Quantity Surveyor

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will 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


You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • analytical thinking skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition/drive)
  • organisational skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Quantity Surveyor, you should focus on subjects that develop strong analytical, mathematical, and problem-solving skills. While there are no specific subject requirements for this career, it’s beneficial to choose subjects that lay a solid foundation for further education and your future role. Here are some subjects that can be advantageous:

  1. Mathematics (Higher Level): Quantity Surveyors frequently work with complex calculations and measurements, so strong math skills are essential.
  2. Physics: Physics can help you understand structural principles and mechanics, which can be relevant to construction and quantity surveying.
  3. Design and Technology: This subject can introduce you to concepts of construction, engineering, and architectural design.
  4. Business Studies: Knowledge of business and economics can be valuable, especially in project management and contract negotiation.
  5. Geography: This subject can provide an understanding of environmental factors and geographic information that can be relevant to construction projects.
  6. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Familiarity with computer software, especially spreadsheet and database programs, is important for managing and analyzing construction data.
  7. English: Good communication skills are essential in this field, as Quantity Surveyors need to write reports, communicate with clients, and negotiate contracts.
  8. Economics: Studying economics at a higher level can provide insights into economic aspects of construction projects.

Post School

You’ll need a degree or professional qualification – in the UK this will need to be 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
  • 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.

In the UK, 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).

Working Hours 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.

Career Path & 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.