what is a quantity surveyor?

As a quantity surveyor, you use your extensive knowledge in building contract negotiations to manage the expenses of projects. Your job involves finding the best suppliers and contractors based on the budget and building requirements. You also work with architects to identify the resources and materials necessary for construction projects. The role puts you in control of budgets, and you account for all the expenses. That means you monitor a project from start to end to ensure the construction crew sticks to the budget.

Quantity surveyors are involved in quantifying and budgeting the costs of building works, such as housing developments, shopping malls or civil engineering schemes like airport runways and roads. While projects may vary, the principles used in quantifying costs are the same. The specific responsibilities of a quantity surveyor depend on the organisation and scope of the job. For instance, consultancy construction companies require quantity surveyors to oversee the preparation of front-end design work and budget projections for new projects. Academic institutions also need quantity surveyors for research, training and specialised consultancy. You usually oversee one major project or several overlapping projects simultaneously. Hence, you need multitasking and organisational skills to succeed in the role.

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average salary of a quantity surveyor

The average remuneration package of quantity surveyors in Australia is $125,000 per year. The remuneration package depends on the projects you work on and your employer. A junior-level quantity surveyor takes home a lower yearly salary of $115,000. With experience and qualifications, the earnings increase gradually, and you can earn over $135,000 annually.

how to increase your earnings as a quantity surveyor

Your earnings mainly depend on your level of experience. With additional expertise, you handle complex construction projects and negotiate better contracts for your employer. Hence, with over five years of experience, you may negotiate a higher salary. Having educational qualifications also improves your remuneration prospects.

The company you work for also influences your earnings. Working for large organisations involves handling complex duties, which translates to a higher remuneration package. Large companies have unlimited resources and can afford to pay higher salaries. Smaller construction companies pay lower salaries due to limited resources available for projects. Working in metro areas with a high demand for quantity surveyors also increases your earning potential.

Want to know what you will earn as a quantity surveyor? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of quantity surveyors

The types of quantity surveyors depend on their employer. Some quantity surveyors work for contractors in the construction or mining industry, while others work for consultancy firms. When working for a contractor, you focus on controlling costs during construction. You prepare budget projections and assist contractors in acquiring the best suppliers for materials. You also manage the expenses and develop cost-effective ways of completing projects.

As a quantity surveyor working for a consultancy firm, you advise your client on the project scope and costs. You help them negotiate agreements with contractors and acquire building permissions. You also review front-end designs and develop ways to minimise costs.

female and male having a conversation at the office
female and male having a conversation at the office

working as a quantity surveyor

Working as a quantity surveyor in mining or construction is a fulfilling career with promising job prospects. Discover the daily tasks, work environments and work schedules of quantity surveyors.


education and skills

You require graduate qualifications to work as a quantity surveyor in Australia. Start by pursuing a tertiary qualification in construction, like a degree in construction project management or construction management. Look for courses accredited by the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors. When you complete the degree course, seek internship opportunities to grow your skills. Like other construction professionals, you require a White Card.

Check the licensing requirements for working as a quantity surveyor in your state. For instance, to work as a quantity surveyor in Victoria, register with the Victorian Building Authority. Australian Capital Territory requires quantity surveyors to have a licence from the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA). In Queensland, you get licensing from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.

quantity surveyor skills and competencies

The skills and competencies of quantity surveyors include:

  • aptitude for maths: as a quantity surveyor, you need numerical prowess to guide other surveyors through cost estimation processes. Mathematical knowledge is essential during the budgeting and tendering process.
  • negotiation skills: as a quantity surveyor, you negotiate contracts on behalf of your client. Hence, you need good negotiation skills to get the best value for money and good client contracts.
  • analytical skills: as a quantity surveyor, you review projected and actual financial reports. You analyse the reports and recommend ways to prevent deviations from budgets. Analytical skills help you analyse the reports and contractual terms.
  • leadership skills: as a quantity surveyor, you need exceptional leadership skills to guide other quantity surveyors. You also motivate and inspire construction workers.

FAQs about working as a quantity surveyor

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a quantity surveyor.

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