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how do i become a quantity surveyor

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How To Become A Quantity Surveyor?


Quantity Surveyor or ‘QS’ as some might call it treats project costs the way an engineer would treat an electric circuit. They would find the best possible solution while creating maximum efficiency along the path to completion.

Personality Traits

Quantity Surveyor wears many hats during the course of a project. They are a problem solver, providing efficient and effective solutions during unexpected events or standoffs during the construction process.

They are a mediator when it comes to helping teams figure out a solution to a bottleneck situation, using the mediation skills they come up with ideas that create win-win solutions for all parties involved.

They can be a negotiator as well when it comes to negotiating the best price for an urgently needed item. All these traits gel together to create an effective and efficient Quantity Surveyor.

What to expect on the job

how do i become a quantity surveyor

The work is on-site and offsite as well. The onsite work requires the quantity surveyor to have face to face meetings with the staff, get the lay of the land on the construction site and understand some of the issues being faced by the team on the ground. The quantity surveyor takes all their findings back to the drawing board in the office and prepares solutions in order to keep the project on track.

The profession used to be male-dominated during the past many years, however more and more women are entering this industry and playing an effective role as a quantity surveyor.

With many international construction companies working all over the world, the job may require local as well as international travel. This gives people of this profession ample exposure and great opportunity to learn from their international experience.


how to become a good quantity surveyorThe profession does not require candidates to undergo a specific course before entering this field, however, a relevant subject study may help a lot such as a graduate coursework in Construction, Economics, Mathematics, Geography, etc.

Those who do not have a specialized degree may have to start off an assistant quantity surveyor going through the learning curve on the job. Professionals who have a specialized degree in the field have an edge.

There are MSc courses in Quantity Surveying that teach you the essential tools such as cost management and budget allocation which are the primary requirements in this field.

These courses usually take 4 years to complete if you are a full-time student. Some students opt for a part-time schedule wherein they are able to gain experience and learn theory at school at the same time.

How do you become a quantity surveyor?

  1. Full time study route

Duration: 3 – 4 years full time study (one year of placement)

Location: University

Age: 18 – 25 year olds approximately


  • Fastest time to become qualified
  • In the holiday times you could secure a placement to put your skills into practice and possibly earn some money.
  • More time to complete coursework and study.


  • Generally not much time to work during term times due to the study loads and requirements so financially it can be difficult.
  • Courses can leave student with a lot of debt at the end which will need to be paid back once you start working.
  • Usually not much experience or practical skills gained during the course and employers would have to train you how actually work on the job.


Doing the full time course will mean you will be qualified faster. The workload of exams and coursework can be intense however you should have more time to complete the work in your free time. At the end of the course you will have a good text book idea of being a quantity surveyor but not much practical experience to use.


how do i train to be a quantity surveyor

  1. Part time study route – day release or distance learning

Duration: 4 – 6 years part time study usually based on one day in university with study completed at home

Location: University, college and home study

Age: 25 – 35 year olds approximately


  • Gaining valuable on the job experience
  • Getting paid for your work
  • A mix of working and a day off to visit college/university
  • Employers may pay for the college course but maybe not your time to attend. This would mean less or no debt to pay back once you start working.


  • Completing coursework and study after finishing work and the weekends
  • Duration to complete the course is stretched out over a longer period of time.


A longer time to complete the qualifications, but to offset that you will have the same amount of years of experience than someone who has chosen to do the course full time. This is truly extremely valuable to any employer. This way of becoming a quantity surveyor is in my opinion the best way as you get the best of both worlds.

  1. On the job experience route – No qualifications

Duration: A lifetime

Location: Anywhere you choose

Age: 35+ year olds approximately


  • Fallen into the position after years of experience maybe as a trade’s person or decided to have a construction career change.
  • A good practical idea of how quantity surveying is applied
  • Upskilling and learning new things


  • No formal qualifications achieved


Generally this approach is for people who have been in construction for a long time as maybe a trade’s person of another type of construction professional such as an engineer. These experienced people would have a very good idea of the way the industry works and probably a good idea of quantity surveying.

This type of approach can really help a person advance their career by learning another role in the industry.

Who would you work with?

how to become a quantity surveyor without a degree

As a Quantity Surveyor, you can play an essential role along with the Architect. Architects provide blueprints for private and commercial buildings. Having a Quantity Surveyor by their side would be a great help in identifying project costs and deciding on the project resources.

Landing a job with government authorities will allow you experience mega projects such as flyovers and highways. An efficient Quantity Surveyor would leverage these experiences in order to start their private practice as freelance Quantity Surveyor for private construction companies.

Property Developers are ideal employers of Quantity Surveyors as they want to deliver best quality projects with minimal costs. With so much advancement in the field of construction, Quantity Surveyor is a great career to take up in the 21st century. In all these employment opportunities you will spend most of your time with Engineers, Contractors, Construction labors and Project owners.


From my experience of part time and full time study I feel the best way to becoming a top quantity surveyor faster with the right skills and knowledge is to go down the part time route.

Let us look at another trade to compare. How good would a carpenter be if they learnt how to work from a text with little to no practical experience on the job….they wouldn’t be able to do much on site once they completed their qualifications.

An employer would need to retrain and show them how things actually got done on site so let’s face it a textbook can only teach you so much being practical is 75% of the battle in construction.

I hope you gained some insight and this article helped you maybe make a decision on how to become a quantity surveyor. Best of luck with your potential career and leave a comment with some feedback!


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