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Quantity Surveyor Job Description

A quantity surveyor predicts and monitors all costs related to the building process. The management of costs and funds begins in the planning stages and carries forward until all actual costs have been leveled. The purpose of this cost management by the quantity surveyor is to minimize the amount of money a client needs to spend on a project, thus enhancing the overall value of the investment while still maintaining required levels of safety and other mandates. Other common names for this type of position are commercial manager or construction cost consultant.

quantity surveyor jobThere are several different ways that quantity surveyors are employed. Freelance surveyors are becoming increasingly popular among private construction companies and contractors. Companies often enjoy a lower fee for hiring a quantity surveyor by having self-employed, or freelance surveyors bid on different projects. Another common hiring venue for this kind of work is through local government. Cities often need quantity surveyors on salary during periods of construction within the city or town.

Most of the work done by quantity surveyors takes place in an office environment. There is usually some time spent at the actual construction sight, though. Commonly, the office space allotted to a quantity surveyor is somewhere on the construction site. The hours worked are dependant on the client that has contracted the surveyor. An average work day usually lasts between nine and fourteen hours, depending on the work being done and any possible deadlines. Busy surveyors who work on several projects at once travel extensively. This may require them to live an international lifestyle with plenty of time spent en route to different job sites.

Educational pursuits for those interested in working as a quantity surveyor should include a bachelor’s degree in quantity surveying, construction or civil engineering. A background in construction is usually recommended, as an ability to read and interpret building plans is an imperative skill. Knowledge of different construction materials and their availability is also important.

quantity surveyor jobInterpersonal and communication skills are valued in this profession for several reasons. A quantity surveyor needs to be able to effectively listen to the needs of the client while still steering them in a cost saving and value conscious direction. Freelance surveyors need to not only bid on the projects they would like to be hired for, but communicate why they would be the best fit for the job. Often, once hired, the surveyor needs to negotiate with the construction project’s contractor over material choices. Time management is also important in this industry. The ability to complete tasks quickly and skillfully and make decisions effectively while working on multiple projects is a large part of being this kind of surveyor.

Modern technology has allowed quantity surveyors to work on multiple projects in a more efficient manner. Along with construction, money management and communication skills, a good surveyor is one who stays current on the available technology. Digital documentation and imagery software as well as the latest in mobile internet access technology should be among the quantity surveyor’s knowledge base. The salary for quantity surveyors is of the moderately high level. In 2008, the median salary was $79,860 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top ten percent of this profession’s earners had a salary averaging $145,920, while the lowest ten percent earned only an average of $47,000.

Industry growth in the coming years will be primary focused on the interdepartmental management that the quantity surveyors perform. Acting as a liaison between where the money comes from and where it gets spent, this form of surveyor is key to the financial success of a construction project.

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