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.
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.
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.
The 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.
Duration: 3 – 4 years full time study (one year of placement)
Age: 18 – 25 year olds approximately
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.
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
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.
Duration: A lifetime
Location: Anywhere you choose
Age: 35+ year olds approximately
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.
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!