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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.


Average salaries are in the region of £32,000.00 to £45,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

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.

What they do

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 and controls costs.

Typical duties include:

  • 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

Career development:

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. 

This is one of the jobs in the construction industry that is usually based in an office, which is sometimes on a construction site.

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 of Architecture and Surveying. 

To qualify for chartered status through RICS, you must complete the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) while you are working and have at least two years' work experience.  To apply for CIOB chartered status, you will need an accredited honours degree and two years' relevant work experience.

Your role as a quantity surveyor – as with all careers in construction – 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.

Hours & Salary:

  • 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 depend on location, employer and level of responsibility. Salaries and career options also improve with chartered status.


 

Get more information about the whole range of construction roles on offer with our Careers Explorer A-Z.

You can also take our Personality Quiz to find out which construction career is right for you.

Case Study

Laura - Quantity Surveyor|3:07
National Apprenticeship Week - Hannah|2:19

Laura Thorpe is a quantity surveyor with Seddon Construction.

How did you get started? 

I decided that I didn’t want to go straight to university. I wanted to embark on a career with training. I wanted to gain work experience as well as studying at college or university. I saw an advert for a trainee quantity surveyor with Seddon Construction and was lucky enough to get the position. They have offices all over the country. I’m based in the Bolton office, which covers the North West.

What new skills do you have?

One of the skills I’ve developed since starting as a quantity surveyor is working as part of a team. You have to work closely with the site manager and also the contracts manager who is responsible for the whole project. You do have to talk to each other and if anything changes on the project make sure your colleagues are kept in the loop.

Proudest career moment?

Probably achieving my degree. I had to do it over five years part-time as I was working at the same time. I used to do a full day at work, 8.30 to 4.30 and then go home, get my coursework out and start writing an essay or doing drawings. So my degree is my greatest achievement.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

There is definitely a positive about being able to learn and also bring home a wage. All my friends were at university. They were living away and having the time of their life but they were all skint! They had no money whereas I was working. I was also studying for a degree, which my company provided, and I got a wage at the same time. I earned money so I was able to go out and enjoy myself and not be poor like my friends.

What’s it like being a woman in construction?

Being a female construction worker is generally perfectly fine. People have this misconception that it’s a man’s world – which it is to a certain extent, but women fit in fine. You find that more and more women are choosing to take up construction careers and construction apprenticeships, which is definitely a good thing.

Any advice about how to get into construction?

I would definitely tell people to do it! It’s a great industry to be in. There are so many different types of construction jobs. There are trades such as bricklayer, plasterer or joiner, or the professional side such as being a quantity surveyor or architect. Every day is different. You’re meeting lots of different people. To see a project coming to an end once you’ve completed it is very rewarding.

Where next for your career?

The career progression in my job would be to develop more skills as a quantity surveyor and eventually go on to be a managing surveyor or a chief surveyor, and in time to become a surveying director.

Find out which of the many careers in construction is right for you by taking our Personality Quiz

Qualifications & Training

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

You can follow this with a degree accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). This improves your chances of getting a job after your studies.

Other useful first degree subjects include geography, maths, economics, urban and land studies, building or construction, civil or structural engineering. It’s possible to do an accredited masters degree and some construction companies and construction agencies may allow you to do your post-graduate qualification on the job.  If you have a non-relevant degree you must take an RICS-recognised post-graduate conversion course.

If you have an HND or HNC you can register as a technical surveyor and top up your qualification following a RICS-recognised distance-learning course or part-time/day-release degree.

If you have vocational experience and qualifications you can do the RICS Associate qualification. This recognises your experience and work-based assessment evidence is logged online. You need to demonstrate certain technical competencies relevant to your specialism, in addition to soft skills.

Entry without a degree or HND is sometimes possible by working your way up through the industry. Some employers may be willing to fund a part-time degree or top-up courses, while others prefer graduates.

Chartership

To qualify for chartered status through RICS, you must complete the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) while you are working and have at least two years' work experience.  

To apply for CIOB chartered status, you will need an accredited honours degree and two years' relevant work experience.

Becoming chartered means you have proved that you are highly experienced and skilled at doing your job. It is comparable to a bachelor’s degree and is recognised all over the world. Becoming chartered can enhance your career, increase your salary and boosts the professionalism of your organisation.

There are many routes to becoming chartered.  Whether you’re a graduate, have technical or vocational qualifications or have simply built up years of experience, you can choose the path that best suits you.

You can achieve chartership through the relevant professional institution for the construction career you are following, however a full range of construction management jobs in construction can gain chartered status. This includes specialists like surveyors, architects, design engineers, sustainability consultants and health and safety professionals.

For further information see the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website.

Learn more about construction jobs – and some of the misconceptions surrounding them – with our Mythbuster

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The number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary daily, as these are external websites. Check regularly to see new opportunities as they are posted.

Career trends and forecasts

4210 additional staff needed

According to the latest Construction Skills Network research, the UK construction industry will need an additional 4210 surveyors (which includes quantity surveyors) every year between 2017 - 2021.  The highest demand will be in the South East followed by West Midlands, Wales, North East and North West.

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Find out more about other roles in the construction industry and what they involve.

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