The changing role of the Quantity Surveyor

Oct 31, 2017

The role of a Quantity Surveyor is developing to keep up with the changing market. There is no denying the critical role a Quantity Surveyor plays in the construction industry, and this therefore highlights the importance in keeping this profession relevant.

The traditional role of quantity surveying, seen as measurement and bill of quantities, has been declining due to the dynamic nature of the industry and growing demands of the client. Quantity Surveying dates to the 18th century in the United Kingdom, when construction projects were measured and valued after they were designed and built. By the early 19th century a new system was put in place which resulted in price completion before construction would begin.

With the uncertainty of today’s ever-changing market conditions, the movement towards new technology and ‘green’ building, has meant the role of the Quantity Surveyor has evolved to keep up with this new demand.

The world is evolving day by day, therefore so are the requests and demands on the professionals and their expertise. With the changing environment, the Quantity Surveyor has evolved to satisfy the marketplace by filling the gaps across diverse industries.

The Quantity Surveyor in the construction industry seems to have gone through some significant changes. The traditional technical and professional services of Quantity Surveyors still relate to measurement and documentations, price, value and cost of construction, pre- and post- tender management and final account. However, the role now includes work with the development of new services, including risk and value management, construction project management, project financing, contract administration, sustainability, legal and environmental services.

The term ‘modern quantity surveying’ signifies the increasing demand for professionals to change with the market. This has added a great optimism and value to the profession.

So, how has the role of the Quantity Surveyor changed over the years?

Utilise increasing knowledge:

Gone are the days that the QS would only be involved at the end of the project. The client now contacts the Quantity Surveyor before any construction has taken place, in order to utilise their expertise. The QS will therefore play a vital role in the design and planning stage to ensure everyone’s needs are met, as well as through the construction and completion phases.


Clearly, IT has a huge impact on the way our world has changed. We continue to witness the way technology progresses and changes the ways in which work is produced and maintained. Technologies such as BIM have decreased the pain staking hours QS’ used to spend hand drawing, which frees up their time to be involved in other aspects of the project, such as advising on different procurement measures, or suggesting alternative building materials.

Expectations and competition:

Michael Manikas FAIQS, chief executive officer of Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS), said;

“A lot of firms are becoming more of a business advisor than a traditional quantity surveyor. Some are positioning themselves as the kingpins of the construction industry, especially in relation to government projects and large infrastructure projects. The traditional role of a QS where they used to sit down for hours on end and measure bills of quantities has definitely changed.”

With technology changing day by day, this profession is going to continue to evolve, bringing more challenges and more competition than ever before.


How do you feel about the changing role of the Quantity Surveyor, and what has changed since you first started your QS career? Leave a comment, or tweet us @HighfieldREC to let us know.

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