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Job Photographs

  • A man is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Using a computer is a big part of the work done by quantity surveyors. Here the surveyor is writing up a report.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, drawing on a sheet of paper, using a ruler.

    As well as computer-based work, quantity surveyors also need to look at things such as, the architect's plan for the building project.

  • Two men are standing at a desk, in an office.  They are looking at a large sheet of paper.

    Here, the architect and the quantity surveyor are discussing another current project.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, in an office.  He is speaking on a telephone.

    People and communication skills are needed in many areas of this type of work. Here, the quantity surveyor is discussing the progress of a current project with a client.

  • A man is standing next to a wall.  He is drawing on a wallchart.

    Quantity surveyors need to keep up to date with all the projects they're working on. Using a project timeline helps the surveyor see at what stage each project is at.

  • A man is standing in an office, looking at a folder full of paper documents.

    Knowledge of the issues that affect a construction project is needed in this job. Here, the surveyor is doing some background research on a health and safety issue.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, using a calculator and looking at various paper documents.

    Number skills are important in this career. This could be for assessing the bids for a new project from construction firms, or working out how much each stage of a project will cost.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, using a computer.

    Producing a more detailed breakdown of costs and quantities.

  • Quantity Surveyor

Quantity Surveyor

Introduction

Quantity surveyors work out the cost of building projects, taking into account labour, materials, taxes and maintenance costs.

The work can also include making sure that jobs are completed on time, co-ordinating all the people involved and acting as a link with the client.

Also known as

  • Surveyor, Quantity
  • Project Quantity Surveyor
  • Managing Quantity Surveyor
  • Construction Cost Consultant

Video: - Mark: Quantity Surveyor

Video: - Rhona: Trainee Quantity Surveyor

Video: - Partner : Sam

Video: - Donny: Equity Partner

Work Activities

As a Quantity Surveyor, you will use an Architect's or Civil Engineer's design to work out the cost of constructing buildings ranging from hospitals, schools and prisons to factories, docks and airports.

Quantity Surveyors have to consider the cost of things like labour, materials, taxes, and the likely maintenance costs. You are always trying to achieve best value from contractors and suppliers.

Private practice and central and local government Quantity Surveyors are usually office-based and work from a fixed location.

You use Architect's plans to make an initial estimate of the cost of a project. You then produce a more detailed breakdown of costs and quantities known as the Bill of Quantities. You send this to Building Contractors so they can work out their bids for the project.

Finally, you assess the bids they receive so that you and the client can decide who to give the project to. Local and Central Government Quantity Surveyors also control spending for ongoing programmes, making the best use of budgets and balancing maintenance against new construction work.

Commercial Quantity Surveyors are employed by Building and Civil Engineering contractors. You prepare bids for construction work, and make sure that work is completed on time, to the required standard. You assess the effect of any changes to the project or disruption in work and discuss it with the client's Quantity Surveyor.

Commercial Quantity Surveyors are usually based on construction sites and may need to move around the country for projects.

Many safety regulations apply to the construction industry. For example, a hard hat must be worn on construction sites.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Quantity Surveyor, you'll need:

  • a good standard of numeracy
  • IT skills
  • to be able to interpret technical drawings and architects' plans
  • report-writing skills
  • the confidence to negotiate and the initiative to make your own decisions

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £28,500 - £34,500
  • With experience: £38,500 - £45,500
  • Senior Quantity Surveyors earn £48,500 - £55,000

Hours of work

Most work around 35-40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, you may have early starts and late finishes, and you may need to work some weekends.

Where could I work?

Employers include:

  • central and local government
  • construction and property companies
  • specialist surveying companies
  • industrial and commercial organisations

Opportunities for Quantity Surveyors occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for Quantity Surveyors to work as independent consultants or in a private practice.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.

GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:

www.greenjobs.co.uk/browse-jobs/quantity-surveyor/

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

The most direct route into this career is to study an accredited degree in quantity surveying, or a closely-related subject. The most widely recognised qualifications are offered by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES).

You don't always need a degree related to surveying to become a Quantity Surveyor. Degrees in other subjects will often be acceptable. People with communication and business skills are highly sought after by this profession.

There are a small number of HNCs and HNDs available in the UK in subjects related to surveying. These courses can be used as routes into full degrees, or possibly into a junior-level position within a company/organisation.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

It may also be possible to go into this career straight from school and study while in a job.

Some people enter this career from an Advanced, Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

You need a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card to work on site. These cards show that you are qualified to do the work you've been employed for.

CSCS cards will cost £36 and you will have to pass the appropriate Construction Industry Training Board health, safety and environmental test. This costs £21. You will then complete an application form and pay the total price of £57.

The CSCS application form has four sections that you will have to complete:

  • section A: This section is where you complete your personal details and attach a passport photo or your Health, Safety & Environment Test photo
  • section B: This is where you fill in your occupation details and state which card you need. The different cards are skilled, craft and operative cards.
  • section C: This a declaration section where your current employer, previous employer or a CSCS card holder will declare that you meet the requirements of the card
  • section D: This is the details of your card requirements and what evidence you need to get a CSCS card

Work Experience

Previous experience working in a planning or contruction position would be really useful for you to become a Quantity Surveyor.

Training

Following the education stage, you will receive training on-the-job. To become a fully qualified member of the RICS, you'll need to undertake at least two years' structured learning whilst in employment. Full members of the RICS are given chartered status. This is the highest level of competence in a profession.

There are a number of postgraduate courses related to surveying available in the UK.

Progression

Experienced Quantity Surveyors can move into senior roles, such as Chief Quantity Surveyor. Some Quantity Surveyors become self-employed.

Qualifications

To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A*-C (9-4), including English and maths, and possibly two A Levels.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

To enter a suitable accredited degree course in Quantity Surveying, you will usually need:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths

Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:

  • BTEC level 3 qualification
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, entry requirements for different courses vary, so check university prospectuses for more details.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Successful late entrants often have relevant skills gained at technician level. For example, you can progress as a technical member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

A background in planning or construction is also useful.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

If you are a graduate without an accredited degree, you can take a two-year postgraduate conversion course in surveying. Preference may be given to those with a related degree subject such as construction or building.

The College of Estate Management offers a degree in Quantity Surveying, by distance learning.

Sponsorship for study at higher education level is available from the larger construction companies.

Some people enter this career via a Surveying Advanced Level Apprenticeship. This can lead to assistant quantity surveyor roles.

Statistics

  • 16% of quantity surveyors are self-employed.
  • 12% work part-time.
  • 5% have flexible hours.
  • 3% of employees work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Professional institutionsProfessional institutions have the following roles:

  • To support their members.
  • To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.

The main ones for this career are the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Building.

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

LGjobs

Local government vacancies

Website: www.lgjobs.com

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies

Scottish enquiries

Email: myjobscotland@cosla.gov.uk

Website: www.myjobscotland.gov.uk

Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)

Address: Englemere, Kings Ride, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7TB

Tel: 01344 630700

Email: reception@ciob.org.uk

Website: www.ciob.org.uk

CITB-ConstructionSkills

Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Website: www.cskills.org

National Heritage Training Group (NHTG)

Address: Carthusian Court, 12 Carthusian Street, London EC1M 6EZ

Tel: 01342 326171

Email: rayrobertson@nhtgskills.org

Website: www.nhtg.org.uk

CITB NI

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

bConstructive

Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010

Email: myapprenticeship@citb.co.uk

Website: www.bconstructive.co.uk

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Address: RICS HQ, Parliament Square, London SW1P 3AD

Tel: 0870 3331600

Email: contactrics@rics.org

Website: www.rics.org

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Scotland

Scottish enquiries

Address: 9 Manor Place, Edinburgh EH3 7DN

Tel: 0131 2257078

Email: scotland@rics.org

Website: www.rics.org

Chartered Surveyors Training Trust (CSTT)

Address: 6-8 Gunnery Terrace, The Royal Arsenal, London SE18 6SW

Tel: 020 7871 0454

Email: info@cstt.org.uk

Website: www.cstt.org.uk

University College of Estate Management (UCEM)

Address: Whiteknights, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AW

Tel: 0800 0199697

Email: courses@cem.ac.uk

Website: www.cem.ac.uk

Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES)

Address: Dominion House, Sibson Road, Sale, Cheshire M33 7PP

Tel: 0161 9723100

Email: education@cices.org

Website: www.cices.org

Surveying Your Future?

Publisher: Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES)

Website: www.cices.org/pdf/Careers%20Leaflet%202010.pdf

QSi for Quantity Surveyors

Website: www.theqsi.co.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Become a Surveyor

The Survey Association

Website: www.becomeasurveyor.com

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

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