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Q4 Quantity Surveyor

Q4 Quantity Surveyor

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Published by: brkilli on Sep 20, 2009
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06/13/2013

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Quantity surveyor
Job Description
A quantity surveyor manages all costs relating to building projects, from the initial calculations to the final figures.Surveyors seek to minimise the costs of a project and enhance value for money, while still achieving the requiredstandards and quality. Many of these are specified by statutory building regulations, which the surveyor needs tounderstand and adhere to.A quantity surveyor may work for either the client or the contractor, working in an office or on site. The title of the job mayalso be referred to as a construction cost consultant or commercial manager.
Typical Work Activities
Typical tasks may include:
managing costs on a wide variety of new building projects and structures, such as residential developments, sportsstadiums, roads and bridges, schools, hospitals, offices and factories;
undertaking costs analysis for repair and maintenance project work;
assisting in establishing a client’s requirements and undertaking feasibility studies;
performing risk and value management and cost control;
advising on procurement strategy;
preparing tender and contract documents, including bills of quantities;
identifying, analysing and developing responses to commercial risks;
preparing and analysing costings for tenders;
allocating work to subcontractors;
providing advice on contractual claims;
analysing outcomes and writing detailed progress reports;
valuing completed work and arranging payments;
maintaining awareness of the different building contracts in current use;
understanding the implications of health and safety regulations.Areas requiring more specialised knowledge include:
offering advice on property taxation;
providing post-occupancy advice, facilities management services and life cycle costing advice;
assisting clients in locating and accessing additional and alternative sources of funds;
enabling clients to initiate construction projects;
advising on the maintenance costs of specific buildings.
Work Conditions
Range of typical starting salaries: £17,000 - £25,000 (salary data collected May 08). Obtaining chartered statusincreases both your job and salary options.
Range of typical salaries at senior level may be £25,000 - £50,000+ (salary data collected May 08). Principalpartners in private practice may earn substantially more.
Contractors pay at a slightly higher rate and £20,000 is not an uncommon starting salary. Shift and site allowancesare often paid on top of the basic salary. Company packages may include a car, pension and healthcare.
Salary increases reflect the gaining of qualifications and responsibilities undertaken.
Local government salaries are comparable and may include final salary pension schemes. A company car is notusually offered but car mileage for site visits may be available.
Working hours vary. A contractor on site may work 7.30am - 6:00pm, while in private practice (PQS) or in a localgovernment department, hours are usually 8.30am - 5.30pm. Occasional weekend work may be required.
The work is generally office-based, although offices are often on construction sites, If not, day-long site visits mayinvolve early starts and late finishes or an overnight stay. Secondment to sites for longer periods of time is alsopossible.
Quantity surveying is a male-dominated profession, but the number of female recruits is significant and growing inboth private practice and the public sector.
Self-employment/freelance work is frequently possible. Companies are increasingly making use of freelance oragency workers to compete for contracts and offer faster turn-around times for completion.
Opportunities for overseas posts and for occasional overseas work or travel are available. This varies according tothe type of employer and the location of the site and the client.
OCCUPATIONALPROFILE 
This Occupational Profile forms part of 
Prospects Planner 
www.prospects.ac.uk/links/occupationsPage 1 of 4
 
Entry Requirements
Although this area of work is open to all graduates, a degree in quantity surveying improves your chances. Other relevantcourses are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (www.rics.org) and the Chartered Instituteof Building (CIOB) (www.ciob.org.uk). Alternatively, a degree with some numerical or technical content would be anadvantage.Relevant HND subjects include:
building/construction;
urban and land studies;
civil/structural engineering.HND/HNC Diplomates may register as ‘technical surveyors’ but many opt to top-up their qualification. This may be doneby following an RICS-recognised distance-learning course or part-time/day-release route towards a degree.Entry without a degree or HND is sometimes possible by working your way up through the industry. Some employersmay be willing to fund part-time degree top-up courses, while others may prefer graduates. Those with non-relevantdegrees need to take an RICS-recognised postgraduate conversion course. See the Prospects Postgraduate Directory(www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Pgdbase) for details of courses.Further study is essential in order to gain professional qualifications and membership of RICS. Relevant workexperience, either on site or within an office, gives you a valuable start. Candidates also need to show evidence of thefollowing:
practical and logical qualities and a methodical way of thinking;
a creative and innovative approach to problem-solving;
strong numeracy and financial management skills and the ability to learn sophisticated design and costing ITpackages;
the ability to write clear and precise reports and to relate complex information simply to a diverse range of people;
negotiating and teamworking skills and the ability to motivate and lead those on site;
detailed knowledge of past and current building and construction technology, business and legal matters;
awareness of current issues and who's who in the industry.A work experience placement gives you an understanding of the construction industry as a whole and also what skills arerequired in this environment.Many large, private practice firms have an annual intake of graduates and may have closing dates in December orJanuary. Others, including smaller employers, may accept speculative applications.It is illegal for employers to discriminate against candidates on the grounds of age, gender, race, disability, sexualorientation or religious faith. Entry into the profession carries no specific age limit. Success depends more on individualskills, experiences and commitment, yet evidence of significant numbers of mature entrants is sparse. For moreinformation on equality and diversity in the job market see Handling Discrimination(www.prospects.ac.uk/links/discrimination).
Training
In order to progress, it is important to have professional qualifications. Membership of the Royal Institution of CharteredSurveyors (RICS) (www.rics.org) is normally gained with an approved degree in quantity surveying and the completion ofthe competence-based training programme, the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), which includes aminimum of two years' practical experience within a related field.The APC requires the completion of a record of progress, diary and log books recording your relevant training andexperiences. A final, written, critical analysis of around 3,000 words on a project you have been involved in, along withthe log books and diaries, is submitted to the RICS. This forms the basis of an oral presentation to an assessment panelprior to a final interview. Successful completion provides certification of overall competence to practise.There are part-time and full-time courses for graduates with degrees in other subjects. Students also need three years'practical experience before taking the final APC. Satisfactory completion of an approved industrial year or part-timetraining may count towards the APC training. Some fast-track conversion courses, lasting up to three years, areavailable.Continuing professional development (CPD) is becoming an important aspect of maintaining professional competenciesand practice standards. RICS have established a lifelong learning programme for recording any professionaldevelopment. The process may include open learning, private study (academic papers/industry publications), attendingconferences and events, running workshops and further study or in-house training. Developing and maintainingprofessional competencies throughout your career are keys to progression.
Quantity surveyor
Page 2 of 4 See also AGCAS Sector Briefings for an overview of job sectors -www.prospects.ac.uk/links/sectorbs
 
Career Development
Advances in technology have allowed quantity surveyors access to techniques for managing a wider variety of projects.As a result, they are able to market their expertise more effectively and their management skills more widely. Quantitysurveyors, in acting as negotiators on behalf of clients in their dealings with architects and contractors, have alwaysperformed as commercial managers. This function is likely to become an area of growth.Experienced quantity surveyors may undertake project management, effectively controlling the whole of a project onbehalf of the client from initial design stage through to completion. This development is largely due to the growth ofexpertise in cost predictions and control. It has led surveyors to use their skills in wider spheres of activity, e.g. costengineering in the petro-chemical and engineering industries. With experience, some take on more strategic roles invalue engineering and risk assessment, while others may specialise in contractual disputes.The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) (www.ciob.org.uk) has many members who work as quantity surveyors.Students seeking work in the civil engineering, petro-chemical and general engineering construction industries mayconsider joining the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) (www.ices.org.uk/ ), approximately half of whosemembers are qualified quantity surveyors. Similarly, it may be worth joining the Association of Cost Engineers (ACostE)(www.acoste.org.uk).There are opportunities for working abroad. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (www.rics.org)advertises vacancies with international employers through the jobs section of their website, RICS Recruit.
Typical Employers
The three major employers of quantity surveyors are the offices of private practice quantity surveyors (PQS), thesurveying sections of building and civil engineering contractors, and local authorities and government agencies.Many of these employers operate as multidisciplinary teams or departments, so quantity surveyors are likely to beworking alongside other surveying professionals, such as civil engineers and architects. Quantity surveyors who work forcontractors are often likely to be based on site, working with site agents or contract managers.Other types of organisations likely to employ quantity surveyors include large engineering consultancies and housingassociations. Specialist house builders seek the expertise of quantity surveyors, as do some commercial companies, orindeed any public body with a large property portfolio.Large international mechanical contractors and petroleum engineering companies often recruit quantity surveyors underthe alternative title of cost engineer.
Sources of Vacancies
Estates Gazette (www.egi.co.uk);
Building (www.building.co.uk);
Contract Journal (www.contractjournal.com);
RICS Business;
Property Week (www.propertyweek.com);
QS Week (www.qsweek.com);
RICS Directory;
Construction News (www.cnplus.co.uk).
Opportunities: The Public Sector Recruitment Weekly (www.opportunities.co.uk);
Local Government Jobs (www.lgjobs.com).Academic departments may also be approached by employers, so it is worthwhile keeping in touch with tutors.Recruitment consultancies, working closely with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (www.rics.org), andthe local and national press sometimes offer temporary and permanent vacancies.
Related Occupations
Building control surveyor
Building services engineer
Building surveyor
Civil engineering surveyor
Consulting civil engineer
Contracting civil engineer
Facilities manager
Land/geomatics surveyor
Loss adjuster, chartered
Planning and development surveyor
Urban general practice surveyor
Quantity surveyor
Find comprehensive careers information onwww.prospects.ac.ukand in your HE careers service Page 3 of 4

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