Friday, July 3, 2015

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Quanity Surveyor as a Career in India

In my earlier article, I have discussed the employment prospects for civil engineers. You can access this article by visiting the link:

In this article, I am covering all aspects of taking up Quantity Surveyor as a career. The first step to becoming a successful quantity surveyor is to understand the role a quantity surveyor plays in construction projects. By definition, “A quantity surveyor is a professional who manages all costs relating to building and civil engineering projects, right from the initial material quantity calculations to the final cost figures on a project. Surveyors seek to minimize the costs of a project and enhance the value for money delivered by a project, while at the same time maintaining the standards of quality.”

Career as a quantity surveyor
As a quantity surveyor, you will be required to work on:
  • Housing and industrial sites
  • Retail and commercial developments
  • Roads, railway and waterways
On most of these projects, your role would entail:
  • Carrying out feasibility studies to estimate materials, time and labor costs
  • Negotiating and drawing up bids for tenders and contracts
  • Monitoring each stage of construction to make sure that costs are in line with the forecasts
  • Providing financial progress reports to clients
  • Advising clients on legal and contractual matters
  • Acting on clients behalf to resolve disputes
  • Assessing the financial costs of new environmental guidelines, such as using sustainable timber
In doing all these duties, you will be using sophisticated software to make your task easy. In addition, you will be keeping records, preparing work schedules and writing reports. You will also be involved in managing costs of maintenance and renovation, once the buildings are occupied.

The paying prospects
In India, an entry-level quantity surveyor, who is fresh out of college starts at a salary of INR 25,000 per month, in a reputed company, which follows good HR practices. As he grows in his field, his remuneration is increased to INR 4.2 lakh per annum. Slowly and gradually, as he grows further, his cost to company reaches INR 6.0 lakh per annum. Although, the value of a chartered quantity surveyor has still not sunk in the minds of the people in the construction field in India, an entry level chartered quantity surveyor can demand hourly pay as he is an RICS certified chartered quantity surveyor. 

However, here it is necessary to mention that the above figures of remuneration will vary depending upon the region in which the professional is working, the type of project, the type of company, his experience and qualifications and the level of commitment he has to give in his job. The level of commitment required by a private QS practice is comparatively less than that demanded by a private contractor.

The lifestyle of a quantity surveyor
Worldwide, the working hours of a quantity surveyor working for a private QS practice are from Monday to Friday, from morning 9:00 a m until 6:00 p m in the evening. At crunch times, you may be required to work over-time and in some cases, you are paid for it. In India, however, since this field is not that well developed, you will have to work from Monday to Saturday, like in other civil engineering jobs, with one weekly off on Sunday. The job profile of a quantity surveyor working for such an organization involves office work and visiting sites On the other hand, if you are working for a private contractor, you will be posted at site and will be required to work from Monday to Saturday and at crunch times, even on Sundays. 

The demands on a contractor’s quantity surveyor are more as compared to that of someone working for a private QS practice. If you wish to lead a balanced life and would like to work in an independent capacity in future, you can take up a job with private QS. However, if money is your prime goal, then you can pick up a job with a big contracting company.

The growth of a quantity surveyor
A quantity surveyor can work for a private QS practice, who works in an office and advises different clients on project costs along with constructing bill of quantities for different contractors on different projects. This quantity surveyor has a good working relationship with various architects and clients themselves. He is known as a Cost Consultant

 On the other hand, a quantity surveyor working with a contractor works for the same contractor on the different projects that he is carrying out. He carries out estimation, produces bill of quantity, does budgeting, costing, material quantity calculation, tendering, attends negotiation meetings, prepares and submits quotations. This is pre-contract quantity survey

Once the project is awarded, he carries out the calculation of the quantity of the actual work done at site, gets the statement of the same approved from the client or the project consultant and follows up for payment. He also manages the sub-contractors that are working for the main contractor. This activity is called as billing and contract administration or post contract quantity survey

With a private QS practice, you will start as a junior quantity surveyor. Slowly and gradually, as you work for them, you will be promoted to the position of senior quantity surveyor and then to lead quantity surveyor. You can then become an independent chartered quantity surveyor. To work as a chartered quantity surveyor, you will have to obtain a qualification from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

On the other hand, with the contractor, you will start your career as a junior quantity surveyor, graduate to senior quantity surveyor; grow to assistant manager, quantity survey and finally manager quantity survey. You may then grow to become senior manager quantity survey and then head quantity survey. As a chartered quantity surveyor, you can provide your services independently to your clients. This will give you independence, improve your lifestyle, free you from working for a boss, help you fulfill all your goals, whether professional or personal.

Job prospects for a quantity surveyor
A number of jobs are available in India for the position of quantity surveyor on various websites like,,,, etc. You can also try for overseas jobs on websites like,, etc. You can also apply for part time jobs as a quantity surveyor. The website of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors,, also provides job opportunities for quantity surveyors through their website. Although, the immediate prospects for an independent cost consultant are not very bright, this is a promising career for future civil engineers who are good number crunchers. On the other hand, a quantity surveyor working for a private contractor can obtain opportunities with other contracting companies who are always looking for good people.

About the Author - Harish B Desai

 I am a graduate civil engineer of 15 years and a freelance writer of 5 years. My aim of becoming a freelance writer was to communicate to my audience and I feel that is happening through my above article. I wanted to display my experience to the world and answer my detractors. Through this article, I wish to answer all those who have criticized me and belittled me. I hope this article is able to do that.