In Summary - Quantity Surveyor (QS)
Quantity Surveyor (QS)s typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
Eileen Faherty, Electrician / Quantity Surveyor
Eileen Faherty is a Quantity Surveyor with Jones Engineering Group. Eilleen completed a four year electrician appreticeship and further obtained a Btech in Construction Technology from DIT. Her work involves preparing variations for construction projects along with labour spends reports and project cost projections.
Videos on the Web
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The Work - Quantity Surveyor (QS)
Quantity surveyors and construction economists, sometimes known as construction cost consultants, work for either the client or contractor and can be based in an office or on site.
Their role is to manage all costs relating to construction projects from initial design calculations to the final account, seeking to minimise costs and enhance value for money, while achieving the required standards and quality.
Typical tasks for a quantity surveyor or construction economist include:
- Researching and preparing construction budgets for a range of construction and construction related projects
- Planning the costs of each phase of the project to ensure value formoney and also sustainability in terms of the overall project
- Advising both contractors and state agencies on costing related matters for various construction projects
- Advising on choosing contractors and procurement processes
- Administering the costs during the project for both contractor and other related parties, such as the client
- Negotiation and dispute resolution
- Taxation and funding advice
All aspects of the project need to be correctly costed and financially sustainable. If the costings are too restrictive, the project’s overall quality could suffer, if they are too generous, funds could be exhausted before the project is completed, so it’s a question of balance and being realistic about what can be achieved by analysing the timeframe in which it is expected that the project be completed and the available funding for the project.
The quantity surveyor controls the cost by accurate measurement of work combined with their expert knowledge of prices for work, labour, materials and plant required.
Private practice and central and local government quantity surveyors are usually office based and work from a fixed location. They use architect's plans to make an initial estimate of the cost of a project. They then produce a more detailed breakdown of costs and quantities known as the Bill of Quantities. They send this to building contractors so they can work out their bids for the project. Finally, they assess the bids they receive so they and their clients can decide who to give the project to.
Local and central government quantity surveyors also control expenditure on ongoing programmes, making the best use of budgets and balancing maintenance against new construction work. They must make sure that all design decisions are made at the start of the project to ensure good value is obtained for money spent. There are 2 kinds of quantity surveyor - one who carrys out work on behalf of an organisation and one who works for a construction company.
Commercial quantity surveyors are employed by building and civil engineering contractors. They prepare bids for construction work, and make sure that work is completed on time and to the required standard and that the contractor makes a profit. They assess the effect of any changes to the project or disruption in work and discuss it with the client's quantity surveyor.
Commercial quantity surveyors are usually based on construction sites and may need to move around the country for projects.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Consult with clients, vendors, personnel in other departments or construction foremen to discuss and formulate estimates and resolve issues.
- Analyze blueprints and other documentation to prepare time, cost, materials, and labor estimates.
- Prepare estimates for use in selecting vendors or subcontractors.
- Confer with engineers, architects, owners, contractors and subcontractors on changes and adjustments to cost estimates.
- Prepare estimates used by management for purposes such as planning, organizing, and scheduling work.
- Prepare cost and expenditure statements and other necessary documentation at regular intervals for the duration of the project.
- Assess cost effectiveness of products, projects or services, tracking actual costs relative to bids as the project develops.
- Set up cost monitoring and reporting systems and procedures.
- Conduct special studies to develop and establish standard hour and related cost data or to effect cost reduction.
- Review material and labor requirements to decide whether it is more cost-effective to produce or purchase components.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Interests - Quantity Surveyor (QS)
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
Although computers are used for complex calculations, you will need a high standard of numeracy. Deskwork includes report writing, which requires a clear, concise style.
Quantity surveyors need to be able to interpret technical drawings and architects' plans. They also need negotiating skills and initiative to make their own decisions. They must have good communication skills and be able to work as part of a team.
They need a wide knowledge of construction law, health and safety issues, building methods and time scales, and the costs of materials.
Entry Requirements - Quantity Surveyor (QS)
The official entry route for a Quantity Surveyor (QS) is through undertaking an apprenticeship.
To gain a professional recognition as a surveyor in Ireland you first need to complete a degree accredited by the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCS) or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Those with degree from other disciplines can still become a surveyor by taking an accredited property degree or postgraduate conversion course.
Candidates are advised to check individual institutions for course details.
The next step is to undertake a period of training in employment and complete the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). This is a structured practical training programme, which takes about two years to complete in the workplace, so you will need to be prepared to combine work and study.
The training structure is based on a set of skills known as ‘competences’, which are a mix of technical and professional practice skills along with interpersonal, financial, business and management skills.
Upon successful completion of the APC, you apply to become a member of the SCSI and the RICS.
Status as a chartered surveyor will accelerate career progression and support self-employment in private practice. As this is a globally recognised professional qualification, it will also be recognised if you wish to work overseas.
Last Updated: August, 2016
Pay & Salary - Quantity Surveyor (QS)
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 35k - 85k
Senior Quantity Surveyor 65,000 - 85,000
Intermediate Quantity Surveyor 45,000 - 55,000
Junior Quantity Surveyor 35,000 - 40,000
Last Updated: January, 2019
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Quantity Surveyor (QS)
Although the number of quantity surveyors is too small to report, employers have indicated that they are experiencing difficulty in sourcing these skills. Demand is likely to be limited in volume due to the small size of this occupation.
National Skills Bulletin 2018