As a quantity surveyor, you’re involved from the very start of a new construction project, working with architects to identify the resources and materials needed for it. Then you’re responsible for tendering or negotiating work with suppliers, partners and contractors, putting you in cost control of potentially millions of pounds worth of expenditure. Finally, you get to see the project through to the end, monitoring the cost as the programme progress for the works and keeping the client fully updated and reporting on the expected final account.
What does a quantity surveyor do?
Quantity surveyors are responsible for understanding, quantifying, budgeting and managing the costs of the building work involved in a construction project. That project at Julian Church & Associates could be a hospitality venue such as a restaurant, bar, cafe & the like or retail premises, healthcare, educational or residential or other commercial building. In every case, the principles are the same and as quantity surveyors we develop a deep understanding of the building and construction industry.
The specific responsibilities of a quantity surveyor job role will depend on the type of project we undertake. Typically, we are involved with the front end design work of new projects before tendering then monitoring the actual construction works onsite.
Both the location and the hours of work vary according to the nature of the work but we tend to be office-based and work between 8.30am and 5.30pm. Some late and weekend work might crop up when the workload is high and deadlines are looming.
Quantity surveyor responsibilities
- The first part of a project is the design stage and you’ll have a range of specific responsibilities you’re required to undertake during that period.
- Assist in establishing a client’s requirements and undertake feasibility studies.
- Run cost analyses of the various types of work as a forerunner to tender preparation.
- Select, price and source construction materials.
- Advise clients on procurement strategies.
- Identify commercial risks and help develop suitable responses.
When the project moves into the building stage your responsibilities will expand into getting work started and then keeping it on track.
- Prepare the tender and contract documents, including bills of quantities, with the architect and the client.
- Select specialist subcontractors, agree the scope of services and allocate work.
- Monitor and control costs throughout the project.
- Identify risks surrounding the project and the likelihood of cost variation.
- Track any changes to the design or actual work and adjust budget projections.
- Value completed work and arrange payments to contractors.
- Analyse progress and write detailed cost reports.
When the project is ending your responsibilities will involve reviewing the project and advising and monitoring hand over management of the site to your client. We may also advise on any outstanding contractual claims remaining.
If you progress to more senior roles, you’ll also become responsible for the supervision of others, client management activities and leadership of the quantity surveying function within your organisation.
What is the best part of being a quantity surveyor?
The variety of work as a quantity surveyor is completely unparalleled because every project is intrinsically different. Also locations always vary so even if you’re office based, site visits enable you to travel widely across the UK and sometime abroad.
With Julian Church & Associates we are working with a variety of high street names, some well known and some independents. Our work in the hospitality and retail sector provides great interest and pride. We appreciate our client successes as partly our own.
What are the skills needed to be a quantity surveyor?
To be effective in your role, you’ll develop a wide range of quantity surveyor skills over the first few years of your career, these will be enhanced at Julian Church and Associates.
- The ability to understand the application of diverse construction techniques and materials.
- Strategic thinking and methodical analysis techniques.
- Creative approaches to problem solving.
- Strong numerical and financial management skills.
- The ability to communicate clearly, in both written and verbal form.
- Interpersonal, teamwork and supervisory skills.
- Being adept with a wide variety of software packages.
- It’s usually essential to hold a full driving licence to get to meetings and site visits.
What qualifications do I need to be a quantity surveyor?
Historically, most people undertook a three-year degree course, or a four-year course with a year out to gain experience. However now more surveyors are beginning to take part-time degrees and graduate apprenticeships schemes are increasing. The core skills to have are a good grasp of numbers, the ability to work under pressure and a detailed understanding of the workings of construction.
After taking a degree, two to three years approved work experience is required in order to become a chartered quantity surveyor and full member of a professional organisation, such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
We at Julian Church and Associates would sponsor any new staff needing finance to cover RICS accreditation.
What makes a good quantity surveyor?
We look for an underlying genuine enthusiasm for the construction industry in general and quantity surveying in particular.
We require you to have integrity, strength of character and commitment. In return we reward you with a competitive salary and great working environment with the chance to work within a fairly flat autonomous office but with support when needed and general monitoring and guidance.
Personalities that suit quantity surveyor jobs
A calm mind and a steady pair of hands, backed by measured thinking processes, are the strongest personality tools that a quantity surveyor can own.
A great deal of a quantity surveyor’s activity involves dealing with people so an open and outgoing personality is essential. Ideally that should be supported by commercial acumen and an instinct for negotiation.
Finally, the ability to mentally multi-task, all day every day, whilst staying positive and proactive is another highly valuable personality trait.