Quantity surveyors are responsible for managing all aspects of the contractual and financial side of construction projects.
Quantity surveyors manage the costs on a construction project. They help to ensure that the construction project is completed within its projected budget. Alternative job titles for a quantity surveyor include ‘cost consultant’, ‘commercial manager’, ‘cost manager’ and ‘cost engineer’.
The tasks quantity surveyors complete will differ according to whether they are working on the design or the construction stage of a project (and therefore whether they are working for a consultancy – which focuses on the design stage – or the contractor, who builds the project). Depending on the stage of the project and their employer, they might:
price/forecast the cost of the different materials needed for the project
prepare tender documents, contracts, budgets, bills of quantities and other documentation
track changes to the design and/or construction work and adjusting budget projections accordingly
procure or agree the services of contractors and/or subcontractors who work on the construction of the project
measure and value the work done on site
liaise with the client and other construction professionals, such as site managers, project managers and site engineers
select and/or source construction materials
There are routes into a career as a quantity surveyor for both university graduates and school leavers.
Key skills for chartered surveyors
A good working knowledge of MS Excel and the ability to learn how to use specialist software
Excellent relationship-building and interpersonal skills
The ability to negotiate
Attention to detail and a methodical approach to work
The main employers for quantity surveyors are:
specialist cost management/quantity surveying consultancies working within the construction industry
construction and engineering companies (consultants and contractors)
However, quantity surveyors may also find a few vacancies with these types of employers:
property firms and property developers
infrastructure and utility companies, eg Network Rail and Scottish Water
public sector organisations
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