What is a quantity surveyor?

quantity surveyor
The Quantity Surveyor (QS) Report
15 October, 2020

A quantity surveyor is a person who estimates and controls costs for large construction projects, ensuring that all legal and quality standards are also met. Quantity surveyors are involved in all aspects of a construction project, whether it be commercial, industrial or residential.

Their tasks will differ depending on the stage of the project they’re involved in. For example, a quantity surveyor could be involved during the design or construction phase of a project. Tasks that a quantity surveyor performs include:

  • Forecasting the cost of various materials needed for the construction project
  • Preparing contracts, budgets, bills of quantities, tender documents and any other paperwork that may be required.
  • Adjust budget predictions based on any changes that may occur during the various phases of the project
  • Agree to the services that contractors and/or subcontractors working on the project will perform. This includes paying subcontractors.
  • Measure and value the work done on site
  • Liaise with other stakeholders, including site managers, engineers, project managers and other construction professionals
  • Select and/or source construction materials
  • Write reports including, quantity surveyor council cost reports

Quantity surveyors can be both, based at their own office or work on-site. Those who work in their own office tend to work typical office hours i.e., 9 to 5, Quantity surveyors who work on-site typically work longer hours and even work night shifts.

Organisations that would typically employ a quantity surveyor include:

  • Cost management and QS consultancies
  • Engineering and construction companies
  • Property developers
  • Architectural firms
  • Government organisations

Governing bodies in Australia

The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) is the peak professional standards body for built environment cost professionals. The AIQS has chapters all across Australia, as well as two international branches; one in the UAE and one in Qatar.

The AIQS has 5,000+ members. The job titles for typical members includes: Cost Consultants, Cost Engineers, Cost Estimators, Cost Managers, Project Controllers, Quantity Surveyors, as well as graduates and students.

How to become a quantity surveyor

There are several options you can choose from if you’re interested in becoming a quantity surveyor. They include:

  • University courses
  • Undertaking an apprenticeship
  • Through work experience