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Duties, Roles, and Responsibilities of a Quantity Surveyor

Role of a quantity surveyor in construction:

In a nutshell, the Quantity Surveyor is a valuable resource for any construction project that ensures a timely delivery of the project with minimal effect on expenses.

During the lifetime of a project, the quantity surveyor wears many hats – and his roles include cost estimator, negotiator, project coordinator and the most important role of expense manager.

An efficient and effective surveyor may have a ton of experience. Working on different projects in different industries builds a strong portfolio of experience for the surveyor. This helps the project manager complete the project within stipulated budget without compromising on the quality and quantity of material being used.
During the project timeline, a quantity surveyor prepares important reports such as Feasibility Reports, Expense Reports, Valuation Reports and other various reports along the way.

Quantity Surveyor Roles and Responsibilities

Preparing Operational Contracts:

The role of the quantity surveyor starts from the very beginning of the construction project. During this phase, he plays a major role in preparing cost estimates. When the project owner is preparing the budget, the quantity surveyor helps in defining the optimal quantity and price for the materials being used in construction.
He achieves this by working together with clients, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and consultants to identifying their specialties and scopes for the project. The quantity surveyor coordinates with different parties in order to finalize the optimum prices for each element of the project.

The Quantity Surveyor can work with other stakeholders such as engineers, workers, and contractors to derive efficiencies in other areas of expense such as labor costs, construction costs, and construction methods.

Managing Finances:

One of the major roles of a Quantity Surveyor is managing the project finances. An efficient quantity surveyor shall make sure that the project’s costs remain within the stipulated budget. The budget is calculated before the start of a project based on the designs prepared.
The quantity surveyor achieves this by working closely with all parties to procure optimum value products with the best quality.

An effective tool to use in this scenario would be to prepare frequent reports tracking the project costs. The quantity surveyor can then compare these reports with the original budgets in order to track financial progress.

Pre and Post Contract Quantity Surveying Duties

Keeping Project on Time:

Although the project plans are initially designed before the start of a project, these documents help in preparing the actual budge. However, there are always surprises in any construction project. Some of the scenarios could include weather delays, unforeseen delays, materials shortages, labour shortages, bad ground delays and many more.
Another glitch in the project could arise due to a dispute between two parties such as contractors and subcontractors. In such situations, the negotiation and mediation skills of the Quantity Surveyor come in to play to try and resolve the issues fairly and reasonably.

Keeping the expenses within the budget is key to the successful completion of the project. As far as the dispute between the project team members is concerned, a quantity surveyor should use his experience to play a role of a mediator in order to avoid delays in the project.
The Quantity Surveyors work with both parties and arrive at a solution that is win-win for both and keeps the project on track.

Timely Payments to Stakeholders:

One of the major roadblocks in any project is the delays in Payments. A quantity surveyor plays a key role in avoiding this roadblock. Since the beginning of the project,the expert has a keen eye on the budget and associated costs.

Having years of experience under his belt, the surveyor is able to negotiate best prices for every task. This homework helps the owner make timely payments to project stakeholders such as Contractors, Engineers, and Workers, etc. To keep the project on track, Quantity Surveyor keeps track of all payments.
After every chunk of payment,a surveyor checks the expense report with the allotted budget. Keeping a close eye on everyday expenses helps the management keep the project costs within the stipulated budget.

Contractor Quantity Surveyor Duties

Site visits and future projections of tasks ahead:

An ideal quantity surveyor has a strong eye for detail and always keeps a foot on the ground. He makes regular visits to the construction site. These visits serve many purposes such as getting an actual feel of the progress of the project, face to face interaction with the construction team and analyzing the task requirements ahead of time.
An experienced and effective quantity surveyor can gauge the performance of the entire team with these occasional visits to the property. He is better able to track progress and compare it to the actual plan.

Having face to face interaction with the construction team gives him/her a strong idea of the concerns and issues of the people on the ground. Taking all his notes, the surveyor is able to go back to the drawing board and make any amendments if need in the tasks ahead.


In these modern times, the effectiveness of a project lies in the proper use of its resources with minimum possible expenses. To achieve this goal construction project owners are hiring experienced and effective quantity surveyors more than ever before.

Wearing so many hats throughout the life cycle of the project, Quantity Surveyors maximize operational efficiency. This is done by negotiating best possible value for the owner’s money and keeping the expenses as low as possible.
Using their negotiation and mediation skills these surveyors are able to keep the project on track even when there are unexpected incidents that could have caused delays otherwise. The feasibility and expense report that they generally to keep the owner or their employer abreast of the progress and helps in deriving maximum efficiency during the project lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Quantity Surveying is the measuring of all materials, labour, and plant for a construction project into a neat and tidy group of descriptions called Items. Construction drawings illustrate the work that is to be completed but may not make much sense without Items to describe, in detail, the work that is to be completed. quantity Surveyor will then measure how much of a certain supply will be needed to complete the item. For example, 10m3 of concrete is needed to fill a foundation footing or 10 doors for a house.
A Quantity Surveyor is a person who performs the Quantity Surveying duties. They are usually educated to a tertiary degree level and have excellent experience on construction. A Quantity Surveyor may also have several different roles in any one project. They may have rules with the Client, the Main Contractor, a Subcontractor, or even a Supplier. All Quantity Surveyor roles are to accurately forecast the cost of any construction project and to maximize value for their employer.
Whether you are a ‘Mum and Dad’ team building for the first time, or a multi-national contractor, everyone really needs a Quantity Surveyor.
Quantity Surveyors are needed on a project no matter the size so that they can keep control of the costs, progress and any contractual issues that may spring up during a project. Having a Quantity Surveyor on your team is like having an accountant. They will be able to advise and help guide you through construction making sure you receive the best value.
From the very start, a Quantity Surveyor is an essential part of any construction project. Their role is as integral and similar to that of an Accountant in that if you are asking yourself ‘how much will this cost?’, ‘how long will it take, and how do I go about constructing this project?’, then that is when you need a Quantity Surveyor. It does not matter if you are just building an extension on your house or if you are dealing with projects in the billions. Having a Quantity Surveyor on your team is invaluable, no matter the scale.
Hiring a Quantity Surveyor for your project can sometimes be harder than you expect. Professional and good Quantity Surveyors can be difficult to find, and unfortunately our industry has had a skills shortage! While hiring a Quantity may not be as easy, finding the right one may take some time!
Choosing the right Quantity Surveyor can be tricky. It really depends on the project, the budget you have set out, and the experience of the Quantity Surveyor. Some Quantity Surveyors may only specialize in certain fields within the construction and so engaging that surveyor to do a project outside of their field of experience may not work to your advantage. So, before choosing a Quantity Surveyor, ensure that their expertise and your requirements for a project are communicated well from the start, to avoid any disappointments.
The benefits a quantity surveyor will bring to any project are most certainly invaluable. Controlling cost and time are the major factors behind the success, or failure, of any project. Benefits of their services range from; cost advice, contractual advice, procurement all the goods for projects, helping with cost issues, and being able to control programs for a timely completion.