Quantity Surveying

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What is Quantity Surveying?

Quantity surveying and construction management is a varied and interesting career. All construction projects must be carefully planned. That’s true whether you are building a house or a Luas line.

Quantity surveyors formulate a budget and ensure project costs don’t spiral. They assess each stage of the process and examine costs relating to materials, labour, taxes, and so on.

Building surveyors monitor the structural health of buildings for possible defects. They oversee maintenance and conversion projects when desired or required. Building surveyors often work in tandem with a building services engineer, who has responsibility for designing, installing, and maintaining a building’s internal systems.

Construction managers plan, organize and manage the overall building project. They focus on resources such as finance, labour, plant, and materials.

What Courses Are Available?

There are several dedicated Quantity Surveying courses in Irish higher-level education. A Quantity Surveying course will cover subjects such as:

  • Construction Economics
  • Project Cost Management
  • Contract Law
  • Construction Law
  • Contract Administration
  • Land Surveying

Studying Quantity Surveying in College

Projects form a major part of all courses. Many also require students to undertake an extensive period of work experience.

Health & Safety and Environmental Sustainability are increasingly important elements of a Quantity Surveying degree.

Four-year Building Surveying degrees covered topics such as Building Technology, Building Design & Performance, and Building Conservation/Renovation.

Building Services Engineering is available to study at Cork, Dublin, and Waterford Institutes of Technology. Students learn about the mechanical, electrical, and construction aspects of building systems. Energy efficiency is a particularly important consideration throughout the course.

You can do Construction Studies and Construction Management as a degree or higher certificate. Construction and Construction Management courses include subjects such as Construction Technology, Site Surveying, Drawing & CAD, Measurement & Costing, Quantity Surveying, and Legal Studies.

The one-year, Level 5 Certificate in Construction Technology is a good foundation for all of the above courses and careers. Students learn key skills such as Building Construction, Mathematics for Engineering, Materials Science, Health & Safety, and Mechanics, as well as receiving work experience.

Career Options

Quantity surveyors, building surveyors, service engineers, and construction managers work for construction companies and property developers. However, they may also work in government departments, specialist surveying companies, or as independent consultants.

Quantity surveyors are often referred to as building accountants. Their main concern is cost control before, during, and after construction. They begin managing costs from the feasibility stage of a project and continue to do so right through to tendering and construction. When a building project is complete, they may prepare tax depreciation schedules. They must approve payments to suppliers and employees, and prepare bills.

The construction manager oversees everything that happens on the building site. This can mean hiring and supervising building staff and subcontractors. They also manage specific projects, purchase or rent equipment and materials, and ensure each step in the process takes place efficiently and on time. They may also implement new technologies, and making sure the building fulfills health and safety or environmental requirements. Some construction managers can specialize in a particular area, while others oversee the whole project.

Related Jobs

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

  • Architectural technologist
  • Building surveyor
  • Commercial/residential surveyor
  • Construction manager
  • Estimator
  • Planning and development surveyor
  • Project manager
  • Quantity surveyor
  • Site engineer

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  • Arbitrator
  • Building control surveyor
  • Building services engineer
  • Consulting civil engineer
  • Contracting civil engineer
  • Estates manager
  • Financial manager
  • Urban designer

Further Study

You can expect to find development as a quantity surveyor in a wide range of sectors, including the data, pharmaceutical, agri-food, large scale commercial construction sectors; in chartered surveying consultancies, working in dedicated M&E specialist departments; or working as a quantity surveyor for contractors and quantity surveying practices.

As a graduate of these courses, you will be equipped to progress to a postgraduate program, or pursue chartered status.


Are Quantity Surveyors in demand?

Absolutely. There is a huge lack of Quantity Surveyors as a profession meaning there are always likely to be jobs available.

What skills do quantity surveyors need?

In addition to the relevant qualification requirements employers also look for the following qualities:

  • Methodical way of thinking
  • Good knowledge of construction
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Good financial and numeracy management skills
  • Excellent communication and negotiating skills
  • The ability to absorb complex information and assess requirements readily
  • Computer literate
  • A clear understanding of HSE building regulations and legal guidelines

Is quantity surveying a stressful job?

Quantity surveyors can also offer help in other tasks such as project planning, setup of project procedures, and dispute resolution. While quantity surveying is not boring, it can be a stressful job. Quantity surveyors at times have to deal with tight deadlines, long working hours, and poor work/family balance.

Where Can I Study Quantity Surveying?

Explore your options here

Did you know?

London’s Olympic Stadium includes 6,500 cubic meters of concrete recycled from previous Olympic venues. Planning was, therefore, both environmentally conscientious and respectful of Olympic history. Pretty impressive!

Further Resources

Society of Chartered Surveyors 

Construction Industry Federation 



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