“Quantity Surveyor (QS)”??

What do they do?

What service do they provide? 


Being in a profession that most people haven’t heard of or frequently gets confused with other industry professions has it’s challenges

What is a Quantity Surveyor? I am a Quantity Surveyor. QS for short. Not to be confused with other building and construction industry professions including ie Building Surveyor or Land Surveyor.

In like manner, In all ‘surveyor references above’ it is true that each one of the above professions does indeed survey data, land, building and construction projects; but for different purposes.quantity surveyor, local quantity surveyor, qs

Quantity Surveyors are concerned with quantifying building and construction related costs and adding value to the bottom line.

The traditional service of a Quantity Surveyor

A traditional service that a Quantity Surveyor (QS) offers is to undertake a Bill of Quantities (BOQ) for building and construction projects. This is their ‘bread and butter service’ if you will. This service involves mostly quantifying the number of materials required for the project and expressing the information in a standard format to distribute for pricing/tendering purposes.

The initial quantification of the materials including measurement information is extracted from the contract documents. The contract documents for measuring and quantification purposes include architectural plans and drawings, services and engineering drawings. 

The BOQ sets out to provide a level playing field to head contractors and contractors to price. Going further, it all provides all tendering parties a common base. to price from. This, subsequently, leads to a better analysis, comparison, the award of the contract to the right tendering contractor and the best outcome with cost and quality in mind for the client. During this entire process, the QS would be engaged for the best outcome.

A tongue in cheek answer to what a Quantity Surveyor does, by some, includes “they count bricks”. This has come about from the above mentioned BOQ service of a Quantity Surveyor. Yes, we do ‘count bricks’. Therefore accounting for many, many bricks (as well as the multitude of other building and construction materials and cost sensitive items required for a project).

Awareness (lack of)

Revisiting the opening of this article. I am often greeted with confused expressions when I mention the term Quantity Surveyor to others. My personal experience and feedback supports the notion, that ‘the general public does not know what a Quantity Surveyor is’.

Moreover, in 2003 I undertook a thesis regarding the ‘Future Threats and Opportunities Facing the Quantity Surveying Profession. This thesis highlighted a factor that there was the lack of education and awareness on what a Quantity Surveyor is and does? The thesis was directed at Quantity Surveying Firms. However, there was evidence and expression supporting ‘the lack of awareness and education concerning the benefits of and what a Quantity Surveyor is’from the general public.

Furthermore, even at a university level for related building and construction undergraduate courses, there is also a lack of awareness. Whilst working with a large international Quantity Surveying firm, I was in a position to promote the profession at university information sessions and trade shows.

Why may the awareness factor be an issue? Without understanding what a QS is and does, the general public may not be able to benefit from the value they add. Sure this article has barely scratched the surface of all the services of a QS(only mentioning Bill of Quantities), however, an example of a service and the value of a QS is demonstrated in the link provided.


What is a Quantity Surveyor (QS)? Service of a Quantity Surveyor? In summary, a ‘Quantity Surveyor counts costs and adds value to building and construction projects’.

Consider how and where a Quantity Surveyor would be used and the value that can be obtained from engaging one.


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