There’s been a lot happening for those working in construction recently. From the introduction of a new quality mark, to the materials shortage that we’re slowly coming out of, the end of 2022 is looking busy for the sector.

It’s likely that these latest changes will be kept in mind when quantity surveyors are planning their latest project. But why are developments like these so significant for quantity surveyors? And what is their role on a construction site? If you’re considering a career in construction, this could be a role that suits you. Read on to find out what the role entails and the average annual salary of a quantity surveyor.

Key tasks

The quantity surveyor is crucial on any building project, whether it’s a new-build development or commercial property. Here are some of the main tasks that they’re responsible for:

Managing costs

Costing up a build is possibly one of the most significant parts of a quantity surveyor’s role. They’ll assess the scale of the project and then spend time working out what materials are needed and pricing this all up. It involves a lot of forecasting and there may be times when the predicted price of materials goes up or down, affecting the build’s budget.

This is one of the main reasons why the materials shortage that’s been affecting the sector has involved a lot of work on the part of quantity surveyors. They have spent time trying to work out the costs of materials that have been available and prices have shifted significantly in the last few months. It’s the surveyor’s responsibility to factor in these shifting costs in the planning process.

As well as materials, quantity surveyors are responsible for the costs of labour too. They’ll work out how many workers are needed for a job and plan budgets accordingly. Part of this includes budgeting for risk management in order to keep staff safe on the job.

Drawing up documents

While overseeing the costs and budgets involved in a build is the main responsibility of a quantity surveyor, they also have to prepare contract documents and tenders. This includes bills of quantities, and this is usually with the architect, but sometimes the client is involved in this process too.

Report writing

Report writing takes up a significant part of a quantity surveyor’s day. These reports are used for assessing tax deductions that come with the depreciation of a project. As there’s a lot of forecasting involved on a build, these reports are used upon completion to create tax depreciation schedules.

What you’ll need

This is a career that has longevity and clear salary bands, making it a desirable option. Trainees and apprentices start at around £21,000 and managers can earn in excess of £80,000.

If you think you’d like to pursue a career in quantity surveying, you’ll need a degree in quantity surveying or commercial management accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). You’ll also need good written and communication skills, IT proficiency, and the ability to work in a team.

Do you want to pursue this career path? Is quantity surveying for you?

Claire Preece