What is a quantity surveyor?
A quantity surveyor (QS) or cost consultant is essentially a construction accountant. His or her role is to manage all costs relating to a given project from pitch to completion. Surveyors can work for either a client or a contractor, in an office or on site. They need to have a full understanding of statutory building regulations for this task.
Typical work activities include managing costs for new projects, undertaking cost analysis for maintenance and refurbishment work, performing risk and value management and cost control, advising on procurement strategy and preparing tender and contract documents.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the main organisation for surveyors in the UK.
Becoming a quantity surveyor
You will need strong financial, analytical, interpretive and teamwork skills especially when it comes to larger projects.
The most straightforward way is to complete a degree in quantity surveying or building surveying. You can also do a construction degree that is accredited by the RICS. Quantity surveying is a choice for many without a degree in construction, and most UK firms offer graduate schemes for you to join straight from university.
It is important to pass your Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), a structured, work-based training scheme that assesses your technical and business skills. Some companies have a sponsorship scheme so that you can qualify as a surveyor while gaining first-hand experience on the job. To become a chartered surveyor you will need a degree or conversion course that is accredited by the RICS.
Search for courses at RICS Courses.
A quantity surveyor can expect a starting salary of roughly £17,000 - £25,000 according to 2008 data. Obtaining chartered status increases both your job and salary options.
At senior levels expect to ear from £25,000 - £50,000+ with partners in private practice earning substantially more.
For more information visit the RICS.