What is Quantity Surveying in Civil Engineering?

February 5, 2024

Topographical survey

Quantity surveying is a vital component of civil engineering, and it plays an essential role in ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget. A quantity surveyor is responsible for managing the costs of construction projects from the initial planning stages to the final completion. In this blog, we will explore all aspects of quantity surveying in civil engineering. We will discuss the role of a quantity surveyor, prerequisites to becoming one, their day-to-day work life, career development prospects, compensation, and how the industry has evolved over the years. Read on to get a comprehensive understanding of quantity surveying and its importance in civil engineering.

Role of a Quantity Surveyor in Civil Engineering

Quantity surveyors play a vital role in managing the costs and budget of construction projects, ensuring compliance with legal and quality standards. Their expertise in cost planning, feasibility studies, and professional competence assessment is essential for successful project completion. Working closely with engineers, architects, and construction managers, they track any variations in construction costs and are involved at every stage of a project. Additionally, they contribute to the profitability and programme of a project, making them invaluable in the construction industry.

Job Description

Quantity surveyors are responsible for various aspects of a construction project, including preparing tender documents, contracts, and budgets. They also conduct feasibility studies to estimate material, time, and labor costs, while tracking maintenance costs for buildings and construction projects. Additionally, they play a key role in controlling the overall cost of the construction project and resolving disputes in adherence to construction law regulations.

Key Responsibilities

Managing supply chain management, valuations, and subcontractors falls under the purview of quantity surveyors. Ensuring compliance with statutory building regulations and safety regulations is a key responsibility, along with providing specialist knowledge on property taxation and sustainability. Overseeing the implications of health and safety regulations and commercial management of construction projects are also part of their role. Quantity surveyors play a crucial role in the financial and contractual aspects of a construction project.

Prerequisites to Become a Quantity Surveyor

Prospective quantity surveyors typically pursue a postgraduate surveying qualification or relevant undergraduate degree. Essential skills include a thorough understanding of construction, legal matters, and commercial management. Additionally, relevant work experience in construction, property, or consultancy is highly advantageous. As part of the mandatory education, aspiring quantity surveyors often complete a postgraduate conversion course in quantity surveying. Further study or participation in apprenticeship programs can also be beneficial for career advancement.

Mandatory Education

To enter the industry, aspiring quantity surveyors can pursue a postgraduate surveying qualification, with a postgraduate conversion course in quantity surveying being a common path to qualification. The University College of Estate Management offers postgraduate courses in quantity surveying. Alternatively, prospective quantity surveyors can commence their journey with an undergraduate degree in a related field. Many quantity surveyors choose to pursue further study to enhance their career prospects.

Skills Required

To excel in quantity surveying, a comprehensive understanding of construction and commercial management is essential. Additionally, knowledge of construction law, property taxation, and sustainability is crucial. The role demands impeccable financial and numeracy skills, along with effective communication and negotiation capabilities. Furthermore, strong analytical and problem-solving abilities are vital for success in the field.

Relevant Work Experience

To progress as a senior quantity surveyor, relevant work experience is crucial. This can be gained through internships, graduate trainee schemes, or apprenticeships. Experience in commercial and project management within the construction industry is beneficial. Tracking variations and controlling maintenance costs of specific buildings are essential tasks for quantity surveying professionals. Building a strong foundation of relevant work experience is fundamental for a successful career in this field.

The Day-to-Day Life of a Quantity Surveyor

Quantity surveyors work regular full-time hours from Monday to Friday, managing a balanced routine of office work, site visits, and client, contractor, and stakeholder meetings. Their daily tasks include preparing cost reports, valuations, and feasibility studies across various project stages. This role offers a unique blend of office and site work, providing a diverse and engaging work environment in the construction industry.

Typical Working Hours

Quantity surveyors in civil engineering typically adhere to standard full-time hours, usually from Monday to Friday. Their schedule may demand flexibility due to site visits, client meetings, and project inspections. During project deadlines and critical phases, quantity surveyors often work longer hours. The role also requires coordination with subcontractors and construction teams, leading to a varied schedule that balances site work and office work. This flexibility is essential for successful project management.

What to Expect on the Job

A career in quantity surveying offers dynamic opportunities for growth and progression within the construction industry. This role combines office work, site visits, and client meetings, along with project management responsibilities. Quantity surveyors collaborate with construction professionals, engineers, and architects, applying technical knowledge, legal expertise, and commercial acumen to each project stage. The job presents diverse challenges, project complexities, and prospects for career advancement, making it a rewarding choice for those with a keen interest in civil engineering.

Career Development Prospects in Quantity Surveying

Quantity surveying presents a promising career path with abundant opportunities for progression. Professionals in the field can explore diverse avenues for professional advancement, leading to ample opportunities for career growth and development. The field offers a wide range of potential career paths, providing numerous prospects for professional development within quantity surveying. Qualified individuals can pursue roles as chartered quantity surveyors, project managers, commercial managers, or construction cost consultants, among other positions, leading to a rewarding and dynamic career within the construction industry.

Opportunities for Professional Development

Professionals in quantity surveying have the chance to pursue various avenues for professional development, offering extensive prospects for growth and learning. The field provides a conducive environment for expanding professional skills and knowledge, with abundant opportunities for continuous development. Individuals can explore diverse paths within quantity surveying, ensuring ongoing professional growth and progression. This wealth of opportunities underscores the promising career prospects and the potential for advancement within the industry.

Potential Career Paths and Progression

Quantity surveying presents a wide array of potential career paths, offering diverse and promising trajectories for professionals. Within the field of quantity surveying, individuals have manifold avenues for career progression, including roles as project managers, commercial managers, and construction cost consultants. The royal institution of chartered surveyors (RICS) in the UK provides accreditation for professionals, such as chartered quantity surveyors, ensuring they are on track for any variations in the construction industry. This accreditation also opens doors to opportunities for career advancement, leading to increased profitability and professional growth.

Compensation in Quantity Surveying

Quantity surveying presents alluring remuneration opportunities for professionals, encompassing competitive compensation packages and a rewarding pay structure. Professionals within this field can expect an attractive salary range, reflecting the competitiveness and rewarding nature of compensation in quantity surveying. This ensures that individuals are duly rewarded for their expertise and contributions within the industry, making it an appealing career choice for those aspiring to work in civil engineering.

Average Salary Range

Professionals in quantity surveying can expect an attractive and competitive average salary range, making it a rewarding career choice. The field of quantity surveying provides a favorable compensation package, which remains competitive within the construction industry. This ensures that individuals in this field track any variations in the construction cost and profitability while contributing to the overall profitability of a project. With diverse career paths and progression opportunities available within quantity surveying, professionals have the potential for upward mobility in their careers.

Factors Affecting the Pay Scale

Several key factors shape the pay scale in quantity surveying. The influence of these factors is significant within the field and can impact remuneration greatly. From tracking variations to overseeing profitability, a chartered quantity surveyor's compensation is contingent upon numerous influencing elements such as construction cost consultancy, project management, and commercial management. Additionally, UK-based professionals can seek advancement through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or pursue an MSc in England for further career progression.

Finding the Right Employers

Securing positions with reputable employers is a primary goal for quantity surveying professionals. Identifying the right employers holds crucial importance, as it directly impacts career growth and development. Aspiring to work with esteemed and suitable employers, quantity surveying professionals meticulously track variations and project stages, ensuring profitability and effective cost management. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the APC play prominent roles in shaping career prospects for chartered quantity surveyors. In the construction industry, finding the right employers is a significant consideration for professionals striving for career advancement.

Types of Employers in the Field

Professionals in quantity surveying have the flexibility to work with a wide range of employer types within the construction industry. They can seek employment as chartered quantity surveyors, commercial managers, or project managers. Additionally, they may find opportunities with civil engineers, construction cost consultants, or at a construction site. Quantity surveying professionals also have the option to work with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in the UK, contributing to the profitability and programme management of various projects.

Tips to Secure a Good Job

Securing favourable employment opportunities in quantity surveying involves employing specific strategies and practical tips. Professionals can benefit from leveraging the royal institution of chartered surveyors and pursuing chartered quantity surveyor status. Additionally, networking with project and commercial managers in the construction industry is crucial. Keeping track of variations and demonstrating profitability on a CV are essential. Embracing career development programs through APC and MSC memberships enhances job prospects. These strategies ensure professionals secure desired job positions in quantity surveying.

How has Quantity Surveying Evolved in Civil Engineering?

The field of quantity surveying in civil engineering has undergone significant evolution, reshaping the landscape of the industry. This evolution has had a notable impact on civil engineering practices, influencing and transforming the way projects are managed and executed. The progression of civil engineering has gone hand in hand with the evolution of quantity surveying, resulting in more efficient and effective project delivery.


To conclude, quantity surveying plays a crucial role in the field of civil engineering. The responsibilities of a quantity surveyor are diverse and require a combination of technical knowledge, organisational skills, and attention to detail. With the right education, skills, and work experience, you can pursue a rewarding career in this field. As a quantity surveyor, you can expect a competitive salary and opportunities for professional development and career progression. Keep in mind that the pay scale may vary based on factors such as location, experience, and employer. To secure a good job, explore different types of employers in the field and utilise tips for job hunting. Lastly, it's important to acknowledge how quantity surveying has evolved over time, adapting to advancements in technology and construction practices. Stay updated with industry trends and continue to enhance your skills to thrive in this ever-changing field of civil engineering.

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