Quantity Surveyor – Understanding the Profession

For many people across the globe, the mere mention of “quantity surveyor” evokes the image of a vague and boring profession. Unlike medicine, law and other “hip” professions, many people view quantity surveying as an undefined, or at best, an ill-defined profession. However, the truth is quite far from this assumption since quantity surveyors are some of the most interesting professionals one can come across. The essence of this article is to take a piercing look at the life of the average quantity surveyor and dispel the cloud of ignorance hanging over this noble profession. To begin with, most of these professionals work in the construction industry and this is due to the nature of the job.

To give a general overview, quantity surveyors are trained to handle all that is related to building costs but as hinted, they do much more than that. To become a quantity surveyor, you must have been trained and certified by the relevant professional body in your jurisdiction before you can begin practicing as a surveyor. While in an institution of higher learning, you learn all about computing construction costs and a lot more about construction in general.

One may end up working with the public or private sector; it all depends on personal choice. Irrespective of whether you end up in the public or private sector, as a quantity surveyor, you are expected to have sound knowledge of project appraisal. It is also the responsibility of the quantity surveyor to provide useful, relevant and timely advice on the management of costs and the value of the projects involved. Quantifying the costs of the materials, workforce and other services used in the execution of a particular project in is the purview of the surveyor, and his or her success on the job depends greatly on the success recorded in these areas.

It is also interesting to note that although many people in this profession are casually referred to as quantity surveyors, there is room for specialization. By specializing in one field or the other, a surveyor can be referred to as a construction cost consultant, construction surveyor and even a contracts engineer. It all boils down to your preference for specialization. It is actually recommended that you specialize so that with time you master a particular niche and come to be regarded as an expert. For example, as a construction cost consultant, you will be expected to provide cost estimates, feasibility studies as well as procurement and contract advice. On the other hand, as a construction surveyor, your area will have to do with project management and supervision.