning of any work.
A method was developed on how building masters would propose an architect to create a structure. Drawings and specifications were issued to chosen master builders, who would then present tenders for the total cost rather than a number of prices from master tradesmen.
The job of coming at an exact measure of cost can be taken out in only one way. That of measuring the quantities of all supplies and labor required to complete the work, for instance. Making bills of quantities.
As each builder had to make his statements of quantities for each project, they understood that it would be more efficient for them as a group to use one surveyor to measure quantities for all of them. They would, therefore, share the expense of the surveyor, get an equal Bill of Quantities, which assured that they would all be tendering on a related basis.
The owner of the building afterward recognized that it would be to his advantage to elect and pay the quantity surveyor. Therefore, the independent professional quantity surveyor obtained consultant rank.
What is a Quantity Surveyor?
A quantity surveyors are well qualified and skilled professionals in the construction industry. They contain expert information on construction costs and contracts. In the UK, Qualified quantity surveyors are known as Charted surveyors. In various countries such as Canada, South Africa, and Mauritius, Qualified Quantity surveyors are known as professional Quantity surveyors. They are little protected by law.
Quantity surveyors are responsible for controlling all the factors such as contractual and economic sides of development schemes. Their main responsibility is to make sure that the construction plans are finished within its proposed budget. They can also be hired by contractors to support the value of the construction projects for the contractor. The quantity surveyors also help the contractor with bidding, project budgeting, and submission of the bill to the customers.
The duties of a quantity surveyor include cost calculation, cost preparation, cost management, tender management, preparation of bills of quantities, agreement, conditions and assembly of tender reports, contract supervision and contractual information, estimation of development work, and requirements and dispute management.
Responsibilities of a Quantity Surveyor
The work of a quantity surveyor evolves around land management, property, and construction industries. They are responsible for calculating and managing the costs related to the projects. They help in creating primary estimates to finalizing the total budget elements.
The quantity surveyors are always involved at the beginning of the projects. The contractor hires them to look at the utility of the purposed construction or improvement applications. Quantity surveyors operate as superintendents during the initial expenditure stage of construction. It means they are connected, every time on the place, through to the fulfillment of construction.
The quantity surveyors always keep an eye on the forecasted and actual costs. Apart from that, they make decisions quickly to the problem and modify the specifications. They need to do that with upgraded costing and feasibility reviews.
The duties of quantity surveyor may vary from day today. One day you find yourself at the office, another day you have to go to the construction site. Two projects will not be the same, and that is a great deal to handle each project effectively. It is a good profession for a person who does not like routine.
Quantity surveyors have to prepare tender and contract reports. They have to carry out a cost analysis and need to monitor cost variations. A quantity surveyor has to write reports and finding out the requirements of clients. Site visits play a significant role in the job, where they need to make assessments on financial projections for future work.
Qualifications to become a quantity surveyor
A professional qualification or degree accredited by the Royal Institute for charted service is required to become a quantity surveyor. Below mentioned degrees are considered most relevant to the role of a quantity surveyor.
- Civil engineering
- Structural engineering
It is possible to enter in a quantity surveyor profession without the degree or non-relevant degree. For those without a degree or HND, any employers may be qualified to fund a part-time degree top-up course. For those with a non-relevant degree will require to take an RICS recognized postgraduate conversion course.
A certain amount of skills are also required if you want to pursue quantity surveying in the future. The skills and qualities are preferable such as Methodical way of thinking, Good knowledge of architecture, Excellent problem-solving skills, Good economic and numeracy management skills, Outstanding conversation and negotiating skills, the ability to understand the complex report and assess requirements quickly, Computer literate, and a clear perception of HSE building laws and legal guidelines.
How to become a quantity surveyor?
Many quantity surveyors are university graduates. They also have specific degrees in the field that are accredited by the Royal Institution of Charted Service (RICS). You can also do a degree in different subjects or areas. After that, you have to undertake an RICS accredited post-graduation conversion course. It does not matter which degree you contain, but civil engineering, mathematics, and geography degree holders are more preferable.
Although you even do not need a degree to get into the profession. You can start with a technical surveyor without any degree. But, to achieve the role of a quantity surveyor, a professional degree is a must. It is also possible that you can study along with the work. In this case, your employer can do the funding for your course. Irrespective of your route, you have to study further and appear for the exams to become the quantity surveyor.
Am I suitable for the quantity surveyor job?
The quantity surveyor role needs an analytical mind with strong numerical and financial skills. If you have these qualities, then it could be the perfect job for you. The role needs to have managerial and leadership skills. The reason is quantity surveyors deal with suppliers and sub-contractors regularly. They need to do the meetings to complete the task. The role sometimes seems hectic because there are many parties involved with the project. That is why great negotiation and communication skills are required.
Apart from that, you should also have the ability to produce well-written reports and relate complex information to the clients. You should be able to operate software such as excel. It is a bonus if you have in-depth knowledge about the industry and passion for it. If you have a wider understanding of the industry and know how to overcome the issues, then quantity surveyor is the best job for you.
Career path in quantity surveyor?
Commonly, there are three major career paths in quantity surveying.
- Graduate or Junior Quantity Surveyor
- Quantity Surveyor or Senior Quantity Surveyor
- Managing Quantity Surveyor or Commercial Manager.
We have explained all three career paths in detail.
Graduate or Junior Quantity Surveyor:
As a junior quantity surveyor, you will get the opportunity to work on a variety of tasks on every project that you work on. The role will be dependent on the sector you choose. The nature of the project will matter too. Graduate or junior quantity surveyor job responsibilities include managing contracts and acquisition, cost forecasting, and monitoring value and loss.
Experience needed to be the Junior Quantity surveyor:
Certain degrees are accredited by RICS, so you don’t need to study quantity surveying before beginning the profession specifically. If you have completed other subjects, then you can do a postgraduate conversion course. This course is accredited by RICS.
It is not compulsory to complete the conversion course, but completing it certainly helps if you have a degree in a corresponding field. The corresponding field involves mathematics, civil or structural architecture, building or construction, finance, geography, or city and land studies. It is noticeable that some employers hire graduates who haven’t reached the accredited level. These employers support them to reach that level.
The salary you can expect as Junior Quantity surveyor:
Somewhere in between £20,000 – £30,000
Quantity Surveyor or Senior Quantity Surveyor:
Your next step will be to lose the title ‘Junior’ and Achieve ‘Senior’ title. Post becoming Quantity Surveyor, you are a fully-fledged and experienced quantity surveyor. Quantity Surveyors can work with freedom. They can also manage significant commercial works with minimal supervision. When you reach this position, you will be an expert in any specific sector. The sector could be any such as highways, construction, rail, or water. This role allows you to work with more value and experience to the organization you are working for.
Experience needed to be the Senior Quantity surveyor:
To achieve the title of a senior quantity surveyor, you need to have experience of 5 years or more as a junior quantity surveyor.
Growing as a chartered quantity surveyor is a great way to show your professional ability. It also helps you move up to the next level in your profession. Once you shift to chartered, you can see your salary increase by up to £6,000.
The salary you can expect as Senior Quantity surveyor:
Somewhere in between £30,000 – £55,000
Managing Quantity Surveyor or Commercial Manager
You can become a commercial manager after working as a senior quantity surveyor for a minimum of ten years. This role involves several responsibilities for the whole commercial projects. In this position, you will deal with the clients and customers. The deal could be about ensuring a positive relationship, and the project needs to be delivered on time within budget.
Experience needed to be the Managing Quantity surveyor
To reach the level of Managing quantity surveyor, mostly you need to have experience of more than ten years in a commercial role. You need to have a detailed knowledge of the field. You should be familiar with the projects and processes.
Apart from that, you need to have proven leadership abilities and have to be a strong communicator. Also, you should have a solid grip on delivering risky projects.
The salary you can expect as Managing Quantity surveyor:
Somewhere in-between £50,000 – £70,000.
Employers of quantity surveyors
The significant quantity of employers who hire quantity surveyors are as following:
- Industrial businesses
- General engineering consultancies and housing associations
- Huge global mechanical contractors
- Regional authorities and administration companies
- Private practice quantity surveyors (PQS)
- Petroleum engineering corporations
- Estate developers
The surveying divisions of the construction and civil engineering constructors. Many companies operate in a multidisciplinary space, so you will get a chance to work with professionals such as civil engineers and architects.
Professional Development in quantity surveying
When you complete your role as a trainee quantity surveyor, the next step is to become a fully qualified charted quantity surveyor. You need to obtain an RICS membership. To achieve this, you have to complete the RICS Assessment of professional competence (APC).
APC is a structured education plan that generally lasts around two years. You need to evidence your training in logbooks and reports and have frequent conferences with a superintendent. The program also includes a set number of hours of professional development. The process finishes with an assessment interview.
An essential phase of having professional competencies and practice standards is Continuing professional development (CPD).
RICS has built a lifelong learning program for registering any professional development. The method may involve open learning and private study. It also includes attending gatherings and events, conducting workshops, and additional research or in-house training. Improving and sustaining professional competencies during your career is essential for improvement.
How to encourage an employer to hire you through a quantity surveying course?
You need to put an excellent application and interview performance to get a place in the program.
First thing, you need to have good knowledge about what is day to day life of a quantity surveyor. Aspiring candidates should know the difference between contractors and consultants. You need to understand how the operation will differ when you work with large corporations and small firms.
Practice describing the motives for aspiring to become a surveyor. Ensure why you want to work with that organization. You need to think specifically about career goals rather than vague affirmations. Explain how a quantity surveying profession would fit in with your career aims.
Keep up to date knowledge with what is occurring within the construction industry. It will ensure that you have strong intentions to join the industry. Keep an eye on how developments in the broader economy, such as variations in law, can influence the construction business. Examine building and construction news, and the broadsheets, in print or online platform. Your careers service should have subscriptions to manage business news sites.
You can get experience before applying for a job. It will put some knowledge and value into you about the industry. It will give you some real-life skills. It might seem complicated for you to get hired by the big head companies. So you can try to gain more and more experience from small firms. You can create networks and contacts with quantity surveyor professionals. You can also volunteer for any construction site.
Be prepared about industry-related questions. You need to know recent happening in the construction industry. Also, you should have a general knowledge awareness because the recruiters want professionals of diverse backgrounds.
Top 10 Universities for Quantity Surveying in the UK
- University of Reading
- Heriot-Watt University
- Anglia Ruskin University
- Northumbria University, Newcastle
- Loughborough University
- Liverpool John Moores University
- University of Portsmouth
- University of Plymouth
- Aston University, Birmingham
- Coventry University
- Quantity Surveyor Jobs in London
There are tons of job opportunities in London. The reasons are high workloads and increasing levels of investments. The investments have been pumped in the UK’s infrastructure. Royal Institute of charted surveyors has done survey quoting; there is a rising workload in construction and infrastructure. 22% of respondents have seen a rise in workloads. Also, it is noticeable that the UK government has committed to deliver 3,00,000 new homes a year.
The demand for quantity surveyors is rising with several other factors. The factors include various large-scale infrastructure schemes such as HS2 and Thames Tideway underway. Apart from that, RICS stated that 64% of respondents indicated a shortage of quantity surveyors. That is one of the greatest results in delivering such schemes. It is a skilled short market and ramp-up inactivity. There have never been many opportunities to be taking the next step to up the quantity surveyor career and opening some of the best payrolls.
Quantity Surveyor Salary in the UK
The salaries of the quantity surveyor are between £20,000 to £30,000 at the initial stage. Eventually, when you label yourself as a charted, then there will be an increase in job and salary aspects.
The senior-level quantity surveyors would get salaries between £45,000 and £65,000.
Chief partners in Private firms may get more wages.
There could be some perks as well. You would often get shift and site allowances on the top of basic salaries. There will be other benefits, such as a car, pension, and healthcare. A local government job is more rewarding as compared to private firms. Usually, they provide a good pension. The company may not offer a car, but car mileage for site visits will be given.
Rewards are common if aims are met, and gains in salary can often be accomplished by gaining more skills and taking on extra duties.
Working hours of the Quantity surveyor
If you work as a constructor on-site, your working hours may be from 7.30 am to 6.00 pm, while in a private company or a regional government office, your hours may fit the more conventional 8.30 am to 5.30 pm. Sometimes weekend work may be needed.
TOP 10 Interview Questions for Quantity Surveyor Job Candidates
There are some questions for quantity surveyor candidates should look before going for an interview.
1. Why did you apply for this particular role with us?
2. What excites you more about our company?
3. Why are you moving from your current job?
4. What do you understand about property tax?
5. How much knowledge do you have regarding sophisticated engineering?
6. Where do you want to see yourself in the next 5 years in the field of quantity surveying?
7. What is your preference? Office or site based?
8. How broad is your experience with various types of contracts?
9. Describe your recent project?
10. How would you do study for professional qualifications while working?
How to stand out as Quantity Surveyor?
To stand out in a quantity surveyor or project management can be a tough task because workloads can fluctuate, and market conditions are unpredictable. As a quantity surveyor, you need to upgrade your skills regularly and keep yourself up to date with the requirements of the market and new upcoming technology.