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Quantity surveyor

Quantity surveyors oversee construction projects, managing risks and controlling costs.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £80,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need a degree or professional qualification accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This can be a quantity surveying degree or a postgraduate conversion course from any degree. Useful subjects are construction, structural or civil engineering, mathematics, geography, economics or land studies.

You could also start work as a junior or trainee quantity surveyor, a surveying technician or surveying assistant, then study to become a quantity surveyor.

You could also get into this job with an apprenticeship.

You’ll need to be a member of RICS (MRICS) to become a fully qualified chartered surveyor. For this you’ll need to complete the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • budgeting skills
  • excellent IT and maths skills
  • organisational and planning skills
  • negotiation and leadership skills

3. What you'll do

You could work in the public sector for a local authority, housing association or government department.

You could also work in the private sector for a building contractor, property company, civil engineering or architecture firm.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • finding out a client’s needs and assessing if their plans are feasible
  • working out quantities and costs of materials, time and labour for tenders
  • negotiating contracts and work schedules
  • advising on legal matters, including risks and disputes
  • monitoring sub-contractors and stages of construction
  • writing regular reports on costs and preparing accounts for payment
  • keeping up to date with construction methods and materials 
  • following health and safety and building regulations

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £25,000 to £50,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 to £80,000 (senior)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm. You may work evenings or weekends. Hours may be longer if you work on-site as a contractor.

You'll spend time in an office and visiting building sites.

You’ll usually need a full driving licence.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior quantity surveyor or move into senior project management, supply chain management, consultancy work or self-employment.

You could specialise in areas like planning, risk assessment or contract disputes.

Another option is to move into lecturing at a university or college.

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Last updated: 05 May 2017