Freelance Quantity Surveyors

A Quantity Surveyor, or Q.S., is a construction professional responsible for analyzing the financial investment required to complete a project. They begin with an estimate of the initial costs including material, labor, equipment and tools, and any legal costs including insurance and permit acquisition.

This often results in the preparation of a feasibility study in which any potential monetary risks are also reported to a client or contractor. In the construction or repair of a public structure or bridge, for example, costs associated with health and safety would also be included. Once a project begins the Quantity Surveyor follows the progress, adjusting the estimate to reflect actual expenses.

They are responsible for minimizing costs while still meeting standards of safety and quality. For this reason, the Q.S. must know and understand Government codes and regulations for both the type of project and its geographic location.

In most cases the Quantity Surveyor is responsible for hiring and providing payment to the contractors and laborers used on the job. For this reason, the Surveyor needs a firm understanding of the skills required by each contractor as well as a solid estimate of the work per hour required to complete each task within the allotted time frame. Good people skills and an ability to effectively communicate are essential as the Surveyor will spend their time in part with business professionals and manual laborers on the job site.

The ability to read, write, and understand financial reports, feasibility studies and business communications are also essential skills required by the Quantity Surveyor. In order to secure this position a Bachelors Degree in Surveying, Civil Engineering, or a related course of study is generally necessary as the scope of work can range from residential, small to large commercial property development, or industrial construction. Project Management, Planning, and Time Management skills are also important in this line of work. Quantity Surveyors may work directly for a client or construction firm or may provide their servicers as a freelancer. Chartered Quantity Surveyors are professionals that work in a group under the umbrella of a consulting firm. Companies in need of services actually hire the firm and the firm assigns the project in whole or in part to a Surveyor in their employ. Freelance Quantity Surveyors accept work on a job by job basis and often bid against others for open positions. While there may be less job security in working independently, the Freelance Quantity Surveyor can be more selective and flexible in the job types they accept with as much or as little variety and travel as they desire.

Freelance Quantity Surveyors are generally hired by Consulting Firms who market their ability to provide cost analysis to clients wishing to build or develop residential neighborhoods and commercial or industrial parks as well as Independent Construction Companies and Contractors. At times large organizations will retain a Surveyor to provide cost analysis when deciding if and how to expand their operations as a primary function of the role is provide solutions that will maximize the return on investment.

In the United States the median salary for a Quantity Surveyor is about $46,000 per year with a low of $31,000 and a high of $55,000. In the UK salaries range from about £55K to £70K per year. It is important to note that hours worked for this position will vary depending on the scope of the project but average around 40 hours per week. Working conditions will also vary as the Surveyors time will be spent in an office setting preparing reports and analysis, traveling to potential development sites, and visiting actual job sites when a project is in progress