Quantity Surveyor

Every local authority has considerable investment in land, property and buildings. There is a specialist surveyor to cover each of the following property functions:

  • building;
  • quantity;
  • land measurement;
  • valuation;
  • planning and development;
  • technical surveys to support the chartered surveyor.

Quantity surveyors deal with the financial side of construction and engineering and the post can be found in every type of authority except county councils. They are part of the Building Consultancy Service and in some authorities they may be part of the technical services section under the direction of the senior quantity surveyor.

Work Environment
Surveyors spend some time on outdoor sites and attending external meetings but quantity surveyors mostly work in an office writing reports, dealing with administration and preparing plans and costings. The hours are 37 hours per week and do not usually involve anti-social shifts. Only when site visits are required do they wear protective clothing such as hard hats.

Daily Activities
Quantity surveyors work on projects for their own property services directorate and for other client departments and agencies. They monitor and estimate costs and are involved in building projects from the planning stage through to final completion. Their training gives them a thorough grounding in building and construction techniques as well as the financial and accounting side. Each piece of work is normally put out to tender and quantity surveyors will examine the returns and advise the authority on technical aspects of the project. They also act on behalf of the council in applying for grants or subsidies that are available for certain specific improvements (from the European Fund, for example), as well provide advice on grant applications from local residents for home improvements. Their duties can be broken down into:

  • preparation of feasibility estimates and cost plans; 
  • responsibility for managing specific contracts and acting as lead consultant; 
  • preparation of tender and contract documents; 
  • undertaking interim valuations of project cost implications and producing interim; 
  • certificates giving a provisional green light for construction; 
  • dealing with any variation in contracts; 
  • ensuring final accounts are paid and are in accordance with stipulated time limits ad other conditions; 
  • acting as manager/supervisor of junior surveying staff on projects; 
  • encouraging cost consciousness in everybody who is connected with construction.

Quantity surveyors are responsible to senior quantity surveyors and work in conjunction with them during the tender, contract and accounting stages of projects.

Skills & Interests
You would need the following to do the job well:

  • mathematical ability;
  • an appreciation of general building construction;
  • knowledge of Standard Method of Measurement;
  • knowledge of JCT contract forms;
  • the ability to work in a team and on your own initiative;
  • supervisory ability;
  • working knowledge of computerised systems;
  • a knowledge of health and safety procedures;
  • the ability to get on with people from different backgrounds;
  • an attention to detail;
  • project management skills; tenacious, see tasks through to a conclusion.

Entry Requirements
A degree, or equivalent, in quantity surveying is essential. Qualification as a chartered surveyor is also usually required.  A minimum of one year's postgraduate experience is required. This should include having worked in the administration of medium sized contracts through to final account including cost plan and estimates preparation.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
Surveyors are widely employed throughout local government and there are many opportunities for specialization in other branches of the work, particularly in large authorities. The next step up the ladder is Senior Quantity Surveyor that is attainable with further experience.  Professional training leads to corporate membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Further Information & Services
Construction Skills www.citb.co.uk
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors www.rics.org
The Building Consultancy www.thebuildingconsultancy.com

Careers Wales have produced Spotlight articles on careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths): https://www.careerswales.com/en/spotlight-on-stem/ and careers in construction: https://www.careerswales.com/en/spotlight-on-construction/

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales (www.careerswales.com/) or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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