Quantity surveyor


Quantity surveyors have under their helm complete management of the cost involved in building and construction projects from the inception of the project until the delivery. They strive for an efficient use of the resources whilst keeping an eye on quality, quality standards, and client’s requirements.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to quantity surveyor:

quntity surveyor
quantity survey professional
quantity surveying consultant
quantities surveyor
construction project cost consultant
quantity surveior
construction cost consultant
development project cost consultant
graduate quantity surveyor
chartered quantity surveyor
quantity survey specialist
assistant quantity surveyor
quantity survey expert
construction project manager
quantity survey consultant
building estimator
development project cost manager

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor’s degree is generally required to work as quantity surveyor. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Quantity surveyor is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Quantity surveyor career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to quantity surveyor.

construction general contractor
construction manager
manufacturing cost estimator
property developer
construction engineer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of quantity surveyor. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of quantity surveyor with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of quantity surveyor.

Urban planning law: Investments and urban development agreements. Legislative developments regarding construction in terms of environmental, sustainability, social and financial matters.
Building codes: The set of guidelines that determine the minimum standards for buildings and other constructions in order to protect public health and safety.
Building construction principles: The component elements and principles of building construction such as types of wall construction and foundations, defects in walls and roofs and ways to address such defects.
Cost management: The process of planning, monitoring and adjusting the expenses and revenues of a business in order to achieve cost efficiency and capability.
Construction industry: The products, brands and suppliers active in the construction field.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of quantity surveyor.

Advise on construction materials: Provide advice on and test a wide range of construction materials.
Oversee construction project: Make sure that the construction project is carried out in compliance with the building permit, the execution plans, the performance and design specifications, and the relevant regulations.
Manage budgets: Plan, monitor and report on the budget.
Communicate with construction crews: Exchange information with the construction crews or supervisors to ensure smooth progress of the construction project. Obtain updates on the progress and any obstacles, and inform the crews of any changes in the schedule or procedures.
Identify customer objectives: Identify individual motives resulting in short, medium and long term fitness goals.
Calculate needs for construction supplies: Take measurements on site and estimate the amount of materials required for the construction or restoration project.
Finish project within budget: Make sure to stay within budget. Adapt work and materials to budget.
Prepare construction documents: Draft, update and archive documents concerning the planning and implementation of construction or renovation projects including information about security systems and accounting documentation.
Manage contracts: Negotiate the terms, conditions, costs and other specifications of a contract while making sure they comply with legal requirements and are legally enforceable. Oversee the execution of the contract, agree on and document any changes.
Order construction supplies: Order required materials for the construction project, taking care to purchase the most suitable material for a good price.
Perform cost accounting activities: Execute the cost related activities and operations within the accounting activities such as standard cost development, average pricing analysis, margin and cost ratio analysis, inventory control, and variance analysis. Report the results to management and advise on possible courses of action to control and reduce the costs.
Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
Control of expenses: Monitoring and maintaining effective cost controls, in regards to efficiencies, waste, overtime and staffing. Assessing excesses and strives for efficiency and productivity.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of quantity surveyor. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Contract law: The field of legal principles that govern written agreements between parties concerning the exchange of goods or services, including contractual obligations and termination.
Real estate market: The trends concerning the buying, selling, or renting of property, including the land, buildings, and natural resources encompassed within the property; the categories of residential properties and properties for business purposes which such properties are traded in.
Project management: Understand project management and the activities which comprise this area. Know the variables implied in project management such as time, resources, requirements, deadlines, and responding to unexpected events.
Civil engineering: The engineering discipline that studies the design, construction and maintenance of naturally built works such as roads, buildings, and canals.
Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.
Civil law: The legal rules and their applications used in disputes between different parties.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of quantity surveyor. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Audit contractors: Examine and document different industry contractors, in order to determine whether they comply with regulations and standards in relation to safety, environment and quality of design, construction and testing, etc.
Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
Advise on risk management: Provide advice on risk management policies and prevention strategies and their implementation, being aware of different kinds of risks to a specific organisation.
Assess construction compliance: Determine whether a construction complies with laws and regulations.
Carry out tendering: Place the request for a quotation to the organisation requesting a tender, then perform the work or supply the goods agreed with them during the tendering process.
Monitor parameters’ compliance in construction projects: Monitors progress in construction sites and the compliance of various parameters outlined in the design phase such as quality, costs, timeline, and contractors’ responsibilities.
Liaise with financiers: Liaise with people willing to finance the project. Negotiate deals and contracts.
Provide cost benefit analysis reports: Prepare, compile and communicate reports with broken down cost analysis on the proposal and budget plans of the company. Analyse the financial or social costs and benefits of a project or investment in advance over a given period of time.
Estimate profitability: Take various factors into account to calculate the cost and potential revenues or savings gained from a product in order to evaluate the profit that could be generated by the new acquisition or by a new project.
Ensure compliance with construction project deadline: Plan, schedule and monitor the building processes in order to ensure completion of the project by the set deadline.
Follow the statutory obligations: Understand, abide by, and apply the statutory obligations of the company in the daily performance of the job.
Advise architects: Give advice on design, safety issues, and cost reduction to architects during the pre-application phase.
Monitor contractor performance: Manage the performance of the contractor, assess whether they are meeting the agreed standard and correct underperformance if needed.

Monitor construction site: Keep an overview of what happens at the construction site at all times. Identify who is present and what stage of the construction work each crew is in.
Coordinate construction activities: Coordinate the activities of several construction workers or crews to make sure they do not interfere with each other and to ensure that the works are done in a timely manner. Keep up to date on the progress of the teams and update the schedule if called for.

ISCO group and title

2149 – Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified





  1. Quantity surveyor – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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