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Quantity surveyor

Cost manager, cost consultant

Quantity surveyors estimate and control costs for large construction projects. They make sure that structures meet legal and quality standards. Quantity surveyors are involved at every stage of a project. Whether they’re working on residential, commercial or industrial projects, clients rely on them to ensure that the final outcome is value for money.

Average salary*

£25000

-

£65000

Typical hours per week

37-40

How to become a quantity surveyor

There are several routes to becoming a quantity surveyor. You can gain the qualifications you need by doing a university course or an apprenticeship. If you already have relevant experience you may be able to apply directly to an employer or train on the job. You should explore the options to find out which is the right one for you.  

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

University/graduate training scheme

You could complete an undergraduate degree in quantity surveying or another relevant subject, such as:

  • Construction
  • Structural engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Maths
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Urban or land studies.

If you already hold an unrelated first degree you could complete a postgraduate conversion course. This should be accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

You could gain a postgraduate surveying qualification via a graduate trainee scheme with a construction or surveying company. The University College of Estate Management offers postgraduate distance learning courses.

You’ll need:

Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship with a construction firm is a good way into the industry. Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

A surveying technician advanced apprenticeship would start you on your career path as a quantity surveyor.

You’ll need:

  • 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths (advanced apprenticeship)
  • 4 - 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels (or equivalent) (degree apprenticeship).

Work

If you have relevant experience in a related area of work, such as accountancy, you may be able to study part-time to become a quantity surveyor.

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works in construction. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV. 


What does a quanitiy surveyor do?

As a quantity surveyor you could be:

  • Liaising with clients to identify their needs
  • Estimating quantities, costs and time scales for material and labour
  • Preparing tender and contract documents
  • Identifying and weighing up commercial risks
  • Assigning work to subcontractors
  • Valuing completed work, managing budgets and overseeing payments
  • Ensuring projects meet legal and quality standards
  • Ensuring that clients get value for their money
  • Advising on the maintenance costs of specific buildings
  • Submitting regular budget reports
  • Following building regulations and health and safety
  • Working at a client’s business, in an office or on a construction site.


How much could you earn as a quantity surveyor?

  • Newly trained quantity surveyors can earn in the region of £25,000 - £35,000
  • Trained with experience quantity surveyors can earn in the region of £35,000 - £45,000
  • Senior or chartered quantity surveyors can earn in the region of £45,000 - £65,000*

Hours and salaries depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do. Salaries and career options also improve with chartered status.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Jobs

Check out the latest quantity surveyor vacancies:

 As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

As a trainee, assistant or junior quantity surveyor, you could work towards chartered status. This would widen your career options and help you earn a higher salary. 

To qualify for chartered quantity surveyor status, you will need at least two years’ relevant work experience. You could complete the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). Alternatively, if you have an accredited honours degree, you could go through the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

With time, you could become a senior quantity surveyor, project manager, contracts or commercial manager. Many surveyors specialise in one area such as planning, contracts, mechanical or electrical projects, or risk assessments. 

You could join an independent surveying practice or become a freelance consultant. Some quantity surveyors teach at universities or colleges.


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