Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Job Description of a Quantity Surveyor

By Charles Pearson, eHow Contributing Writer

Construction projects can be incredibly expensive and construction managers and clients often want to keep costs as low as possible. Using as few materials as possible keeps construction costs down. This is often accomplished by hiring a quantity surveyor, a specialist who oversees the quantity of materials and workers found at the construction site, with the effort of minimizing the amount of materials used.

Quantity surveyors are individuals who work specifically in the construction industry. Surveyors are responsible for making sure that the construction company stays within budget. They purchase all of the needed materials for construction and they also are responsible for hiring. They must accurately measure the amount of materials needed and they must also be aware of how much manpower is needed to finish the construction job within the allotted time. Quantity surveyors are also the workers who scope out land to determine whether it should be purchased by a construction company. The quantity surveyor must come up with cost plans, cost strategies, value engineering, life cycle costing and sustainability costing and present them to the client. She must also negotiate with contractors in order to get clients the best possible deals.

Quantity surveyors can be found both in offices---which are usually clean and well lit---and construction sites. Several trips often need to be made to the construction site in order to make decisions. Quantity surveyors who are responsible for several construction projects at once often have to travel extensively. Some quantity surveyors have to manage construction projects overseas, which might require them to live in an international setting. They usually work 40 hours a week, though during project deadlines, quantity surveyors might have to work longer hours.

Quantity surveyors usually need a bachelor's degree in quantity surveying, construction or civil engineering. They must have the ability to understand construction plans. Quantity surveyors must have excellent communication skills in order to communicate both with the workers, contractors and with clients. They must also be able to use cost estimation software. Surveyors must have the ability to listen and fully understand the expectations of the clients. They must also have planning, time management, prioritization, multi-tasking and documentation skills.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 551,000 construction managers held jobs in 2008. Between 2008 and 2018, the need for construction managers was expected to increase 17 percent. Quantity surveyors are a subsection of construction managers. The BLS did not present specific information on how much quantity surveying is expected to grow.

According to the BLS, the median earnings for construction workers was $79,860 in 2008. The highest 10 percent earned $145,920 and the lowest 10 percent earned $47,000.

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