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.

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:

  • 2 – 3 A levels or equivalent (undergraduate course)
  • A first degree in any subject (postgraduate course).

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 as a quantity surveyor. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

 

Skills

Additional skills which may benefit anyone looking to become a quantity surveyor include:

  • Strong maths knowledge
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Understanding of engineering science and technology
  • Knowledge of building and construction
  • Ability to use your initiative.

What does a quantity surveyor do?

As a quantity surveyor, you will be responsible for helping to estimate costs, quantities, and project timelines and providing this information to clients. You will be liaising

with a variety of other teams and helping to keep a project on track.

The job role of a quantity surveyor involves the following duties:

  • 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.