Quantity surveyor


Also known as:

  • Construction Economist

What they do

Quantity surveyors estimate and monitor the construction costs of a project and may audit project costs or administer construction contracts. They must understand all aspects of construction from the design stage through to the completed project and may contribute in settling financial or contractual disputes.

They may work on projects for all levels and types of construction. Projects may range from office blocks, schools, hospitals and factories to bridges, railways, oil and mining development, shipbuilding and large process engineering works such as oil refineries.

Areas of work include the private sector for consulting firms, the public sector for state or federal government departments, or with property development companies, building contractors and project financiers.

Working conditions

Quantity surveyors usually work with other professionals such as architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers and accountants.

They may work alone or in teams and often split their time working in an office and on construction sites.

In Western Australia, quantity surveyors may be employed in locally based positions such as in Perth, or in fly-in fly-out positions  in remote areas such as a mine site.

Tools and technologies

Quantity surveyors cross-check designs against planned expenses and monitor the progress of the project. They use techniques such as cost planning, estimating and value management to work out a project budget. They use a range of specialist project management and financial software programs to keep track of all costs and contracts.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a quantity surveyor, you will usually need to study a degree in construction management.

Curtin University offers a four-year Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management and Economics). In Western Australia, this is the only undergraduate degree specialising in quantity surveying that is accredited by the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors. Contact the university for more information.