Quantity Surveyor
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Practical or MechanicalAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

Quantity Surveyors estimate and monitor construction costs from the project feasibility stage, through tender preparation, to the construction period and beyond. Quantity surveyors assess the cost of materials and labour for all types of construction projects, administer construction contracts and manage costs. Future Growth Very StrongThey must understand all aspects of construction from the design stage through to the completed project and may contribute in settling financial or contractual disputes.

They may work on projects for all levels and types of construction. Projects may range from office blocks, schools, hospitals and factories to bridges, railways, oil and mining development, shipbuilding and large process engineering works such as oil refineries.

Areas of work include the private sector for consulting firms, the public sector for state or federal government departments, or with property development companies, building contractors and project financiers.

Alternative names: Construction Economist; Cost Estimator; Building Estimator; Construction Cost Consultant;

Knowledge, skills and attributes

To become a quantity surveyor, you would need:

  • excellent numerical skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • a high level of concentration for long periods
  • to be methodical and logical in your approach to work
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • IT skills
  • able to work independently or as part of a team.

 

Quantity Surveyor at work
(Source: e2studysolutions)

Duties and Tasks

As a quantity surveyor, you would:

  • meet with clients, contractors and vendors to gather information for estimates
  • use blueprints, plans, design specifications and other relevant documents as source information
  • ask for quotes from other contractors or vendors
  • confer with engineers, architects, owners, contractors and subcontractors on changes and adjustments to cost estimates
  • prepare estimation documents for use in the planning and scheduling of work - a 'Bill of Quantities', which lists the individual components required to construct a project
  • work with sales teams to prepare bids for work
  • manage and audit costs during ongoing contracts
  • recommend ways to reduce costs.
  • study architectural and engineering drawings and specifications to estimate total costs, and prepare detailed cost plans and estimates as tools to assist in budgetary control
  • monitor changes to designs, assess effects on cost, and measure, value and negotiate variations to designs.
  • prepare monthly cash-flow forecasts for clients and tax depreciation schedules
  • perform feasibility studies to assist with decisions about the worth of a project proceeding
  • serve as a consultant to business and government

Working conditions

As a quantity surveyor you would usually work a standard numbers of hours per week, with necessary overtime to meet deadlines. You would be based in an office but spend time undertaking site visits and meeting with construction and project managers, vendors or subcontractors.

Quantity surveyors usually work with other professionals such as architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers and accountants.


Tools and technologies

Quantity surveyors cross-check designs against planned expenses and monitor the progress of the project. They use techniques such as cost planning, estimating and value management to work out a project budget. They use a range of specialist project management and financial software programs to keep track of all costs and contracts.


Education and training/entrance requirements

You usually need a bachelor degree in building surveying, construction management or another related field to work as a Quantity Surveyor. In some states, training may also be available through Vocational Education and Training (VET).

Roles for cost estimators in other industries will usually require a bachelor’s degree in engineering, physical sciences, mathematics, or statistics. It may be possible to find a role with a background in business-related disciplines, such as accounting, finance, and economics.

To get into degree courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English and mathematics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.

Graduates may be eligible for membership of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors or for probationary membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Student membership is also available. Qualifications are recognised worldwide.

Employment Opportunities

Employment of quantity surveyors is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for quantity surveyors and other cost estimators is expected to be strong because companies need accurate cost projections to ensure that their products and services are profitable. Growth in the construction industry will create the majority of new jobs.

Quantity surveyors work with architects, building contractors, developers, engineers and project managers. They can work as individual consultants or as part of a small or medium-sized firm. Some work as academics in universities. Some may find employment in government agencies. Those in the building industry usually work on larger-scale projects such as office complexes, high-density residential projects, hotels, factories and hospitals. Job prospects can fluctuate depending on the level of building activity.

With experience, progress to managerial positions in the construction industry is possible.

Did You Know?

The Conversation 21 January 2020

The Conversation


What sort of opportunities would a Quantity Surveyor have in this situation?

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